Whew... it's certainly been an exciting week in the world of Android, hasn't it? Arguably the most anticipated update to the OS yet was finally officially revealed to the world, and it managed to meet - and exceed - virtually all of our expectations. For a quick run-down of the major changes, check out Cameron's primer or browse through the plethora of ICS posts from the last few days. Alternatively, you can watch the full 1-hour reveal.
So, what's your favorite aspect of the ICS update?
The days where penetration testers carry around laptops with them to test the security of networks seem to be numbered, with Zimperium's 'Anti' bringing a lot of those tools over from the PC to Android smartphones.
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is, if nothing else, a unique breed of tablet, conveniently offering the functionality of a netbook at your whim, with the addition of a handy keyboard dock. It is, no doubt, a capable piece of hardware, but (in my opinion) it seems a bit awkward and bulky. Of course, upon its release, speculation about its successor began almost immediately. Several months later, ASUS has released a teaser video that gives us a few hints about the next Transformer.
As you can see from the video, the next Transformer looks like an improvement over its predecessor, at least in terms of form-factor.
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.
Just touch the devices back-to-back, tap the confirmation, and that's it.
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.
Before you hit the shutter, though, the new camera app is already helping you compose a better shot.
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. When messages are selected, the action bar changes to reflect your most commonly used actions, allowing for breezy batch operations.
Adding even more shine to the new UI, the message view has been majorly streamlined, eliminating all the distracting drop shadows and rounded edges we saw in Gingerbread, in favor of simple headers (with lovely contact photos), and even 2-line previews in the inbox, to give you a peek at what's inside each email before you open it.
Leading up to last night's Ice Cream Sandwich announcement, there were rumblings that perhaps Chrome would make its Android debut with the latest iteration of Google's mobile OS. Unfortunately, those rumors turned out to be false, but the new browser that Google has cooked up looks pretty awesome, and packs in a lot of notable features.
First off, the browser has been redesigned. Personally, I think it looks (and functions) much better than its Gingerbread counterpart. Instead of simply having a bookmark button and address bar up top, the new browser has the address bar, a tabs button, and a menu button.
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.
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.
What's more, this feature can be used in just about any app, using the microphone key on Ice Cream Sandwich's new keyboard.