Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is the next operating system for mobile phones and tablets that will be coming out in November. It is said that it will combine the best of the current Honeycomb 3.0 for Android tablets and the Gingerbread 2.3 for mobile phones into a single, united operating system that developers could use for all Android devices going forward. ICS promises to be a more “grown-up” operating system with a completely redesigned user interface. Even the fonts will be different. Among the new features of the ICS are resizable widgets, group apps into home screen folders (Thanks, Apple), the ability to take screenshots (Again, thanks, Apple), visual voice mail, tap-to-pay with NFC and Google Wallet (which let’s tap your phone to a payment terminal), facial unlocking, which supposedly the OS will recognize the owner’s face to unlock the phone.
Among the drawbacks, the problem of fragmentation still exists, which is that certain apps won’t work properly due to the different versions of Android OS running on different phone manufacturers. That makes it painful for developers and users alike. However, Google has acknowledged the problem and promised an new set of APIs that will help developers optimize apps for different devices, and more importantly, it is encouraging all its partners to run the latest version of Android for at least the first 18 months of new product releases. How this task will be implemented is still unclear.
I think it is great that this new Ice Cream Sandwich operating system will act as a united operating system for all android-powered devices, because it will be easier for developers to create apps that will function across any device using Android, regardless of the brand. However, the problem of fragmentation is still a work-in-progress, although Google is aware of the problem and will most likely come up with a solution in the near future. Also, it is interesting to notice that nowadays, there’s a lot of imitation when it comes to developing operating systems. For instance, Android has borrowed several features from iOS5 from Apple, whereas iOS5 has done exactly the same (think notification bar, for example, if you’re using iOS 5). All in all it, seems that big changes are coming to Android and I’m excited to see what’s next in store
Lee, N. (2011, October 19). Ice cream sandwich first impressions: a new bold android. Retrieved from http://www.http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19736_7-20061501-251/ice-cream-sandwich-first-impressions-a-bold-new-android