Editorial

Android 4.0: I love the future; I hate the future.

Android 4.0. It has a nice ring to it, with the major release numbering and all that. It even has a delicious dessert to accompany it as it makes its way onto the market. What’s even more delicious and appetizing are the new features that I saw today at the Google/Samsung event.

Initially I was hesitant about the Honeycomb UI which is the basis of the Ice Cream Sandwich UI, but in this release it seems to all come together. It looks like the Android team designed something, and then actually applied it to all aspects of the operating system rather than just some parts like in previous releases.

 

This fluidity across all aspects of ICS is a major feature that seems like it was overlooked by some at today’s event. When you go into the Gallery, you are greeted by large magazine-style images; go into Contacts and large images greet you again. Receive a call? Oh look there’s a large image of your mate right there. Photos complement text well in this sense, and I believe Google has done it right.

Not only do the images do well, but I really like this approach to a squared interface. It doesn’t rely on just text like Metro, but a seemingly ideal combination of text media and image media. There are colors where colors look great, there are squares where squares fit and there are images to complement the lot. Needless to say, I really like it.

I also get the feeling when looking at Ice Cream Sandwich, and then back at iOS or previous Android, that this OS is futuristic. As you would expect, it reminds me of TRON and all those sci-fi movies involving copious amounts of neon lighting in squared arrays. Aspects of the UI are in 3D and other aspects are not; it just seems somewhat surreal.

 

Of course, as most things that are concept-like and futuristic, it will never fully see the light of day, only small glimpses for those privileged enough. Going on past Android rollouts, it will be a slow, cumbersome process that takes an absolutely eternity to complete; and by eternity I mean it, because some devices will never even see ICS. It’s a real shame too, because of just how nice the OS seems to be right now.

Not only will it take forever, but carriers will insist on bundling their crapfest UIs on top of the interface. I like stock Android, and this release in particular, so I am dreading the day I have to look at a Motoblur Ice Cream Sandwich, or a Touchwiz version, or Sense. Previously UIs like Sense were visually ahead of the stock Android counterparts, but I simply cannot see any manufacturer creating a fluid UI on top of ICS that looks better than what we have right here.

How long will it take for my Galaxy S to see Ice Cream Sandwich? Too long... too long...

Also, Google left me with questions at their ICS event. Is the UI really fluid on the Galaxy Nexus’ hardware? I’ve heard reports that it’s not, and that would be a real shame. Where did the menu button go? I don’t see an onscreen button counterpart, so that will surely cause massive incompatibility. What happened to Android 4.0 for tablets? There was simply no mention or even indication it would happen.

I like ICS as it stands right now, in fact I think it could take my visual preference away from Windows Phone, but I just hate the fact I won’t get to see or use it for some time. Google, I implore you, please learn from Microsoft: stop the skins and do a proper rollout like Mango. Then many more people can enjoy your hard work and efforts making the next impressive Android OS.

Images courtesy of Google and Samsung

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Muhammad Farrukh said,
''I like ICS as it stands right now, in fact I think it could take my visual preference away from Windows Phone, but I just hate the fact I won't get to see or use it for some time. Google, I implore you, please learn from Microsoft: stop the skins and do a proper rollout like Mango. Then many more people can enjoy your hard work and efforts making the next impressive Android OS.''

+1

Pathetic. In general people don't know about Gingerbread or ICS. Those that know can get around that. Google should not learn anything from Microsoft. In face Microsoft should learn from Apple. They are now doing OTA updates (something they learned from the rest of the competition). Microsoft I implore you don't make us update phones by connecting it to a computer. That is just silly.

spudtrooper said,
I think it looks like crap and will suck terribly on any display that isn't 3.8 or 4.3"

so wp7 looks better then? "facepalm"

spudtrooper said,
I think it looks like crap and will suck terribly on any display that isn't 3.8 or 4.3"

you really think that the size of the screen is what will cause it to look different...
Android support around 6 different resolution and it's not in inch but in dpi
2 inch screen can be as good as 4inch as long as the dpi is the same

learn before bitching ... http://developer.android.com/g...ctices/screens_support.html

spudtrooper said,
I think it looks like crap and will suck terribly on any display that isn't 3.8 or 4.3"

You sound like your 12 years old. Back it up. Of course you can't because ICS was created to bridge tablet and phone. Congratulations, you win most useless comment on the thread.

Good day madam.

To each his own, but I don't think it looks futuristic. They may have taken a lot of cues from WP7 Metro, but it still looks 'Linuxy' and plastic.

I'll stick with the authentically digital

I cannot even describe how surreal it is to see Android back where Windows was with worries of Crap UI's to be loaded on top of it, and cracks in UI elegance, and the wild west of an open-ish system, and then to see IPHONE with it's somewhat dated, yet still incredibly relevant system, and then Microsoft, right smack in the middle, lacking market share but full of heart; and this time lots of soul.

since they already ripoff wp7 mango
should we give them wp7 apollo update incase they want to ripoff some features ?

"Is the UI really fluid on the Galaxy Nexus' hardware? I've heard reports that it's not, and that would be a real shame."

Tim, this was worrying me also so I've been scanning around for answers. So far I've seen more reports of the UI being smooth, rather than the single report I read that it was "laggy". See the Engadget hands-on (they confirm it as being nice and smooth).

SuperHans said,
"Is the UI really fluid on the Galaxy Nexus' hardware? I've heard reports that it's not, and that would be a real shame."

Tim, this was worrying me also so I've been scanning around for answers. So far I've seen more reports of the UI being smooth, rather than the single report I read that it was "laggy". See the Engadget hands-on (they confirm it as being nice and smooth).

It is confirmed that ICS UI is smooth as butter. Statements saying that it is laggy is just FUD throwed by iPhone & WP7 fanboys. This ICS comes with hardware acceleration.

digitheatre said,

It is confirmed that ICS UI is smooth as butter. Statements saying that it is laggy is just FUD throwed by iPhone & WP7 fanboys. This ICS comes with hardware acceleration.


Show us video proof.

SuperHans said,
"Is the UI really fluid on the Galaxy Nexus' hardware? I've heard reports that it's not, and that would be a real shame."

Tim, this was worrying me also so I've been scanning around for answers. So far I've seen more reports of the UI being smooth, rather than the single report I read that it was "laggy". See the Engadget hands-on (they confirm it as being nice and smooth).

Well this certainly is good news

smooth3006 said,
im not sold on the UI yet, looks very unpolished for my tastes.

Yea I bet you think the iPhone is "polished" too

onedrummer2401 said,
well what exactly is the rightmost button for then?

Most Recent Apps

From Left to Right
Back, Home, Most Recent Apps

Just like Honeycomb. And before anyone asks. If the app is not optimized a four button appears which is the menu button.

These buttons disappear just like honeycomb when watching movies, pictures, listening to audio, etc.

Where did the menu button go? I don't see an onscreen button counterpart, so that will surely cause massive incompatibility.

Made me LOL. You (Tim) clearly never used a Honeycomb device either. USE ONE BEFORE MAKING SUCH STUPID CLAIMS. IT'S THERE!!!

If it is optimized for HC, it will be in the upper right hand corner. If the app is optimized for ICS, it looks like three vertical dots that can either be on the top right or bottom (above the three buttons). Otherwise if it is not optimized, a fourth button appears on the bottom (hence compatibility still there). Just like in Honeycomb (which you should pick up onetime if you want to learn.

Face Palm moment. I haven't used ICS yet but from the apps I can see it. I just had to open my eyes. Please back away from the review slowly.

Overwhelming evidence:
http://goo.gl/Wjscs
http://goo.gl/Q7ibz
http://goo.gl/I49Ft
http://goo.gl/QB2S8

Also install the SDK and give it a shot if you want to play with it.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

UndergroundWire said,

Made me LOL. You (Tim) clearly never used a Honeycomb device either. USE ONE BEFORE MAKING SUCH STUPID CLAIMS. IT'S THERE!!!

Actually, thanks for clearing that up. I briefly used Honeycomb but not past the included apps.

Also, that was a question I was left with after the event. I never said it was truth of fact, I was generally interesting as to how it would work.

Scorpus said,

Actually, thanks for clearing that up. I briefly used Honeycomb but not past the included apps.

Also, that was a question I was left with after the event. I never said it was truth of fact, I was generally interesting as to how it would work.

The menu button is not something that Google will address. It's been addressed already in Honeycomb. Remember the difference between a Google and Apple event, Google knows its audience is smart while Apple assumes their audience is dumb. That is why you never see specs being thrown around at an Apple event. And why Google will never repeat themselves as if they have nothing to talk about.

When you say "so that will surely cause massive incompatibility.", people on this forum will take it as fact. There's a lot of people on this site whose brains haven't fully developed to read a follow up story and take new stories, evidence into consideration. Examples are, I still see idiots debating that 4G LTE is not real 4G; Why hasn't Google given the source code for Honeycomb? Questions like these make me question the intelligence of the people on this site.
second, to address one of your other concerns, Why would Google mention tablets? WHY? Did we forget that this was a Samsung/Google event. The focus is on The Galaxy Nexus and ICS. That is it. Google has already said two things. 1) ICS will be open sourced. 2) ICS bridges the gap between phone and tablet.

Google does not make tablets. It's up to the manufacturers to upgrade or release ICS to new devices.

Lastly, the so called lag you speak of as hearing from wherever. Make sure it's not morons who played with a virtual device version of ICS. Wait until real benchmarks come out. You can't trust the word of someone who has no idea what they are doing and the word of a Apple/Microsoft fan boy. You are just fueling these ignorant conversations I see going back and fourth. That is not journalism.

Am I the only who thinks that ICS is more like the baby when Android(2.x) had sex with Windows Phone 7? The metro UI and everything.

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