Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Google Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich !

Google and Samsung unveiled their much anticipated handset - the Galaxy Nexus (Nexus Prime) running the latest edition of the Android OS - the Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). The horde of new features rumored to be on the new version of the OS, kept everyone excited even though the pictures and video of the phone running the latest OS was leaked sometime back. So now since it is official and everyone is talking about it, shall we look into what it is all about ? Lets start with the phone first (the least exciting of the two; the phone looked kind of boring after seeing the  Motorola Droid RAZR):

Galaxy Nexus:
Firs things first, the display (well it is Samsung, so the display should be exciting even if the rest of it isn't) is 1280x720, Super AMOLED Plus (whoa ! HD). The 4.65-inch screen has a gentle curve (a bit like the Nexus S), and no physical buttons in front (finally those are gone, thank you). The next thing, an NFC (Near Field Communication) radio is built into the phone, which will let you do all sort of cool things like paying with the phone (in places where there is NFC payment facility), communicate with other NFC phones (called Android Beam, will let you send contacts between two phones, just by touching it with the other phone. You'can also 'beam' locations on your map, share webpages, launch multi-player gaming sessions etc).

The camera is bit of a let down, since it is just 5 MP compared to the iPhone and the other new phones sporting 8 MP sensors (but it lets you shoot in 1080p). Here is the rest of  the spec:
Galaxy Nexus Features:
Processor: 1.2GHz dual-core processor
Display: 4.65-inch 1280 x 720 HD Super AMOLED
OS: Android Ice Cream sandwich (Android 4.0)
Cameras: Rear: 5-megapixel, Front: 1.3-megapixel
Video: Playback and recording at 1080p (30fps, MPEG-4/h.263/h.264)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0, USB, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, NFC
Sensors: Accelerometer, compass, gyro, light, proximity, barometer
Memory: 1GB ram + 16/32GB storage
Battery: 1750mah standard battery
Size: 135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94; 135g
Network HSPA+ 21 850/900/1900/1700/2100; EDGE/GPRS (LTE).
Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0):
Now lets get into the really exciting stuff, the yummy Ice Cream Sandwich. What is new ? Google has revamped the look and feel of the OS (Oh boy ! it looks prettier than anything I have ever seen), with an all  new type face thown in (the new native font is called Roboto) and a native resolution of 1280 x 720, it looks stunning. Almost all stock apps have undergone some kind of change or the other and there is now a face unlock option, which uses facial recognition to unlock the phone (you can always use the swipe method, say in low light when the camera won't have enough light to register your face).

Google has also changed the contacts app, which is now called 'people' (hmm..just like WP7 Mango, and it even pulls info from various sources like email, twitter, facebook, google plus.....just like the Mango). Bookmarks created on the browser can be synced with the Chrome web browser, run up-to 16 tabs simultaneously (hmm..that is a lot) and  save a page for offline reading (at last, thanks Google). The native camera app lets you snap pictures while recording a video, and comes with everything from scaling/cropping to basic photo filters.

You can now uninstall any app, even the native ones (oh yeah !). Closing apps has never been this easier (just enter the multitasking interface and wipe it off, that kills the app..smooth). I love every bit if the Ice Cream Sandwich, and the best part ? the in-built data monitoring app, lets you control the amount of date usage allowed for each app, and even alerts you if you cross your monthly data cap. Also added is the ability to scale the widgets on home screen.

The lock screen also has undergone the knife, and now you can do a lot more than swipe to unlock. You can control your music, manage notifications (wait...., isn't this supposed to be a 'lock' screen ? o.O).  A new "Explore-by-touch" mode lets users navigate without having to see the screen by giving audible feedback to users (aimed at visually challenged people) and even reads webpages to them. Also voice recognition has been improved and mic icon is now on the keyboard to dictate text.

There are still plenty of new features and improvements in ICS, but these are the best of the lot. The great news is that the ICS combines the best of the 2.x and 3.x, replacing both in the up coming devices. The Motorola Xoom 2 may get the ICS first among the 'pads' and ICS may find it way to the Droid RAZR announced yesterday in Q1 of 2012. Big day for Google and Samsung and they didn't disappoint anyone, I'm sure Apple will feel the heat and certainly come up with some new 'patent' games soon. This month is certainly intense, and the next big thing will be Nokias WP7 launch. (I hope they won't disappoint too)

And don't forget to watch this awesome video from Google,


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