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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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.

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.

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.

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

"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

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

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.

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

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.

''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

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

Dude, stop it, it's verging on pathetic now. Just because you and some random on the internet had problems doesn't mean the rest of us do. I've never had a problem with lag on my HTC Desire.

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


you really don't know what is the Google Experience phone.
that's what you're asking for. Google release every year a new partner for a smartphone which they push the latest update as soon as the code is avalaible.

also called the Nexus ( 1 , S Galaxy) line... every carrier every phone...

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.

techbeck said,

Learn what a troll is. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.


troll.

Edited by Roger H., Oct 19 2011, 9:15pm :

Muhammad Farrukh said,
Too bad, it is still laggy

Not laggy at all. I can't go to a dated OS like iOS or a OS that looks like birthday cake vomit (WP7).

Not trolling, I'm entitled to my opinion.

littleneutrino said,
Just wait for AOSP release and get a Custom rom with it

Its too bad Google never announces a official date for that

htcz said,

Its too bad Google never announces a official date for that

They stated that on the same day they release IceCreamSandwich on the phone they will release the source. which is funny because they have still to this day Never released the source for honeycomb

littleneutrino said,

They stated that on the same day they release IceCreamSandwich on the phone they will release the source. which is funny because they have still to this day Never released the source for honeycomb

According to Matias Duarte, in an interview on thisismynext website the reason why Honeycomb asop/source code was never released is because it was a rushed release they cut a lot of corners etc...

However I think its safe to assume by the looks of it ICS is finished and complete, and we should see the source code in a month or less after Galaxy Nexus is released, which is the same as what they did for previous releases (except honeycomb).

quick said,

According to Matias Duarte, in an interview on thisismynext website the reason why Honeycomb asop/source code was never released is because it was a rushed release they cut a lot of corners etc...

However I think its safe to assume by the looks of it ICS is finished and complete, and we should see the source code in a month or less after Galaxy Nexus is released, which is the same as what they did for previous releases (except honeycomb).

yes that's the reason and also maybe used proprietary code that cannot be released AOSP.
some part of the HC code was released but not much.

that's nice to see that Google will finaly push source on the release day since this is almost the final release of HC

littleneutrino said,

They stated that on the same day they release IceCreamSandwich on the phone they will release the source. which is funny because they have still to this day Never released the source for honeycomb

Hello 6 months ago. Please give it a rest. Do yourself a favor and Google it or use whatever search engine you prefer. The answers you seek are within your fingertips.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound obnoxious but these questions are still coming up and it's a non issue. I refuse to answer just wanted to tell you that you are WRONG. See how part of the code was released and why it wasn't open sourced and why that particular part of the code was released.

I love all the new features.... More organised.... data monitor and folder organizing is one few features i was looking for... finally you can close running app right from the home screen..

SHoTTa35 said,
Hehe, they don't close from there. They are just removed from the recent list.

Dammit... come on Google have that feature added...
Task Killer(bulk close with ignore list) and App lock is one main feature which i believe should be there in Android.

SHoTTa35 said,
Hehe, they don't close from there. They are just removed from the recent list.

This is not true, it does close programs/background processes. This was confirmed by further clarification from Google, by either Engadget.com, or thisismynext.com I forget which one.

quick said,

This is not true, it does close programs/background processes. This was confirmed by further clarification from Google, by either Engadget.com, or thisismynext.com I forget which one.

not really hard to confirm there's an emulator and yes it kill the process.

I use it wit apps that stay stuck in transition between two activity (that happen some times).

I really need it on my XOOM when an app crash I always have the option in the app management but that's not the easiest way...

SHoTTa35 said,
Hehe, they don't close from there. They are just removed from the recent list.

Yes and no. When you learn how android services work, then you see how this app(s) will close. What is happening behind the scene is it goes to the background. A started service can use the startForeground API to put the service in a foreground state, where the system considers it to be something the user is actively aware of and thus not a candidate for killing when low on memory. By default services are background, meaning that if the system needs to kill them to reclaim more memory (such as to display a large page in a web browser), they can be killed without too much harm.

When the app is removed from the recent list, it is putting it to the background where it will be eventually closed. The problem with people is that they think of open apps on Android the way they do on a Windows desktop environment. Android doesn't work that way.

More technical info here: http://developer.android.com/r...ce/android/app/Service.html

htcz said,
If you want it, there is a reason it is open source you know...

True, but there are some folks that don't want to be hackers to get what should be an official update onto their hardware. I doubt my gf's HTC EVO will get an upgrade and it is just a little over a year old...

Shadrack said,

True, but there are some folks that don't want to be hackers to get what should be an official update onto their hardware. I doubt my gf's HTC EVO will get an upgrade and it is just a little over a year old...

HT commited to upgrade all the version at least 18 months after the release if hardware is supported.
In this case 99% of smartphone running Gingerbread will be able to upgrade to ICS

TechDudeGeorge said,
Someone just answer me this, how would you use older apps. Like this, (Disregard the theme, how would you get the on-screen menu up as they removed the menu button)

http://t.co/uJhmWQNs


Most phone makers won't remove a physical botton. And to get that menu there will problably a slide uo motion or simply on screen buttons shows the "4 standard buttons" (Home, Menu, Back and Search)

TechDudeGeorge said,
Someone just answer me this, how would you use older apps. Like this, (Disregard the theme, how would you get the on-screen menu up as they removed the menu button)
http://t.co/uJhmWQNs

That's a good question. Didn't really think about that. I'm sure it's possible for Android to stick a virtual menu key in for apps that need it. That's the good thing about virtual keys, they can be added and removed as necessary.

I think Google is trying to move to action bars rather than hidden menus. There was mention that they wanted to make few things hidden from the user.

TechDudeGeorge said,
Someone just answer me this, how would you use older apps. Like this, (Disregard the theme, how would you get the on-screen menu up as they removed the menu button)
http://t.co/uJhmWQNs

I'm guessing if you run an old app that hasn't been updated ICS would a menu button at the bottom, it's how honeycomb acts and it sure looks like there would be space for another icon down there.

TechDudeGeorge said,
Someone just answer me this, how would you use older apps. Like this, (Disregard the theme, how would you get the on-screen menu up as they removed the menu button)

http://t.co/uJhmWQNs

Has no one used honeycomb??? When an app is open which has any kind of menu, ICS will show a virtual menu button just like the back/home buttons at the bottom...

So when there is a need for a menu button it will show up, when the app has no menu option it won't be there, just like honeycomb.

TechDudeGeorge said,
Someone just answer me this, how would you use older apps. Like this, (Disregard the theme, how would you get the on-screen menu up as they removed the menu button)

http://t.co/uJhmWQNs

come on just try it there's a free emulator and you just need legacy apk to install it..

there's a button added on the action bar for legacy menu.

TechDudeGeorge said,
Someone just answer me this, how would you use older apps. Like this, (Disregard the theme, how would you get the on-screen menu up as they removed the menu button)

http://t.co/uJhmWQNs

Just like in Honeycomb a fourth button appears. Looks like a small grid. That is your menu button. If it were optimized for Honeycomb or ICS, then it would be a simpler look button on the upper right. Don't worry it won't go away entirely.