2011-10-19 13h48_20

While we use our devices for everything from watching movies to browsing the net and checking social networks, let's not overlook the fact that, at their core, they're still called smartphones. As such, the dialer and contact app -- now called People -- in Ice Cream Sandwich have both received a major overhaul.

2011-10-19 13h38_27 2011-10-19 13h39_07 2011-10-19 13h39_40

The People is, of course, based on the current Contacts app, but it has been totally redesigned to be more intuitive, easier to use, and provide all the information about your contacts in one centralized location. The main screen offers the typical list of contacts, but instead of being tabbed like the current version, it's swipe-able (like most things in ICS). A quick right-swipe takes you to your favorites, which is now little more than high res images of the people in the list. It's clean, looks good (albeit a bit WinPhone 7-ish), and functional. I'm not entirely sure what happens when one of your favorites is missing a picture, but I imagine a generic placeholder icon takes the place instead. Tapping on any contact takes you to their contact info, including all associated social networking sites. Tap on any of the listed networks and you'll go directly to the respective page. This makes keeping up with your contacts (read: stalking) extremely simple.

2011-10-19 13h48_20 2011-10-19 13h48_53 2011-10-19 13h49_09

The People app is also directly integrated with the new dialer. As you can see in the photo on the left, the Dialer has received a visual overhaul, which gives it a much sleeker, more modern overall look. The recent section still sports the same functionality we've all become accustomed to, which includes quick callback functionality. A quick swipe to the right takes you back into your favorites list, while tapping on a contact from this screen will call them (instead of take you directly into their contact card like with the People app) since it's embedded in the dialer.

2011-10-19 13h50_48 2011-10-19 13h49_25 2011-10-19 13h49_39 

The dialer also brings a new feature to the table that I can personally guarantee that I will be using between two and seventeen times per day: quick response. It's awesome -- now, when someone calls at an inopportune moment, instead of ignoring the call, you can simply swipe up to send them a quick text message to let them know you're not available. Brilliant.

There's also a new way to handle voicemail, and this one doesn't involve the old-school method of entering a pin number and manipulating settings using the dialpad. You can play voicemail, fast-forward it, delete it, and more directly from the dialer app. During the demo, Hugo used a Google Voice message, so I assume that this feature will only be available to Voice subscribers and probably won't be compatible with carrier voicemail services.

That's just a quick look at what's new in the Dialer and People apps, and I'm sure there's a lot more little goodies that have yet to be uncovered.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://omca.co.uk O McAdam

    How and why did they leave out T9 or predictive dialing...
    That is such an important feature once you've used it on other phones. Especially when you have 500+ contact...

    • Victor Stuber

      use gesture search. Its what I do when i have tons of contacts

    • GergS

      Search isn't that hard... lol

      Instead of pecking digits 0-9, peck at a-z :P

  • http://yggdrasil.net Joe Ewbank

    AP, Y U NO post a feature look about the dialer, and NOT include a photo of the keypad?

  • Daniel C

    Actually, carriers can integrate their voicemails into the call log, just as demonstrated at the ICS event. They've created API's for it: http://developer.android.com/reference/android/provider/VoicemailContract.html

  • jimmy

    agreed.. Where is the keypad? isn't that a fundamental part of the dialer?
    Also, i'm not a fan of the big pictures thing... just my opinion :)

  • skitchbeatz

    Also, that quick text feature was "borrowed" from Samsung's TouchWiz. Just letting all of you TW haters know.

    • slow23

      Quick text is also available in Sense by Htc. In fact it was already back in the good old Windows Mobile days, when Sense was called Manila...

  • Phil

    Ya know....this is so stylized I'd dare say you wouldn't want to put a theme on it. So it seems to me that Google has actually given us the major UI overhaul that they said they would some time ago. They said they'd make something so nice that you wouldn't want to theme it.

    Sick of hearing iFools and WPhools instinctively call it ugly or "tron like". This is neither ugly nor tron like as Honeycomb was. It very much follow the rising trend in web design. Its very modern and flat with strong colors to draw the eyes where needed. Its like the Pulse app extended to the whole phone an no one said Pulse was ugly.

  • Woot?!

    I think the interface is horrible... looks like a bad science-fiction game with that futuristic font and those blue lines and stuff. The home screen is a total wreck and the new icons are a mess.

    • gbill

      That is your opinion and thank God its jut a few of your type.

      • http://social-catalog.com/iris-app-like-siri-for-android aatif

        really great look . i like this

  • Joe.Hz

    Also dont forget, the Nexus phones cant use facebook photos in their contacts list. So you will most likely have blank or default photos for most of your contacts unless they use google+ (yeah)

    • enQueue

      Actually you could use something like the SyncMyPix app to set your contact photos from their facebook profiles. My Nexus One supports facebook photos for contacts but I still use SyncMyPix because it keeps all my contact info in one place.

  • Hugo

    To the Android Police team:

    Pay attention to your ad partners. Right now, you are displaying two ad instances from a very well known scam organization in the Internet.

    It's called "Gane Dinero Flujo" (Gain a Money Flux), and you can better see it yourself on Google.

    I don't need to say how that tarnishes your image and reputation among readers.

  • Fernanda

    I just updated my SII to ics 4.0.3...but i just can't find any of this things...the laucher is the same, the contacts are the same, there is no people app... why this difference? 

  • cdr

    Sprint S-II with v4.04 ... just got the update, some of these things are in place, some are not... Contacts app has SOME People functionality, certainly not the look or name. Camera hasn't changed... Music Player hasn't changed... Personally, I dislike many of the changes that are there... I use my phone for BUSINESS, but Organization is now missing from the Contact's information, have to add to each contact. No way to select the DEFAULT fields that you want to see EVERY time...

  • Johnny

    ICS dialer interface is flat out awful, and extremely clunky and difficult to use. Please take notes from iOS6.

  • Mohammed Hameed Ali

    i just updated my galaxy ace s5830i to 4.1.1 and i can't access phone dialer it shows simcard error on no mobile network

  • Mohammed Hameed Ali

    i just updated my galaxy ace s5830i to 4.1.1 and i can't access phone dialer it shows simcard error on no mobile network please help can give me a website where i can download zip.file of ICS phone dialer