Google unwraps Ice Cream Sandwich with launch of Galaxy Nexus

19 Oct 2011

Android 4.0 – code-named Ice Cream Sandwich – was unveiled this morning in Hong Kong and will feature nifty new features, such as face unlock, an NFC sharing technology called Beam, Google+ mobile hangouts, live effects in photography, single motion panoramic camera shots and the ability to perform data usage analytics.

The new Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus, which will be the first in the world to feature the new operating system, features a 4.65-inch Contour Display with high-definition (720p) resolution and a lightning-fast dual core 1.2ghz processor combined with 4G LTE or HSPA+ technology.

The Ice Cream Sandwich OS will work on both phones and tablets and features a newly created font that is optimised for HD displays.

The designers have eliminated all hardware buttons in favour of adaptable software buttons and widgets are resizeable.

Google says the desktop-class browser is significantly faster, featuring a refined tab manager and the ability to sync your bookmarks with Google Chrome.

It boasts a new design that lets you quickly swipe through your inbox and search messages even when you’re offline. Calendar boasts a clean new look and you can zoom into your schedule with a pinch.

Galaxy Nexus – the people’s smartphone

People are at the heart of Ice Cream Sandwich,” said Google’s SVP in charge of mobile Andy Rubin.

“We rethought how you browse your contacts with the new People app, which combines high-resolution photos and updates from Google+ and other social services. It’s also easier to capture and share your life with family and friends.

“Galaxy Nexus sports a high-end camera with zero shutter lag, automatic focus, top-notch low-light performance and a simple way to capture panoramic pictures. Shoot amazing photos or 1080p video, and then edit and share them directly from your phone.”

Rubin said the Galaxy Nexus isn’t just a smartphone – it’s beyond smart.

“Ice Cream Sandwich gives you complete control over the amount of mobile data you use by helping you better understand and manage it.

“We’re also introducing Android Beam, which uses near field communication to instantly share webpages, YouTube videos, maps, directions and apps by simply tapping two phones together. Face Unlock uses state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to unlock your phone with nothing more than a smile,” Rubin said.

Here’s a video highlighting some of the features.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years