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 Sazabi19 on 10/19/2011 9:34:23 AM , Rating: 5
It will be the biggest update on iOS 6 and everyone will think it's magic and inovative, I mean seriously, now you can talk to your iPhone and it will talk back, think of what will happen when it can see you and recognize you too!? iTards won't even need boyfriends/girlfriends now!

RE: really?
By Capt Caveman on 10/19/11, Rating: -1
RE: really?
By invidious on 10/19/2011 11:09:13 AM , Rating: 5
First of all IOS is a horrendous OS for a tablet. It limits the iPad to being nothing more than an oversized iPod Touch. Honeycomb's OS capabilities are years ahead of of the iPad's.

Second, no one is saying Android is pioneering anything by combining the OS of multiple platforms. Good job jumping on the defensive about it though.

RE: really?
By Mitch101 on 10/19/11, Rating: 0
RE: really?
By bug77 on 10/19/2011 1:44:15 PM , Rating: 2
Afaik, ICS and later will have the requirement for at least 18 months of mandatory updates. Still not ideal, but much better than the status quo.

RE: really?
By gwidionx on 10/19/2011 1:21:55 PM , Rating: 2
I'm SO glad to see the quick app closing via the multitasking slider. Its starting to get more WebOS, which is a good thing. iOS could use better multitasking controls.

RE: really?
By B3an on 10/19/2011 11:08:59 AM , Rating: 4
while Apple has had that since the beginning

When the iPad came out the iPhone and iPad didn't use the same iOS version until later, you silly little iTard.

RE: really?
By Tony Swash on 10/19/11, Rating: 0
RE: really?
By web2dot0 on 10/19/2011 6:16:25 PM , Rating: 2
What's wrong with Siri technology? It's a step towards the right direction. You can't build Rome in a day buddy. It'll take many iterations and refinements before it achieves the "holy grail", but in the meantime, I think the technology is usable.

If you don't like the technology, you don't have to use it. That's why it's called a "feature".

I don't understand why you think everyone using Apple products are iTards. Without iPad, Google wouldn't be working so hard to trying to catch up. It's a good thing for the industry because competition spears innovation.

If Android is so great and bleeding edge, where were they before iPad/iPhone first came out? Everyone thought iPad and iPhone are duds when it first came out. Too expensive, too x,y,z .... but who got the last laugh? Someone is laughing all the way to the bank, and it's not you.

Give Apple the credit they deserved.

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