Print 46 comment(s) - last by xxeonn.. on Oct 22 at 11:46 AM

Google tries to stay a step ahead of Apple

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Google, Inc. (GOOG) are racing neck and neck when it comes to the smart phone platform war.  Apple's iPhone 4S just launched last Friday, setting sales records.  But Google's Android enjoys a healthy lead over Apple, thanks to its broad lineup of devices from multiple manufacturers.

Yesterday at a long-awaited special event, Google unveiled the Galaxy Nexus smartphone by Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO 005930).  That phone came packing a brand new operating system -- Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich".  

Past Google smartphone operating systems have only been targeted at one kind of device -- e.g Android 2.2 "Frozen Yogurt" target smartphones, as did Android 2.3 "Gingerbread", while Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" targeted tablets.  Unlike its predecessors, Ice Cream Sandwich's goal is ubiquity.  It merges the Honeycomb and Gingerbread code trees, offering a single OS for all Android mobile devices.

Andy Rubin (right) chats with AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg.
Android Chief Andy Rubin introduces Ice Cream Sandwich at All Things D's AsiaD conference.

With the new operating system Google is making several important changes and improvements.

Ice Cream Sandwich includes:
Ice Cream Sandwich Face Unlock
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich [Source: Google]
  • Deeper design minimalism, with physical buttons replaced with on-screen icons.
  • Lock screen notifications.
  • Android Beam, a NFC feature that shares web links or content, when you tap to Ice Cream Sandwich devices together.
  • Redesigned, scrollable multi-tasking screen.
  • App and shortcut group via dragging icons on top of each other.
  • Improved Mail app with ability to create nested subfolders.
  • Improved voice commands via a constantly "on" microphone.
  • Improved Camera app with "zero" shutter lag, and time lapse settings.
  • A new built-in Internet app with up to 16 tabs and syncing with desktop Chrome bookmarks.
  • The option to disable apps
The biggest addition is clearly the home screen facial unlock, but ultimately the fact that the market will now have one operating system for both tablets and smartphones is probably the most important story of Google's new operating system.

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RE: really?
By Suomynona on 10/19/2011 9:31:02 AM , Rating: 2
How did you come to that conclusion? Did you not read the rest of the article?

RE: really?
By kleinma on 10/19/11, Rating: -1
RE: really?
By rburnham on 10/19/2011 11:00:35 AM , Rating: 3
Congratulations on being unable to think for yourself.

RE: really?
By wiz220 on 10/19/2011 11:46:01 AM , Rating: 1
In the immortal words of Dr. House:

RE: really?
By gwidionx on 10/19/2011 1:19:37 PM , Rating: 2
It would be cool if they used a Kinect like technology to do face recognition. Not only optical camera but depth sensor. I'll bet that would be hard to trick.

RE: really?
By fteoath64 on 10/20/2011 2:18:58 AM , Rating: 2
Not really, most phone has a "proximity sensor". It is a matter of calibrating this sensor to handle a max of 6 feet distance and match the face recognition software to lock the focus. eg pair of eyes.

Would be certainly cool. I would like to see gesture recognition in a skype call for vol_Up, Vol_Dn , and video_Off hand gestures.

RE: really?
By Tequilasunriser on 10/19/2011 6:21:20 PM , Rating: 2
Gee, maybe you should read the ICS press release.

A lot more was done than just adding a face unlock lol. Honestly, I feel that the unlock feature is the LEAST important of the updates.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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