For many people, Gmail is Android's killer app. It's the best email app on any platform, and one of the biggest draws to Android. So anytime there is a change, it's pretty big news. With Ice Cream Sandwich, Gmail got a huge revamp. Every inch of the app has changed. Today we're going to find out just what is so different.
I'm sure you've read other articles on the new ICS apps, but those are just rehashing what was shown in the Hong Kong demo.
Almost immediately after getting my hands on a Galaxy Tab 10.1, it was updated by Samsung to include the infamous TouchWiz UX. This brought about some significant aesthetic and UI changes, including a quick-access tray, which brings up a list of handy apps at the touch of a button. The only problem is that this bar isn't customizable. For those who want more options, or those not fortunate enough to have the TouchWiz experience, developer SnowBEE has released Wizz Bar.
A new beta version of Swype for Android, version 3.26, has been released, with the chief improvements being automatic updates, 11 new languages, a refined key layout, and enhanced settings in help. Now that they've nearly doubled the number of supported languages, the Swype package has been broken into four: one each for the Americas, Western and Eastern Europe, South-East Asia, and one for all regions.
Undoubtedly the most substantial improvement to existing Swype users: automatic updates.
Dolphin HD, one of my favorite browsers (at least until ICS), was updated to version 7.0 today, available exclusively from GetJar until October 23rd, at which point it will be released to the Android Market.
The new version brings cloud sync of browsing preferences and gestures in addition to bookmarks across all your Android devices - something Dolphin is calling Dolphin Connect. In addition to that, Dolphin 7 revamps the WebZine interface for easier navigation and prettier, more robust UI.
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".
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.
Pretty much the first thing that gets done to a new Android device when it hits the market is benchmarking. The Android community seems to be obsessed with benchmarking their devices over and over, and comparing the results to other devices. Personally I've always found this practice to be a curiosity at best, mainly because apps such as Quadrant give somewhat nebulous scores, which are hard to compare objectively, and offer little in the way of exact measurements.