Google has revealed its latest iteration of the Android platform branded “Ice Cream Sandwich,” complete with a splash of new features that should get any Android developer excited. In the big picture, Android 4.0 is expected to work on both tablets and smartphones, effectively combining Honeycomb and Gingerbread operating systems into one. According to Google UX head Matias Duarte, Android 4.0 should “simplify user’s lives.”
One way the new Android OS will make user’s lives easier is the tapping feature. Demonstrated on Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphones (which come loaded with Android 4.0 and Google’s Android Beam technology), tapping allows you to tap another phone and share whatever the “tapping” phone is doing. For example, an article or application could be shared easily. Of course, if there is application not installed on the receiving device that user would be prompted to install, and purchase if necessary, any required apps.
Another feature built into Android 4.0 is Face Unlock. This security feature, which didn’t work so well during demonstration, would detect whether or not the device’s owner is holding the phone or not. Hacker’s note: You’ll need to refer to the Travolta/Cage film “Face Off” on how to break into an Android device with Face Unlock running.
If you’re into typography, Ice Cream Sandwich also introduces a new font called “Roboto.” The new sans-serif font is clean, modern, and “approachable” — attributes that reflect some of the new Android system’s goals.
Some other features in Android 4.0 include more social app integration, live graphic effects (face warping and that sort of thing), a data usage interface (which looks really slick), single motion panoramic camera capability, and the integration of virtual buttons.