Is Ice Cream Sandwich the Best OS Now?
Android 4.0 or Ice cream sandwich as it is popularly called has been launched on a select few phones and tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Motorola Xoom for some time now. Google has named it ‘the sandwich’ since it is a sandwiched result of the earlier versions of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and Android 3.1 (Honeycomb). Going by the look of the Android 4.0, this has been the most ambitious Google project that we have ever witnessed. Is Google hoping that this new innovation will take some steam from Apple’s iOS 5? It would sure seem so if you were to look at the new tablets at CES 2012.
The Ice Cream Sandwich interface is so very Google that one look at the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, you feel the touch of Google. Once the device is powered ON for the first time, it prompts you to link up your Google+ account and syncs your e-mail accounts, phone book, calendar, Picasa account. The syncing happens in the background so the phone can be used immediately. Better still, draw a clockwise square on the top left corner and all the features will be activated and a tutorial on how to use the phone will start running.
There have been significant changes made in the User interface. For instance, a long press of the home key does not take us to the widgets and shortcut area. These are put in the app tray and creation of folders is easier. The folder display is transparent showing the files piled up. Dragging and overlapping icons and then renaming it can create a new folder. Swiping various panels in the menu again, can access the app tray. Long press an app and you get bird’s eye-view of the five home screens along with the uninstall option. The app can be dragged to the relevant option in the menu. Many features of the Honeycomb are also retained in the Ice cream sandwich such as the re-sizing of the widgets, the apps tray etc.
Google has done away with the menu and search options in the Ice cream Sandwich and has given the options of back, home and task-switcher. The increasing virtual keys and the minimizing of the physical keys seem to indicate that Google plans to envisage pure touch screen interfaces in the future. As a user, you don’t complain since you are getting a larger screen display.Continued on the next page