Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Features Deliver 10 Reasons to Upgrade

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-11-21

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Features Deliver 10 Reasons to Upgrade

Android is a dominant force in the mobile market. The operating system, which is developed by Google, has proved to be extremely popular among consumers and has shown quite clearly that it's not nearly as difficult to beat iOS as some think. Quite the contrary, Android has taken a firm grasp of the mobile world, and by the look of things, that won't change at any point in the coming months and years.

Now, Google has Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to carry the torch. The operating system, which will be available on the Galaxy Nexus first and then other handsets in the future, is widely considered to be the best Android version so far, according to folks who have tried out the operating system. As long as consumers like it, the platform might just be the version to ensure Android's dominance going forward.

But what does all that mean for consumers? Ice Cream Sandwich is the Android version to move to. The time has come to ditch all past Android versions and maybe even iOS 5 in favor of Android 4.0.

Read on to find out why:

1. An improved design means something

The first thing consumers will notice about Android 4.0 is how drastically different its design is from the Android versions that came before it. Google has decided that it's not simply going to provide iterative updates to its platform. Instead, it wants to continue to push the envelope. It's starting with a design that makes using the operating system much easier, according to reviewers.

2. The Galaxy Nexus is a winner

Those who might want to bet big on Android 4.0 should consider that the operating system is available first on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. That device, by all measures, is the best answer to the iPhone yet. It comes with a 4.65-inch display, 16GB of onboard storage, dual cameras and a design that the average consumer will like. What better way to bet big on Android 4.0 than by getting a smartphone that's actually worth buying?

3. Android Beam is the future

One of the biggest achievements in Ice Cream Sandwich is Android Beam. That feature, which requires near-field communication (NFC)-equipped smartphones to work, allows users to share content wirelessly from one Android device to another. To make the feature work, users must touch two phones together and then tap to send the content. It works with apps, music, videos and much more. It's a welcome addition to Android.

4. Face Unlock is not necessary, but telling

Ice Cream Sandwich comes with a unique feature, called Face Unlock, that allows users to unlock their smartphone with a scan of their face. Is it necessary? Absolutely not. But it does show that Google is willing to think outside the box and bring some of the latest innovations to the software. Ice Cream Sandwich is designed to put pressure on iOS. It appears to have the features to do that quite well.

Android 4.0 Could Solve Fragmentation Problem


5. The future is social

Google has finally acknowledged that being social is the future. With a new People app, Ice Cream Sandwich lets users see basic contact information, like phone numbers and email addresses, as well as status updates and other information on social networks. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 was really the first platform to acknowledge the importance of integrating social features into mobile operating systems, but Google is the company to take it to another level.

6. Google has already bet big on it

Why shouldn't consumers bet big on an operating system that its creator has already bet big on itself? Make no mistake, Ice Cream Sandwich is a major risk for Google. It's such a departure from previous versions that some current Android customers might be surprised by what they find. Those who are used to iOS will feel lost at first with Ice Cream Sandwich. But Google has faith in the operating system-and consumers should too.

7. Camera improvements

Over the last several years, an increasing number of consumers are turning to their smartphone to snap photos. For the most part, in the mobile space, the iOS camera application has proved best at helping to take those shots. But in Ice Cream Sandwich, a host of camera improvements have arrived, including built-in "panorama" support and a series of "effects" that let users modify pictures however they see fit. There's also a full suite of image-editing tools built into the operating system. All that has made Ice Cream Sandwich's camera support much better than that found in previous Android versions.

8. Google is taking more control

When taken as a whole, it appears Google is trying to take more control over Android with Ice Cream Sandwich. In the past, the company has simply provided a bare bones framework for smartphone vendors to play with. But now, Google is providing a more well-rounded and feature-packed operating system, seeming to indicate that it wants the Android ecosystem to become more uniform. Will it work? It's possible.

9. It'll play a key role in future phones

As mentioned, Ice Cream Sandwich is available first on the Galaxy Nexus. But like previous versions of Google's mobile operating system, it's coming to a host of smartphones in the coming months. That's important. If the Galaxy Nexus falls short for some customers, it doesn't mean that Ice Cream Sandwich is dead. With many more phones to choose from, consumers can pick which device they want to run the operating system on.

10. Google is working on fragmentation

The biggest issue in the Android ecosystem has always been its fragmentation. There are simply too many different Android versions-on both tablets and smartphones-for consumers and developers to sift through. With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google is making its most concerted effort yet to change that. More importantly, the company is trying to make Ice Cream Sandwich look more tabletlike in its presentation to give consumers a more uniform experience. It's a smart move. It could dramatically help Android in the future.

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