While tonight's event positively overloaded us with details about Ice Cream Sandwich, there were some features that didn't make the cut - Android engineer Dan Morrill has spilled the details on even more awesome features we can expect from the latest version of Android, posting a brief message about them on Google+. Unfortunately we don't have screen shots of these features, but we can discuss what information we do have, feature-by-feature.
A concern that's been on the tip of the Android community's tongue lately is hardware acceleration. It's something we've been waiting for for a while now, and it looks like Ice Cream Sandwich will finally deliver.
Hardware acceleration allows for a buttery smooth user experience, better graphic performance, and better responsiveness within apps. The sheer volume of improvements coming in Ice Cream Sandwich is astonishing, and I have a feeling we haven't heard about all that ICS has to offer yet.
Can't get enough of the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich? P3droid has released a dump of the Galaxy Nexus' system apps. Most apps from the dump are only going to work on ICS devices, but you can probably load most of them up in the ICS Android emulator right now. On that note, hopefully developers can pick the apps apart and get some Ice Cream Sandwich crumbs working on current devices.
Some of the most impressive features unveiled at tonight's Ice Cream Sandwich Announcement surrounded the home screen and multitasking. This time around, Google has packed an absurd amount of awesomeness into Android, and while the home screen is just the beginning, there's a lot going on that's worth discussing.
First up, we have resizable widgets - a feature many users adore from Honeycomb. Finally, users can resize widgets using Android's default launcher, making the possibilities for well-designed home screens endless.
Anticipating the fact that some folks prefer information presented to them visually, Google just dropped the first official promo video for the new Galaxy Nexus, powered by Ice Cream Sandwich. Tron-style racing and a rundown of new ICS features are practically begging you to click that Play button below:
In the words of the top YouTube comment: "Shut up and take my money, Google!"
One of Android's new features that was stressed pretty heavily on stage tonight was Roboto, a system font created specifically for Ice Cream Sandwich, which, in all honesty, looks a lot better than the system fonts we've seen before.
At first I questioned why it was necessary to spend so much time discussing a simple type face (one without even a hint of a serif), but when I thought about it, it made sense - most of the things we do on Android devices involve letters and numbers in some way, and why not make those characters aesthetically pleasing?
In an age where a "contact" is more than a mere phone number and email address, contact management has become a tedious process. So, I was pleased to see Google taking a step in the right direction with ICS and updating the contact manager into the new and improved "People" app. During the ICS live blog Hugo Barra, Product Management Director for Android at Google, demoed the new People app by showing off how it seamlessly integrated all the contact's basic information together with the person's different social profiles.
Developers, start your engines. Fresh Ice Cream Sandwich versions of the SDK and ADT have been released. There is a ton of new stuff to learn and play with. For starters, take a look at the 4.0 platform page here, download the 4.0 SDK here, and instructions for ADT 14 are over here.
I think I could write a book on all the new things in ICS, but here are the highlights for developers:
Unified UI framework for phones, tablets, and more - All the UI elements from Honeycomb, like the action bar and fragments.
Late last week, Device Frame Generator made its debut in the Android Asset Studio, thanks to Roman Nurik. Mere moments after the unveiling of the Galaxy Prime at an event held by Google and Samsung, DFG has been updated to include a Galaxy Nexus template.
Developers can now create stunning, high-res images for their apps in mere seconds, framing their screenshots with the latest and greatest Android hardware. If you can't wait to check out how your app looks on a Galaxy Nexus, head over to the Asset Studio and give it a whirl!