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Ice Cream Sandwich
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No, this is not about ice-cream or sandwich.

What I am referring to is the upcoming version 4.0 of the Andriod Operating System, more commonly known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Currently, Android phones are running on Gingerbread while it's tablets are on Honeycomb.

So what's so special about this Ice Cream Sandwich?

What this new OS offers are:

  1. New User Interface
  2. Improved Voice Input
  3. A More Powerful Browser and
  4. Over The Air Synching of Bookmarks

In Singapore, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will launch in January 2012 i.e. this month. It will be the first phone with this new operating system. It is also rumored that owners of Samsung Galaxy S2 will get an upgrade to Ice-cream Sandwich sometime in the first quarter of this year. We will have to wait and see if it's true.

Sorry for digressing, let's get back to the new features. The new user interface means there is no need for hard buttons. The System Bar now contains Virtual buttons that lets the user navigate instantly to Back, Home, and Recent Apps. What's even better is that the this System Bar with virtual buttons are present across all apps. When the user reverts to full-screen view, this system bar can be dimmed by applications.

There is also this Action Bar on the screen which allows the user to access each application's contextual options.

As for the improved voice input engine, users can now dictate the text they want, using the language they want. As the device enters the text, it is also intelligent enough to underline dictation errors. All the user needs to do to correct these errors is just to tap on the underlined words and choose from a list of correct word candidates. Simple!

Google Chrome bookmarks from all of your accounts can now be synched over the air instantly with this new Android browser. In addition to that, access to your favorite content is now faster. I like this feature best i.e. it allows the user to save your favorite content for later reading when you are offline or there's no network connection.

As Android 4.0 will be a common platform for upcoming Android phones and tablets, this will make the life of application developers easier. Instead of having to develop applications for 2 current platforms i.e. Gingerbread (phones) and Honeycomb (tablets), it will be only one in the near future.

Another cool feature is simply touching 2 Android 4.0 phones together to exchange apps, contacts and even videos. Wow!

Needless to say, new operating systems will always have their teething problems. App developers, you will have to develop apps for 3 platforms for now until Android 4.0 is standard for all Android devices. Nevertheless, I am sure that not all the current devices will be able to run the Ice-cream Sandwich.

I am keeping my fingers crossed, drooling in fact waiting for my Samsung Galaxy S2 to have this Ice Cream Sandwich.


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