Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Highlights (Video)

Now that we’ve had a few days to dig into the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, what a a few of the more notable changes that we’ve found?

Since the first thing you see on your Android-powered phone, let’s talk about changes to the lock-screen in ICS. A carry-over from previous versions are PIN, password, and slide. The slide unlock screen now has a Honeycomb-esque unlock “circle”, on the perimeter are various apps you can launch: to the left is the camera app, to the right is your launcher.

Next up is face-unlock, which is amazing in concept, but doesn’t work all that great in low-light (which I found myself in quite a bit). It would be nice if Google combined pattern and face-unlock so you could use a pattern to unlock right away — rather than waiting for the recognition of your face to fail.

The notification shade is also greatly improved. Swipe-to-dismiss is present and works very, very well. Avatars (profile pictures) are also present in your notifications, bringing much more personality to your notifications.

The app tray is now much smoother, holding apps, widgets, and a shortcut to the Android Market. Adding apps or widgets to the home screen is as simple as long-pressing and dropping. Making new folders on your launcher is as easy as dropping an icon on top of another. It’s equally as easy to name the folder and rearrange its contents. You can even turn your four “persistent” icons at the bottom of the launcher into folders — VERY cool!

Settings has also had a makeover. Commonly used settings are left on the first view, with less frequent settings tucked away, out of view.

Of course there is the new task switcher, the new “person-centric” contact list that incorporates feeds from social networks, and the dialer app, and much more that we didn’t get to in the video.

What’s your favorite new feature in ICS? Let us know in the comments below!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.