Feeds

Ice Cream Sandwich

Just how tasty is Android 4.0?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Visual contact

The Android web browser has also been given a good going over. It has certainly gained a bucket load of extra speed and, at long last, an option to render web pages in their desktop format by default. Pages can now also be saved for off-line reading directly from the browser menu.

Google Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich

No Flash on the browser as yet

Navigate to the camera app and you move from the Gingerbread stone age to the Ice Cream Sandwich 21st century. The new interface is much improved and comes with a built-in panorama mode that works surprisingly well. Tap the screen while shooting a video and the camera takes a still capture which is a feature I can see coming in handy.

Outside of Gmail and Google+ ICS is still rather weak on the e-mail and social network front. The e-mail client has been warmed over but every time I tried to open the combined inbox, the app crashed. Also, my Samsung Galaxy Nexus handset wouldn’t let me add my Facebook account, so I can’t tell you how well that integrates into the new contacts app called People.

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

The dialler is a bit humdrum, but data usage is on-board now

When it comes to wholly new features there are a couple of interesting additions to the Android playbook. Pride of place goes to Face Unlock which uses facial recognition to unlock the handset. Impressively, the system never failed to recognise me as the authorised user but equally was never fooled by anyone else’s fizog or even by a large picture of yours truly.

Android Beam and Wi-Fi Direct are a couple of systems designed to let Android users share their goodies peer-to-peer either between NFC-enabled handsets or over a Wi-Fi connection. I’ve yet to be convinced about all this NFC malarkey but Wi-Fi Direct certainly has its uses.

Verdict

With Ice Cream Sandwich, Android moves its game on by the greatest degree yet. In terms of look and feel it is now hard on the heels of iOS and well ahead of WinPho 7.5 and BlackBerry 7. The new look will also raise the question of do we need third-party overlays anymore? I’d argue 4.0 has made them redundant. The web browser, keyboard, camera app and media players have all been given a thorough brush up and are now not only nicer to look at but faster and easier to use. My only complaint is that migratory menu button and nailed-on Google search widget but I suspect I’ll learn to live with both. ®

Thanks to O2 for the loan of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus handset.

More Smartphone Reviews

Samsung
Galaxy Nexus
Nokia
Lumia 800
Ten… Androids
to outshine
the iPhone 4S
RIM
BlackBerry
Bold 9900
Apple
iPhone 4S

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.