20
Oct
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Since last night's announcement, there has been a lot of speculation surrounding the Galaxy Nexus. One of the most mysterious features of Samsung's latest Nexus device is its onboard barometer. Many have been questioning why Samsung would include a barometer in the Nexus' sleek chassis, citing possibilities from more accurate weather prediction to simple altitude detection (which is partially true).

In a Google+ post today, Android Engineer Dan Morrill gave us the scoop on what the barometer is actually for, and it's more interesting than you might think.

19
Oct
1a396244-d4d3-4752-a304-3632cd3dd4d4

Let's get the preliminary question off the plate first: who is Matias Duarte? Well for one thing, he oversaw the designing of a few small projects such as webOS, Sidekick OS, and Helio (the little carrier that could... be bought out). And, oh yeah, he also played a large part in Honeycomb's development.

Yesterday he sat down with Joshua Topolsky of This is my Next (soon to be The Verge) to discuss the "philosophy" of Android and, more specifically, Ice Cream Sandwich.

19
Oct
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Since I'm seeing questions inquiring about Android 4.0's source code drop every 5 minutes here and there, I thought it would be a good idea to point out this blurb in a recent post by an Android engineer Dan Morrill, aka morrildl:

  • To reiterate, these servers contain only the ‘gingerbread’ and ‘master’ branches from the old AOSP servers. We plan to release the source for the recently-announced Ice Cream Sandwich soon, once it’s available on devices.
  • 19
    Oct
    kindlefirerootcomp

    It looks like the HP Touchpad isn't the only tablet to have a bounty placed on its head - Kindle Fire Forum is now offering a substantial reward to the first person who's able to provide a reliable, reversible root method, or either a Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich port for Amazon's Android tablet.

    kindlefirerootcomp

    The forum is offering a prize of $200 for a root method, and a whopping $800 for a "Basic" Honeycomb or ICS port.

    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
    230_Galaxy_Nexus_SignuUp

    It seems that these days, Samsung must constantly be on alert for new entries in the ever-growing list of patent disputes with Apple. Sensing this, Samsung's Mobile President, Shin Jong-kyun (who we heard from at last night's presentation) took a moment to stress the fact that the Galaxy Nexus was designed with patents in mind - specifically, it was designed to avoid trouble with Apple. While it is a rectangular device with a touch screen, not much else seems to put it in danger.

    19
    Oct
    2011-10-19 13h48_20

    While we use our devices for everything from watching movies to browsing the net and checking social networks, let's not overlook the fact that, at their core, they're still called smartphones. As such, the dialer and contact app -- now called People -- in Ice Cream Sandwich have both received a major overhaul.

    2011-10-19 13h38_27 2011-10-19 13h39_07 2011-10-19 13h39_40

    The People is, of course, based on the current Contacts app, but it has been totally redesigned to be more intuitive, easier to use, and provide all the information about your contacts in one centralized location.

    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
    image

    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
    2011-10-19 12h37_21

    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.

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