From the very beginning, one of the greatest fears of Android users and developers alike was the inevitable fragmentation that comes with supporting so many different devices. While Android's market share increased, the situation continued to deteriorate. With the release of Android 4.0, the platform has been given a facelift and is now easier to use than ever. Here are 7 of the most useful and versatile new features of Ice Cream Sandwich.
1. Chrome Mobile Web Browser
One improvement which regular users will notice immediately is Android 4.0's advanced default web browser. Quicker and far more responsive than practically any other stock browser on the market, it's like a mobile version of Chrome that's stripped down for convenient usage on a smart phone or tablet. Featuring support for up to 16 separate tabs, offline access and more, it's mobile surfing done right.
2. Resizable Widgets
Another obvious upgrade that users will be quick to notice and take advantage of is Ice Cream Sandwich's resizable home screen widgets. Much like the Live Tiles feature of Windows Phone 7, ICS' resizable widgets can embed live data and content into the home screen. That means you can see email and chat messages arriving in real time, check your calendar and more without having to leave the main display area.
3. Data Usage Management
It'd be nice if the major mobile carriers offered unlimited data plans. The harsh reality is that we all have to operate within strict data limitations for the time being or end up paying the consequences via outrageous overage charges. Android 4.0's data usage manager allows you to configure warnings that will let you know when you're approaching a limit and monitor data usage in real time.
4. Face Unlock
Yet another cool feature of Ice Cream Sandwich is the screen unlock options. In particular, Android 4.0 allows for face detection unlocking using the front-facing camera. When you boot up and log into your system for the first time, you can snap a quick pic of your grinning mug and use it to unlock the home screen. Alternatively, users can enter a simple pin number or utilize custom patterns for unlocking purposes.
5. Dictation By Default
While there are many popular third-party applications for converting speech to text like Dragon Dictation, the built-in dictation features of Android 4.0 ought to be enough for most users. With Android 4.0 ICS, you can speak naturally into your phone and then edit or format your converted text later. The dictation feature of ICS even identifies typos in the converted text and allows you to select the word you want from a dictionary database.
6. Android Beam
This near-field communications (NFC) feature based on NDEF Push technology is a way for similar Android devices to wirelessly share resources like media, web pages and contacts. Users simply tap their phones together and data is instantly transferred from one handset to the other. Android Beam is supported by a slew of applications, including multi-player games, chat programs and more.
7. The Camera App
The latest version of Android's built-in Camera app shows marked improvement over previous iterations found in either Honeycomb or Gingerbread. It features powerful and intuitive controls, a time lapse shooting mode and a simplified UI. Users can even take still photos while recording video simply by tapping the screen in the middle of a home movie shoot.
While there was never really any doubt about Android's long-term future, the fragmentation issue discussed earlier has always been troubling. Fortunately, Google has managed to nip that problem in the bud with Ice Cream Sandwich. Thanks to the aforementioned features and many, many others, Android 4.0 will prove to be a popular platform for years to come.
Mary Ann Smith is a web designer and SEO specialist who has over 15 years of experience in the SEO industry. She has consulted for many large companies such as Lenovo, Hewlett Packard, Blockbuster and others. She currently is reporting and writing on Att uverse coupon code .