October 19, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Ice Cream Sandwich should have melted by now. It should have been kept locked away in a freezer until ready for consumption, but months worth of leaks, speculations, and the anxious demands of users prevented any chance of that happening.But by now, you’ve surely seen our detailed list of the new features available or at least watched the full presentation for yourself.
So now we can ask: did Ice Cream Sandwich live up to hype or fade away when finally put under the bright lights?
That’s the question that we asked each other following Google’s presentation of ICS and the new Galaxy Nexus, the first phone to run Android 4.0, concluded. After looking at the long list of new features added and seeing how the user interface has changed, we jotted down a few of our thoughts. Read what we think and then let us know your opinion in the poll and comments section below. Did Ice Cream Sandwich meet your expectations?
Last night, Google took one big step forward in quieting those concerned about fragmentation in the future. Google and Samsung’s announcement didn’t pack the undeniable “wow-factor” everyone was expecting, but it did address some huge gaping holes in its user interface.
After watching Ice Cream Sandwich demoed, I feel the search giant made its latest OS more user-friendly. I know, ICS looks like Honeycomb ported to a phone, with copied overlays from its partners HTC Sense and Samsung TouchWiz, but are these the features we’ve always wanted from Google? I’d like to think so.
The enhancements that impressed me the most: The lock screen, better notifications, swiping feature that does away with unimportant apps or messages, people’s app which caters to its totally redone contacts section, visual voice mail in the call log, screen shots without rooting your damn phone (finally), better camera app with some speed, facial recognizer for security of your phone, Google Beam which shares info via NFC and many more things I’m not going to sit here and list.
In closing, Ice Cream Sandwich is filled with things people have complained of not having for years. The OS doesn’t exactly set the world on fire, but the new look is more beautiful and intuitive. Honestly, it makes Gingerbread look really outdated and boring — so overall, I’d say something good was accomplished with ICS.
Loved seeing: NFC, screenshots, and UI changes
Still waiting on: It’s tough to say because they addressed most of my previous complaints, but better Voice Actions would be nice to have.
Like Angry Hitler, “I wanted magic!” and, unlike Apple, Google delivered. Also unlike Apple fans, I can keep my reality in check. Ice Cream Sandwich is exactly what I wanted plus more. It’s the awesome Honeycomb UI with quick multi-tasking, additional and user-friendly settings, and, holy mother of god, it stole something from every single replacement launcher and overlay possible (great artists steal, remember).
While there isn’t one feature that completely overshadows every other Ice Cream Sandwich, like Apple tried to do with Siri, Ice Cream Sandwich is an amalgamation of enhancements which put me in awe of Google. Face-unlocking is cool and useful, Google+ Hangouts and Messenger are finally going to let us rid ourselves of carriers’ text messaging plans, and the one feature I did know I wanted, a better camera with panorama mode, Google made above my expectations.
We all knew most of the features Google was putting into Ice Cream Sandwich. We knew about the task switcher and on-screen buttons; we knew there would be enhancements to the keyboard, to the browser, and to the interface in general; what we didn’t know, what we all secretly wanted, was buttery smoothness, and an OS “that just works.” This is the OMGZ feature we’ve been waiting on, not a cutesy gimmick that we’ll never use.
Ice Cream Sandwich feels like a complete redesign. Google has defragmented Android into a refined OS. Now, Android isn’t just a mixture of good features shoved into an operating system; Ice Cream Sandwich is the new foundation that mixes, combines, and creates features which will work in concert so flawlessly, you might accomplish your daily tasks without stopping to thank Google for making such a complete and fluid system.
Things I can no longer live without: Face-unlocking, swiping away notifications and apps, panoramic camera, and native screenshots.
Things I want in Jelly Bean: Native theme chooser and a personal genie
Android relies on the greatness of apps and tweaks to be the best possible phone. With Ice Cream Sandwich, I think Google has gotten closer to doing that natively. Ice CS is basically Honeycomb-on-a-phone that includes the best influences of overlays like Sense and Touchwiz. It also borrowed for its lock screen and home screen launchers, and that loan looks to have paid off.
I also love the new camera app. Ever missed a precious moment because the camera app took too long to focus? You’ll love the lightning-quick shutter speed and new controls. Press a button and the photo is taken almost instantly. Then you can edit, apply filters, or share it online without ever needing to touch a computer. (And we can finally do screenshots without having to root our devices!)
Ice Cream Sandwich didn’t live up to the hype, but that’s only because people expected too much. They wanted an entire wish list of new and amazing features, but what we got was a “These are the things we should fixed already” update. That’s fine with me. Google didn’t blow us away with one “Oh, my god!” feature, but it gave us a lot of “That’s cool” enhancements. ICS doesn’t have all that I hoped for, but it has more than enough to make me buy a Galaxy Prime.
Loved seeing: Better lock screen, People/Contacts app redone, built-in spell check in keyboard
Still waiting on: Built-in wireless sync between computers and phones, more integration between Android phones, tablets, and Google TV.