Although it wasn't announced alongside the plethora of other features during the Ice Cream Sandwich event, Wi-Fi Direct may prove to be one of the more important and revolutionary features of the new OS. In the old days Bluetooth was the standard method of device to device data transfer, but now with Ice Cream Sandwich we are given Wi-Fi Direct and Android Beam. The latter uses NFC to transfer links, media, and other data, while the former is an interesting implementation of the wireless standard which creates ad-hoc networks between compatible devices.
One of the first things that crossed our minds when Google wrapped up its Ice Cream Sandwich press conference was "what about tablets"? Well now, thanks to This is my Next, we can finally lay those fears to rest: Android 4.0 looks absolutely fantastic on a larger display.
As you can see, it doesn't look all that different from Honeycomb, which makes sense given ICS' promise of unifying Android on phones (currently Gingerbread) with Android on tablets (Hcomb).
Today's Ice Cream Sandwich announcement yielded a number of exciting enhancements, but not quite as distinctive as the new font Roboto. Indeed during the keynote, the presenter spent an inordinate amount of time expounding the virtues of this font. Roboto is a sans-serif font with characters that have a pleasing roundness, and are spaced evenly, making e-mails, clocks, and menus easy on the eyes, and, in the words of one presenter, "a pleasure to read".
At the end of today's Ice Cream Sandwich unveiling, we found out that the ICS SDK (API 14) was available immediately, but a much more important bit - the source code - was not mentioned at all. It didn't really come as a surprise - historically the source was released about a month after the SDK (with the exception of Honeycomb), but I'd like to clarify something right away for those confused between the SDK and the source code.
While I was tapping away on my laptop trying to keep up with the Ice Cream Sandwich event earlier today, the desktop machine was happily recording it for future reference. This should hold us over until Google posts the official HD version - the video is about 1 hours long, but almost every minute of it is totally worth it (at least once you get to the juicy ICS bits):
Update: The official HD video has now been posted:
Engadget managed to get some face time with Google's Gabe Cohen and he has confirmed that Ice Cream Sandwich will definitely be coming to the Nexus S. According to Engadget, both he and Matias Duarte are of the opinion that most Gingerbread devices (e.g. the Samsung Galaxy SII) will receive the upgrade.
They said that Google is "currently in the process for releasing Ice Cream Sandwich for Nexus S" and that in theory it "should work for any 2.3 device."
Unfortunately, there is no word yet on when ICS would be coming to the Android 2.3 devices and there is also no clear plan on whether ICS will ever come to older devices such as the Nexus One.
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.
Welcome to the home of the Ice Cream Sandwich launch live coverage. Come back to this page about 30 minutes before Google and Samsung start the event in Hong Kong and join us in the chat. The official start times in various time zones are below:
- Oct 18 4PM HAST
- Oct 18 7PM PDT
- Oct 18 8PM MDT
- Oct 18 9PM CDT
- Oct 18 10PM EDT
- Oct 19 2AM GMT
- Oct 19 3AM BST
- Oct 19 4AM CEST/IST
- Oct 19 5AM EEST
- Oct 19 6AM MSK
- Oct 19 10AM HKT
- Oct 19 11AM JST
Remember, the whole event will be broadcast live at youtube.com/android - don't forget to tune in.
In what will probably be the last melting drop of the Ice Cream Sandwich leaks (oh the puns), we wanted to highlight one highly desired little feature ICS is finally going to bring to Android after all these years - native screenshot capabilities. If you thought 2 years was a long time for Apple to implement copy/paste... let's just say Google definitely has that record beat.
Update 10/18/11: Confirmed during the ICS unveiling:
Users of some Samsung, HTC, and other devices have already been enjoying this feature for some time thanks to manufacturer additions, but based on what we've seen so far (and we've seen quite a few things), the Galaxy Nexus will be able to take screenshots without the need for any external apps, root, carrier mods, or other nonsense - support for it is now baked into the core of ICS (I wonder if it tastes like caramel).
Earlier today we gave you a quick look at Chords from the new Google Plus 2.0 app that should be included in ICS. Now, let's take a closer look and compare the updated Google+ app to the current release, shall we?
Left: Old, Right: New
First off, the notification bar has been moved from the bottom to the top. Other than that, nothing really to see here (aside form Chord, but we've already talked about that).