Google has revealed the details of Android OS 4.0. This includes a new user interface designed to run on a wide range of screen sizes, from a small smartphone’s display to a large tablet. It is debuting on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
The goal of this version is to unite the versions of this operating system. Previously, there was a version of Android for smartphones and another for tablets. The new one, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich, is for both types. Doing so required merging the user interfaces. As a result, Android 4.0-based smartphones are losing the physical buttons from their fronts, just as tablets running this OS lack them.
All of the bundled apps have been improved in some manner. For example, the previous Contacts apps has been replaced with the People app. This includes not just address info and phone numbers but also has updates and images from social networking sites.
The updated version of the web browser will include new features like easily switching to desktop mode and off-line reading.
Google worked quite a bit with the camera, adding features like panorama images and the ability to zoom in while recording video. The updated Gallery app will include image editing and sharing tools.
A new feature will be called “Android Beam”, which will allow users to easily move content from one device to another. One example demonstrated this evening was a sharing a game from one device to another just by putting two smartphones back-to-back and tapping on the screen on the sending model.
Many subscribers to U.S. wireless carriers are having to get used to tiered data plans, not unlimited ones. Android OS 4.0 will include software to help users know how much data they are transferring, what apps are using the most, and even cut off the connection when a certain point is reached.
A Smartphone to Run It On
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is going to be the first device of any type running Android OS 4.0. It will sport a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM.
The device will have a 4.65-inch “HD Super AMOLED” Touchscreen with a resolution of 1280 x 720, and a 16:9 aspect ratio. This will be set in a curved shape that’s 8.9 mm thick, and there will be a relatively small bezel around the display.
Other features revealed this evening include a 1750 mAh battery and NFC. The rear camera will have a 5 megapixel resolution, and will be capable of recording 1080p video.
Galaxy Nexus?will support 4G networks, whether LTE or HSPA+ depending on the carrier offering it. Many of the other specs of this smartphone remain a mystery. That’s because the launch is still some weeks in the future: it will be on store shelves in November in the U.S., Europe and Asia, though Samsung didn’t name any carriers.