Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich detailed by Google [UPDATED]

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: October 18, 2011

Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Google originally announced Android Ice Cream Sandwich waaaaay back in May at I/O, but at the time, there wasn't much actually revealed about ICS besides the fact that it'd be the "one OS everywhere" version of Android. Today Google let the cat out of the bag Ice Cream Sandwich out of the wrapper at the Galaxy Nexus event, detailing all of the changes and new features found in the latest version of its mobile OS. So just what has Google crammed into the new OS that Android fans everywhere will be clamoring for for the foreseeable future? 

  • New UI with improved multitasking, notifications, and animations
  • Virtual navigation keys found at the bottom of the display
  • Resizable widgets
  • Redesigned lock screen
  • A new "Roboto" font that'll be used throughout ICS
  • Face Unlock, which does exactly what it sounds by letting you unlock your phone with your face
  • Android Beam, which allows users to share web pages, apps, YouTube videos, and other information over NFC by tapping your phone with another device
  • Improved voice dictation
  • New "People" app to view photos of your friends and check their status updates on various social networks
  • Revised Camera app with continuous focus, zero shutter lag, face detection, instant uploading to Google+, and panorama mode
  • Revamped Gallery with new layout and built-in photo editor
  • Ability to take screenshots
  • Improved folders
  • Ability to monitor data usage

For all of you devs out there that are eager to get your apps ready for the arrival of Ice Cream Sandwich (or just dig around in the SDK), you can find all the tools you need right here. In the mean time, all of us non-developer folk that don't know an SDK from an MP3 will have to settle for watching Google's introduction video and admiring screenshots. Good thing that there's a lot to keep us entertained!

UPDATE: Just in case you were curious, Google has confirmed that the Nexus S will be bumped up to Ice Cream Sandwich, although no exact date (or even vague window) was mentioned. Don't fret if you don't own a Nexus S, though, as Google's own Gabe Cohen and Matias Duarte have said that ICS "theoretically should work for any 2.3 device." Now that doesn't mean that Android 4.0 will definitely be coming to each and every phone currently running Gingerbread, but it's still encouraging to hear that bringing ICS to devices running 2.3 is doable.

UPDATE 2: One more Ice Cream Sandwich-related note: the folks at This is my next have dove into the ICS SDK and found that you can change the screen size in the emulator to something a tad larger than what you might find on a phone. Doing so yielded a peek at what Android 4.0 will look like when it's running on a tablet. Check out a screenshot of the tablet flavor of ICS at the bottom of screenshots below.

Ice Cream Sandwich lock screen home screen

Ice Cream Sandwich notification tray, app drawer

Ice Cream Sandwich tablet

Samsung and Google introduce GALAXY Nexus

World's First Smartphone to feature Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a HD Super AMOLED display

Hong Kong – October 19, 2011 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a leading mobile device provider, and Google, today announced GALAXY Nexus™, the world's first smartphone running Android™ 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest release of the Android platform. GALAXY Nexus features a 4.65" HD Super AMOLED display technology at 720p resolution and a 1.2GHz dual core processor.

"Samsung and Google have closely collaborated to push the mobile experience forward. We are pleased to deliver the best Android smartphone experience for customers with GALAXY Nexus. We will continue to move forward with Android to provide the compelling consumer experience in mobile world," said JK Shin, President and Head of Samsung's Mobile Communications Business.

"Ice Cream Sandwich demonstrates the Android platform's continued innovation with one release that works on phones and tablets and everything in between. Features like Android Beam and Face Unlock show the innovative work our team is doing, and GALAXY Nexus showcases the power behind Ice Cream Sandwich," said Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile for Google.

The first smartphone to feature Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich

Ice Cream Sandwich brings an entirely new look and feel to Android. It has a redesigned user interface with improved multi-tasking, notifications, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC support and a full web browsing experience. GALAXY Nexus features software navigation buttons, a first for Android smartphones. The lock screen, home screen, phone app, and everything in between has been rethought and redesigned to make Android simple, beautiful, and useful.

Ice Cream Sandwich also features a new People app, which lets you, browse friends, family, and coworkers, see their photos in high-resolution, and check their latest status updates from Google+ and other social networks. GALAXY Nexus features a redesigned camera which introduces panorama mode, 1080p video capture, zero-shutter lag, and effects like silly faces and background replacement.

GALAXY Nexus is also connected to the cloud, keeping your email, contacts, and all other data synced across your devices. You have access to more than 300,000 apps and games from Android Market™, or, in certain countries, you can buy and read books, or rent movies and stream them instantly from your phone. In the U.S., you can also upload your music to the cloud with Music Beta by Google and listen anywhere, even when offline.

Ice Cream Sandwich introduces innovations such as Face Unlock which uses facial recognition to unlock your phone. Using NFC technology, Android Beam allows you to quickly share web pages, apps, and YouTube™ videos with your friends by simply tapping your phones together. You can even use fun effects while shooting video or video chatting with Google Talk™.

Google Experience

GALAXY Nexus is designed to provide a "pure Google," experience, and with it, you will be the first to receive software upgrades and new applications as they become available.

It also features a number of Google Mobile services, including: Android Market, Gmail™, Google Maps™ 5.0 with 3D maps and turn-by-turn navigation, Google Earth™, Movie Studio, YouTube™, syncing with Google Calendar™, and a redesigned Google+ app.

Best-in-class hardware meets the most advanced software

GALAXY Nexus is the first smartphone to feature a 4.65'' display with a market-leading resolution of 720p (1280x720), ensuring you can enjoy GALAXY Nexus' immersive entertainment capabilities and fast web browsing in superior clarity.

Succeeding the original Contour Display of Nexus S, GALAXY Nexus comes with a rounded shape that fits perfectly within your palm or to your face for phone calling. Hyper-skin backing on the battery cover improves the ergonomic feel of the device and makes the phone slip-resistant. At just 8.94mm thick, with a minimal 4.29mm bezel, GALAXY Nexus provides superb portability alongside an expansive screen.

GALAXY Nexus also features an ultra-fast 1.2GHz dual core processor, providing superior power and speed, ensuring you can take full advantage of GALAXY Nexus' enhanced multitasking capabilities with ease, or enjoy the large, vivid display to its full capacity with high-definition gaming or video streaming. LTE or HSPA+ connectivity combined with a dual core processor delivers high-speed web browsing which ensures you always have the web at your fingertips, wherever you are.

GALAXY Nexus will be available in the U.S., Europe, and Asia beginning in November and gradually rolled out to other global markets.

For multimedia content and more detailed information, please visit

Note to Editors:

GALAXY Nexus Product Specifications


HSPA+ 21Mbps/HSUPA 5.76Mbps 850/900/1900/1700/2100

EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900

*LTE version will be available depending on the region.


1.2 GHz Dual Core Processor


4.65" 1280X720 HD Super AMOLED


Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich


Main(Rear) : 5 MP AF with LED Flash with zero shutter lag and fast shot2shot

Sub (Front) : 1.3MP for Video Call


Codec : MPEG4/H.263/H.264

Playback : 1080p@ 30fps

Recording : 1080p Full HD Video@ 30fps


Codec : MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+

3.5mm Ear Jack

Google™Mobile Services

Android Market™, Gmail™, Google Earth™, YouTube™, Movie Studio

Google Maps™ 5.0 with 3D maps and turn-by-turn navigation

Syncing with Google Calendar™, Google+ app


Bluetooth® technology v 3.0

USB 2.0

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz/ 5GHz)



Accelerometer, Compass, Gyro, Light, Proximity, Barometer


1GB(RAM) + 16GB/ 32GB Internal memory


135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94mm, 135g


Standard battery, Li-on 1,750 mAh

* Specifications above may differ on the LTE version.

* All functionality, features, specifications and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice or obligation.

Via Engadget, This is my next