Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Galaxy Nexus Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich


Google and Samsung just announced the Google Galaxy Nexus (Nexus Prime was more kickass) running on Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich. The Galaxy Nexus runs on 1.2 Ghz dual core processor and has a 1GB of RAM. The phone is still packing a Super AMOLED display bumped at 4.65” with a 1280 x 720 resolution. There is also an option of either 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage. The 5 megapixel camera of the Nexus S remains on the Galaxy Nexus (which is a little disappointing)

Some notable features of the Galaxy Nexus are:

  1. Face Unlock – The phone can unlock itself using facial recognition. no more typing passcodes.
  2. Android Beam – An NFC-powered  tap-to-share feature to send contacts, websites, apps, maps and links to other NFC-enable android phones.
  3. Voice Typing – Voice recognition for text input on emails and SMS.
  4. Improved Camera – Panoramic photo, 1080p videos at 30fps, edit and share.
  5. New UI – New refreshed UI for Android 4.0 and lots of new features.

Matias Duarte, the UI guru of Android (also WebOS) clearly moved Android away from being the Apple iPhone wannabe and look-alike. It’s more like an iOS mixed with a little Windows Phone. Good-old icons intertwined with a whole new digital UI. His work with WebOS seems to crop up on some parts of the UI. The new circular lock screen is similar to WebOS’s lock screen. The side-swiping on the task manager is reminiscent of the swipe-to-close gesture on WebOS cards.

“There’s this thing that’s happening right now in user interface design that I find kind of shackling. The faux wood paneling trend, and the airport lavatory signage trend.” He laughs when he says this and pulls up a slide on his computer, a split screen of an Atari 2600 and… airport lavatory signage. It’s an obvious dig at both Apple and Microsoft.

- Matias Duarte via This is my Next

It’s pretty obvious that some new features of the new Google flagship phone were inspired by iOS and Windows Phone. Features like the People App which integrates your contacts and social connections similar to the People Hub of Windows Phones. Side swiping as seen on the current Android Marketplace and Music are very similar with the way side swiping works for Windows Phones. Camera Panorama and Instant Upload are reminiscent of Skydrive’s Instant Upload.

Beside the disappointing camera. I think this is a solid upgrade from the Nexus S that I’m using on a daily basis. I’m just thinking, with all these hard work on Android Ice Cream Sandwich UI, what will it look like when operators and manufacturers slap their own skins and customizations? That’s the problem of Android. Fragmentation. The best bet for now would be getting the untainted, vanilla flavor, Galaxy Nexus.

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