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. Read More
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. Read More
Let's face it -- no one likes tiered data plans. Still, it is something that most of us have to deal with, and I've never met anyone who wants to suffer the result of going over their allotted bandwidth. Fortunately, Google is offering a nice, proactive solution (not to be confused with the face cream that gets rid of acne, that's something else entirely) to help users avoid connection speed slowdowns or, even worse, surprise overage fees.
The band-aid for this menacing problem is a built-in data monitor, which is designed to provide crucial information about which apps are using your bandwidth and how much you have left, as well as warn you or disable all mobile data when you hit a user-definable limit. Read More
We've already looked at a veritable buttload (yes, that's an official unit of measurement) of features from ICS, but we're not finished yet. Next on the list of things that Google made better in Android 4.0 is an app that nearly everyone is familiar with: the Calendar.
Don't get me wrong, the existing Calendar app works pretty well -- it covers all the basics. You can schedule and view appointments, check out an overview of your week or month... pretty much all the things that you expect your calendar to do for you. However, if you use the Calendar often (and you're busy enough to fill it up), then you may have noticed one of the downsides of Calendar: it's not very easy to read when you have a full day planned. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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). Still, it has been brushed up here and there - and we like it!
So, how'd they do it? The TIMN team decided to take the Android 4.0 SDK for a spin, and in the process of doing so they discovered an option that allows devs to change the emulator's screen size. Read More
Are you worried about your ice cream melting before it reaches the UK? According to a press release from Three UK this morning, it should arrive on your doorstep still tasting nice and fresh in the shape of Samsung's newly announced Galaxy Nexus.
Although no specific dates have been given by the network, it's certainly encouraging to see an announcement so shortly after the phone's unveiling in Hong Kong.
During the unveiling, Samsung said that the phone will hit the market "in November" and see a worldwide distribution, so there is a good chance that the phone could come to the UK as soon as next month. Read More
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".
Unfortunately, as the font comes with the new OS, the majority of Android users will not be able to experience Roboto until their devices are upgraded to Android 4.0. Read More