That was a fun hour! Live-tweeting the Ice Cream Sandwich live stream, thanks to good ol’ YouTube!
Overall, there is a LOT more polish, everything works incredibly speedily, and the native UI looks and feels better in a million different ways. Stop putting your stupid skins over it, manufacturers; you can’t improve on this.
The Galaxy Nexus looks quite Nexus S-like. 4.65 inch super AMOLED WTFBBQ gorgeous screen, 1280×720 native resolution, 4G / LTE capable, and 3 virtual, on-screen (anchored at the bottom) buttons replacing the physical hardware ones.
Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0)
- Left and right swipe gestures across the OS acting as a discard mechanism
- Notifications looking better, accessible from the lock-screen, and individual ones removed via said gesture above
- Facial recognition unlock. Failed in the demo, and seems like novelty value to be honest. Could lead to a phone potentially being called racist!
- Browser gets a huge upgrade, and is officially Chrome now. Integration with your desktop Chrome browser, offline reading, and up to 16 tabs
- Gmail for Android was always impressive, but it’s looking even better. Offline search for the previous 30 days is a nice bonus
- The calendar gets a UI bump
- Native Google app widgets are resizable, and much more functional (especially Gmail)
- Crazy granular app data usage management within Settings, basically waving Onavo goodbye
- Super-fast photo capture via the improved camera, panorama mode, time lapse video support
- In-gallery photo editor with corrections and filters
- Sharing between apps was always deeply integrated with Intents, but is looking smoother
- The ‘People’ app looks like its borrowed from Windows Phone 7, and is an evolution of Contacts combined with a social stream that pulls in from a variety of sources
- Visual voicemail integrated nicely into the Phone app
- Android Beam. Simple NFC-based sharing of basically anything. Tap the phones together, tap the screen (whether you’re in an app or viewing a link in a browser or a photo) and boom, it’s done
- Voice typing. Forgot about the insta-dictation voice-to-text input.
- Deep Google+ integration
- Oh, and SCREENSHOTS. Natively. Finally. /facepalm
I’ll say it again. It’s a huge step up visually and functionally from Gingerbread, and I can’t wait to explore all the intricacies of the UI and the OS.
Only question I have is… WHEN CAN I GET IT IN AUSTRALIA?
Here’s the official Galaxy Nexus page for a rundown of the Ice Cream Sandwich features by Google.
Other edits made to the original post.