Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Features Deliver 10 Reasons to Upgrade

News Analysis: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is the next step for the mobile operating system. It looks to be the best version yet, and the features will give smartphone buyers lots of reasons to upgrade to this new version.

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 thatthe 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.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...