Android Ice-cream Sandwich announced!
“We want one OS that runs everywhere.” And Android is making a good pace of getting there. So while Gingerbread was a full tablet support one, Google’s latest OS, Icecream Sandwich will be a one stop solution with support for multiple devices like smartphones, tablet PCs and convertible laptops, with just one version. It will have all the features from Google’s earlier operating systems besides a bunch full of newbies. Thus the Ice-cream would not only act as a tie for all screen sizes, those on handsets, tablets, Google TV, and the lot, but that it would make for a much easier world for developers to live in. A single API framework for what may be the easiest Android version to develop for yet. While the version name hasn’t been decided yet (Rumored to be either Android 3.5 or Android 4.0), the best part is that Ice-cream wont have any new hardware requirements. That means it’ll be able to work on older handsets galore! This then is Android’s grand plan to address the issue of platform fragmentation that has been rampant in the OS releases till date. (Read more about Android Platform Fragmentation)
Innovation on the list includes new holographic UI, multitasking UI, launcher, richer widgets, advanced applications, and everything in-between. New components are being added to the Action Bar (the one you see in Honeycomb) that’ll be able to reconfigure themselves to work with whatever space is available to them.
The Android Ice Cream Sandwich is expected to be a step ahead with inbuilt support for 0-click-peer-to-peer Near Field Communications (NFC) sharing along with Augmented Reality facility. The 0-click peer-to-peer NFC sharing allows compatible Android devices to share content (contacts, links, YouTube videos) between the devices by simply placing them in close proximity to each other. No app needs to be run and no buttons need to be clicked – hence the “0-click” moniker.
With 3D being the buzz word today, it is highly expected that the new OS will support it as well. The user interface of the new operating system will be a holographic one, the one which we have seen in movies like Star Trek. Along with that Google plans to do some real hard work with the widgets and has confirmed plans on investing in application framework which in turn will ultimately help the users. This means insulating developers from the differences in all of the different devices Android can be run on, so Google is adding new API to the framework to help all developers out there scale your user interfaces across all the different sized screens and devices toting them.
A new face recognition technology with a 500 frames per second run through will also feature in Ice-cream and will allow better coordination of a video chat/conference session by being able to highlight the speaker over and above the listener. More utilities around this advanced Face-reco app are expected ssooner.
The other “usual suspects”feature round up includes
1. UI inspiration from Honeycomb for Phone form factor.
2. Inherent support for Dual Core processors, built ground up for ARM9 chipsets and other variants.
3. Gaming improvements and optimizations for dual cores.
4. Cloud Music (they hinted that at Google IO 2010)
5. Tight Cloud integration to backup apps, app data, preferences.
And lastly, the Logo for Ice-cream Sandwich is easily the the best amongst all of Android’s OS logos till date, possibly Android Robot included.