Feeds

Ice Cream Sandwich

Just how tasty is Android 4.0?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Review No new version of the Android mobile operating system has been quite so eagerly awaited as v4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich as it’s more colourfully known. The reason is not hard to explain: Android has streaked ahead of iOS in the bums-on-seats stakes but there is still the feeling that the user interface lacks the polish and grace of Apple’s mobile platform.

Google Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich Google Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich

Homescreen and Honeycomb-style blue border show when moving icons

ICS is also charged with unifying Android’s look and feel across both phones and tablets and those devices likes the Samsung Galaxy Note that are a little bit of each. You could say that ICS is what v3.0 Honeycomb would have been had Google not rushed it out to try to compete with Apple’s iPad.

Let’s start with the looks. You’d have to be blind not to see that in terms of design, with its Honeycomb-like theme, ICS is a quantum leap forward over previous incarnations of Android. Taking inspiration from iOS and WinPho 7, the UI is now replete with visually pleasing animations that give the impression that the UI is alive to your touch. This new look is most obvious when adding or removing home screen items.

Google Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich Google Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich

Folder contents and resizeable widgets

This process is now accompanied by the appearance of blue border lines and icon corner markers, just as it is in Honeycomb. Sadly you can no longer add things with a simple long-press on the screen but only from the app tray which now also scrolls into a widget catalogue.

Once you’ve found and placed your widgets ICS now lets you re-size them, a major step forward and the Honeycomb feature I welcome the most. With the screen now playing host to a row of virtual system buttons – as well as a five-button dock – you need to get used to the complete absence of fascia controls, be they touch sensitive or physical.

Google Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich Google Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich

Settings and networking

Aesthetically, this will make for much cleaner handset designs with a higher screen-to-phone size ratio but it makes me wonder how ICS will look on existing handsets that already have fascia buttons. The traditional Android search/menu/home/back buttons have been replaced with a Honeycomb-style offering of back, home and running apps. The search bar is now a fixed widget present on all your home screens.

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page: Background info

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
End of buttons? Apple looks to patent animating iPhone sidewalls
Filing suggests handset with display strips
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.