Since we’ve already shown you most of what’s new in the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android that ships with the GSM version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, this video is going to show you a couple things that Verizon has added and then we’ll go through some of the things that I personally really like, as well as a few things that might be confusing or frustrating for some people.
I really like the on-screen back, home, and recent tasks buttons that have replaced Android’s usual hardware navigation buttons. It’s reminiscent of the old Windows Mobile which was completely usable using only the touch screen. Unfortunately, Google didn’t put a whole lot of thought into this new user interface design since there are still instances where the navigation buttons just don’t do anything. Then there’s the menu button. Many of the bundled apps now include a vertical ellipses icon that represents the menu. Sometimes this menu button appears in the lower right corner next to the recent applications button, and I think that’s a great place for it. However, many times the menu button will relocate to completely different and inconsistent locations depending on which app you’re in (leaving the lower right corner spot empty). This oversight makes Android Ice Cream Sandwich feel like there’s no cohesive design plan for the user interface.
I didn’t have much luck with 3rd party apps either. The main one that I would want to use on a smartphone is the Facebook app, and Google has decided to block the Facebook app from integrating with the contacts app. There isn’t even any message explaining this to the user. It just doesn’t work. Then there’s the issue where if I would forget to manually quit Facebook, the phone’s battery will die in about 4 hours. There wasn’t any warning about this rapid battery eating either, so if you’ve got a Galaxy Nexus, be sure to keep a frequent eye on the task manager and battery usage graphs.