Android 4, also known as the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), was first launched in October 2011. This new version of the operating system from Google offers even a wider variety of features that adds to the charm of the already existing Android OS. This new version was aimed at merging the smartphones and the tablets from Android.
One of the most attractive features is the intuitive and fluid enhancement to the user interface. They call it the Magazine style user interface. It generates a consistent look and feel to the otherwise diversified feel of the previous versions.
Now the user can navigate through the applications more intuitively with a swipe gesture. One can also view the most common actions and move conveniently by checking the top or bottom bars.
In this new OS the buttons are replaced with virtual buttons that can be accessed on most part of the OS and can be customized to disable as per one’s need.
The new OS provides a superior high resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels compared to the old 480 x 800 pixels that most android run devices used to offer. The new customizable Favorite Tray lets the user access more applications from any of the home screens. Also, the new version has made the creating and managing of folders much easier. The widgets have now become more dynamic that makes it both scrollable and re-sizable. Its new feature called Stacks makes accessing photos or videos more interesting and easier without even having to open the gallery app.
In the new version the notifications not only supports the text but also the images and control elements. It lets you respond to the notifications with less disruption to the application that you were already using at the time of notification. Also the notifications can be cleared one by one instead of clearing all at once. The ICS has made multitasking on the android run smartphones much more efficient. The ICS now allows for screenshots that can be natively captured that get stored in the gallery.
The most interesting feature of all is the NFC (Near field communication) based sharing. You can share any information with another NFC-enabled android phone by simply taping them together. This new feature is called Android Beam.
The new OS version also support face recognition which makes unlocking your phone much easier. It sounds cool but could be tricky as well, at times. So it has other ways to unlock the phone, i.e., via entering a pin or pattern in case the face recognition fails. ICS also make the user experience more enjoyable by improving upon the core input methods, the voice and the keyboard.
Although it has been a while since they first launched ICS, it hasn’t reached out to all of the android markets yet. The delay is because of the fragmentation issue. Although steps have been taken to overcome this weakness it will take some time for the whole of the android market to fully utilize the benefits of the ICS.