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Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream sandwich announced

Posted on 10/20/2011 by A.A.I

Google and Samsung announce the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Andy Rubin and JK Shin introduce the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

So last night Google and Samsung came together to announce the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich.  Right off the bat let me say this device delivers on the standard of the Nexus line.  It's sleek, smart and a powerhouse.  First up was hardware talk. And rather than rehash that I'll just give you the device specs.  

Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Pure Google Experience(stock android)
4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display with 720p resolution
Thinner bexel 4.29mm
1.2GHz dual-core processor
32GB Internal memory
LTE and HSPA+ connectivity

Hyper-skin backing - slip resistance
5MP rear camera, 1080P video recording, 1MP front facing camera

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

New ICS Features: 
Resizable widgets
Android Beam - NFC
Wi-Fi Direct
Face Unlock
Robto type face
People app with Google+ integration
improved web browser
improved  cut, copy and paste
improved notifications
Live text-to-speech
Inline Spell Check
Data Usage Monitor
Device Encryption
App Disabling

Google clearly wanted to pay more attention to design and beauty with the new version of android something that has been somewhat lacking in previous releases. Part of that initiative was showcase with Roboto. A new type face created specifically just for Android 4.0. "Built from scratch for high definition paper density displays." It seems like such a small thing but I'm willing to bet it will be surprising improvement once users get their hands on Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Nexus Galaxy has no hardware navigation buttons. And with good reason. Ice Cream Sandwich was designed with on-screen navigation buttons.  "Virtual buttons are more usable. Individual buttons hide when they don't do anything and they rotate so the icons are properly aligned."  Honeycomb users will be used to this concept as it was introduced to users in 3.0. Also arriving in in Ice Cream Sandwich improved and re-sizable widgets and a unified app and widget launcher. 

Android users have long requested the ability to take screenshots on android. And will be delighted to find that Screenshots are finally native to the OS! Pressing Volume Down + Power will active this functionality.

Notifications have been updated in Ice Cream Sandwich as well.  Adding not just additional functionality but the ability to "flick" and remove individual notifications without having to leave the notification screen. As well as a functional music player notification so you can control music playback from anywhere.

A new feature introduced last night is Face Unlock.  Using facial recognition your phone will recognize you and then unlock giving you access.  This feature failed to work on stage during the live demo but several reported that it worked backstage during the hands on. A cool feature but going by what we saw even it would be faster to use a pin or or lock pattern. 

The Ice Cream Sandwich browser has gotten an update as well. Bringing bookmark sync (chrome), simple user agent switching (desktop mode), incognito mode and offline mode; which allows you to save entire pages for view offline. 

Gmail like all the other "core apps" have had a bit of an upgrade. It features the "action bar" along the bottom of the app which will show up in many other apps. The UI design is very much like that of gmail on Honeycomb. Giving you a preview of the emails content without having to open each email. Offline search a highly requested feature has also made it's way into this release. 

Data Usage Monitoring is something that is becoming more and more important as carriers make the move from truly unlimited plans. And 4.0 puts this in the hands of the user with it's new Data Usage app. Not just tracking data usage but allowing for reminders and alerts. As well as directly showing you what apps are using the most data.

"With Ice Cream Sandwich it's never been easier or faster to capture the action and share it in a matter of seconds"  Starting right at the lock screen users can access the camera for quick snaps.  Once in camera it gets even better as the new camera in Ice Cream Sandwich has zero shutter lag. During the demo they were able to fire off multiple shots in seconds.  The camera detects faces and automatically focuses on them. Additonally Ice Cream Sandwich is photo editing and filters built right in tot he camera.   And last but not least Panorama mode makes it's way into the new software.  On the video side of things the camera also for 1080p resolution recording as well as time lapse and video snapshots.

In Ice Cream Sandwich the contacts app has been redesigned as is now the People App. Swiping to the right on within the app takes you to all your most recent contacts.Taping a contact takes into that persons 'card' where you find all your connections with that person as well as their recent updates  aggregated into the app.

The phone app has had an upgrade as well. Voicemail can now be viewed right in line with missed calls.  And when receiving a call at a time that you can answer the phone quick response lets you reply via text to the incoming call rather than simply declining. The responses can be customized by you for your indvidual needs.  

New in Ice Cream Sandwich is a Android Beam a simple and secure way to share anything your doing and any content on your device with someone else.  Simple touh devices with Android Beam capability together and your ready to share. Many long time users will remember a similar market app by the name of Bump but it's nice to see this added to the OS. It works with photos, apps, maps, and even sets up multi-player games and more. 

So there you have it. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich. All we need to know now is when and where. As carriers and a exact launch date were not given. The live event is available on youtube if you wan to take a look yourself.

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