Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Google Unveils Android 4.0 and Galaxy Nexus

Google has finally revealed its new weapons for 2012: the new and better than ever Android Ice Cream Sandwich and their new new flagship smartphone  Galaxy Nexus.

I believe this will be one of the most important "steps" Google and Android are giving, and will become a major milestone in the evolution of the Android platform.

Galaxy Nexus

If your're looking for a high-end Android smartphone, look no further, as the new Galaxy Nexus will offer you everything you might be looking for... and more.
The only "downside" is that it might be too large for anyone wanting a compact Android phone; but once you see that 4.65" Super AMOLED in action, with its HD 1280x720 resolution, you might want to reconsider it. Besides, that large screen is partially compensated by the fact that we no longer have the traditional physical Android buttons, just like the Honeycomb tablets.

Inside, we can find TI OMAP4 dual-core CPU (1.2Ghz), 1GB RAM and dual cameras (5MP and 1.3MP... now without shutter lag). Also present are the usual assortment of extras, like: Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, NFC, giroscope, barometer... etc.
There will be different models depending on the region: HSPA+ (3G) or LTE (4G)...

But more than the hardware itself, the jewel of the crown is the new and improved Android 4.0.

Android Ice Cream Sandwich

There's a lot of new stuff in Android ICS. Some (most) will be instantly recognized by anyone with a Honeycomb tablet - which Google admitted being an emergency stopgap version made in a hurry (that's why they never launched it as open-source) - but that will now be done properly with this 4.0 Android version.

From what I can figure out, this really does seem to be the first Android version made with the required amount of attention to details that will make users want to have an Android - as opposed to have "anything" that allowed them to access the web and their email - and that will at last "unify" tablet and smartphone Apps under a common interface.

Besides the hardware buttons giving way to software buttons, there are also:

  • resizable widgets - and accessible in their own tab alongside the Apps
  • You can easily move around Apps to the dock bar
  • Easily create folder by dragging Apps into one another (like iOS)
  • Easy multitasking App access, with screenshots - and that can be dismissed with a single swipe (like on WebOS)
  • realtime voice transcription
  • unlock by facial recognition
  • "zero lag" camera photos- continuous auto-focus, realtime effects, photo editing, panoramic photos, time-lapse, zoom while recording video, etc.
  • Screenshots (press power button and volume down)
  • enhanced Gmail client - easier to access options (instead of hiding them)
  • Android Beam - content transfer between Android via NFC
  • Improved People contacts App with social integration
  • Data usage controls - you can set a limit as well as see which Apps are using data
  • Improved keyboard - also better copy-paste
  • Pinch-to-zoom in calendar
  • Direct app access in lock screen as well as see notifiations
  • Improved browser (16 tabs, desktop mode)
  • Able to disable "operator-installed Apps"

Lots and lots of nice features and improvements that make Android more attractive than ever (and also make iOS look old in the process... like the zero lag photos, and realtime voice transcription - as well as the "WebOS style" swipe to dismiss notifications and background apps)!

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