What are you looking forward to most from the Ice Cream Sandwich update?Taylor Martin - Member
Just three weeks ago, Samsung and Google took the stage to announce their latest and greatest. Samsung's focus was hardware. The Galaxy Nexus is easily one of the most highly-anticipated phones of 2011, and it is expected to land on Verizon followed by other US carriers in the coming weeks. It was promised in November, so we now have less than 30 days ... at most! I digress.
Google's main objective was to increase hype about their platform's latest firmware upgrade. They gave us a somewhat lengthy tour inside and out of their new software, Ice Cream Sandwich, which features a heavy UI redesign, should fight fragmentation (though some phones will inevitably be left to jealously spend the rest of their time using Froyo or Gingerbread) and a whole big bag of goodies. Ice Cream Sandwich has leaked through the cracks (SDK ROM ports, at least) and has already been pawed by some lucky individuals who happened to own one of the few phones that have received a ICS-based ROM. But for those of us who are waiting for the officially official version of Ice Cream Sandwich, it's just around the corner – a couples weeks away, give or take a day.
Although the keynote was excruciatingly boring, it left me excited and looking forward to Ice Cream Sandwich. This says quite a bit seeing as it's been a while since I have been excited over anything from the Mountain View-based company. Admittedly, I'm a Google fanboy when it comes to some things. But let's face it, when their partner OEMs are constantly firehosing new phones, software updates (after nine months of latency, at best) and even more phones, it's particularly easy to become frustrated with and desensitized to Android-related news. Well, that's what happened to me, at least.
But finally (and I say this because I'm glad to be back, I wanted a reason to care again), Google has announced something worthy of a lot of hype and excitement. And I literally cannot wait to get my paws on the new software (and Samsung's new hardware, of course) – there are a select few features that have me really excited.
First and foremost, I'm ready for stock Android to finally provide a polished end user experience. Gingerbread was a huge step in the right direction, and so was Honeycomb. Neither of those, however, are perfect. We now know what ICS will look like on a tablet, and not much has changed. Handset versions of ICS, on the other hand, are facing a major UI overhaul – one that finally seems to pull Android out of that beta-esque stage. After watching the keynote, I feel that Google has answered the cries of its many users and patched some gaping flaws the OS has had since day one. They've cut down confusion in the OS navigation and simplified Settings menus, on top of many other simplifying changes.
But what am I most excited for in Ice Cream Sandwich? In truth, a bunch of the new, gimmicky features. I know they're gimmicky and that I'll probably only use them a few dozen times while showing them off to my less tech savvy friends, but I don't even care. Those two things are Face Unlock and Android Beam.
Face Unlock is rather self-explanatory. You use the front-facing camera on your phone to unlock it using facial recognition software. What's not to love (aside from those of you with an evil twin that loves to peek at your phone while you aren't looking, or on days like yesterday when you might not ... look like yourself)?
Android Beam has me the most excited. It's not even an awe-inspiring feature. But it's a feature -- no, a function -- that is long overdue, and Google is surprisingly the first to make any progress in this area. Media transfer between two "smart" devices has been admittedly much more complicated than it should be. Smartphones and mobile software have been advancing at light speed while media transfer between two devices mere inches away from each other still have to use rather archaic methods to transfer a picture or ringtone. Using software like Bump, which definitely makes the process a little more "fun" and seem less archaic, still requires you to send a picture halfway around the globe (and requires a strong GPS and data connection, which are not always readily available) before it lands on the device two inches away. Beam simplifies something that has needed to be changed for at least a couple years now, and its possibilities are endless, thanks to NFC and APIs being open to third-party devs. Of all the new Ice Cream Sandwich features, Beam is by far what I am looking forward to the most – if only to play with it for a few minutes and to see what awesome things developers can do with it down the road.
We're only weeks away from Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus officially landing. Who's heading out to get one on launch day? What features of ICS are you looking forward to most? Is there anything about ICS you see that you don't like? So far, I'm seeing all things good from Google this go around.
Image via International Business Timesd