19
Oct
10-18-2011 7-26-11 PM

Update: This post has been updated with links to a deeper look at each feature. Enjoy!

Holy crap. The Samsung/Google event ended just a little while ago, and I have to say, I'm pretty overwhelmed by the amount of awesome that I just experienced. The Galaxy Nexus is official, as is its counterpart OS: Ice Cream Sandwich. There is no doubt that ICS is the most polished version of Android to date.

19
Oct
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Everyone has been making a big deal about NFC lately - which phones have it, where it can be used, etc. Until last night's announcement, many (including myself) didn't see much on the horizon except a fun way to pay for things using your phone. That perception has changed, however, thanks to Android Beam.

Beam utilizes NFC technology to quickly, seamlessly transfer data from one device to another. As demonstrated last night, one has only to touch the two devices together to send just about anything from web pages, to photos, to apps.

19
Oct
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One of the features I'm most excited about in Ice Cream Sandwich is the camera. The new camera app really raises the bar, bringing a heap of improvements, as well as plenty of features we haven't seen before.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of ICS' camera is that it has zero shutter lag. That's right - zero. Photos are taken as soon as you hit the shutter button. In last night's demo we got a glimpse of how powerful this is, as the presenter snapped off several images back to back with no wait time in between.

19
Oct
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Gmail, probably the most used app on my Evo 4G, will be getting a major facelift with the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich, bringing it into line with - and, in some ways, surpassing - its Honeycomb counterpart.

First of all, Gmail for Ice Cream Sandwich features an "action bar" at the bottom of the screen, much like Honeycomb's action bar, which allows users to create messages, search, sync, and more with just one touch.

19
Oct
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Android's voice capabilities have always impressed me, giving me the ability to speak to my phone instead of spending time typing. Raising the bar a bit, Google introduced us tonight to live speech-to-text, making message dictation faster and more streamlined than ever.

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Android's new speech-to-text functionality happens completely live, as we saw in tonight's demo. As soon as you start talking, your phone begins typing. It will even wait for you if you take a pause, and add emoticons and punctuation per your request.

19
Oct
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One of the most useful features of Android, in my opinion, is spell check. When attempting to convey information quickly, it's easy to make mistakes, and it's nice to have a device that catches them for you.

With Ice Cream Sandwich, users can expect a revamped keyboard, inline spell check capabilities, and improved copy/paste functionality.

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The new keyboard doesn't look too different from the Gingerbread keyboard, save for its new color scheme and speech-to-text button.

18
Oct
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If you find PIN codes or gesture patterns too predictable to keep your phone secure, Ice Cream Sandwich has the ultimate solution: face unlock.

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Face unlock utilizes your phone's front-facing camera to "recognize" your face. If anyone else looks into the camera, they will be denied access. Simple as that. Not only is this a nice option to have for everyday use, but I could imagine it being integrated into mobile security apps as well, ensuring that no one but you could get into your phone and see potentially sensitive data.

18
Oct
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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.

18
Oct
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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.

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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.

18
Oct
10-18-2011 7-28-22 PM
Last Updated: August 20th, 2012

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.

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