30 Awesome new features in Android 4 'Ice Cream Sandwich'

In Hong Kong today, Google and Samsung unveiled Google's new flagship Android device, the Nexus Prime, a 4.65" Super AMOLED-toting, 1.2GHz LTE and HSPA+ smartphone. However nice the hardware of the new device is, it is second to the fact that it is the first device to run Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), the newest build of Android that unifies tablets and smartphones under a single OS for the first time.

"People like Android, they need Android…but they didn't LOVE Android," said Google's Matias Duarte in today's presentation. To remedy this, Google has not only introduced new and practical functions to ICS, but gave it a slicker look, faster responsiveness, and some extremely impressive bells and whistles.

Here are 30 of the most interesting new features:

1. "Roboto," Android's own font

2. Even more live wallpapers

3. Newly-designed lock screen

4. Disappearing homescreen command buttons

5. Tabbed apps/widgets drawer similar to Honeycomb

6. Resizeable homescreen widgets

7. Redesigned foldering capabilities

8. Hardware accelerated 2D drawing

9. Wi-Fi Direct support

10. "Favorites Tray" at the bottom of the screen that travels across the different homescreens

11. Native Screen grab capability (Press Power+Volume Down)

12. Improved notification bar, customizable notifications

13. New Music player notification in tray controls player

14. Improved keyboard

15. Improved typing error correction

16. In-line spell check and suggestion mode

17. Cut/Copy/Paste similar to Honeycomb, but with animated dragging and dropping

18. Speech for text entry has been improved with no delay

19. "Face Unlock" facial recognition for unlock screen (Did not work in demo)

20. New Browser (Includes new tab management feature. "request desktop site" feature, syncs to chrome, save pages for offline reading)

21. New Gmail (New action bar with compose, search, labels, refresh; offline search by default that searches the last 30 days of email)

22. New Calendar with pinch-to-zoom

23. Updated all of the native Google apps: YouTube, Maps, Google+, Google Music

24. Mobile data usage metrics in system controls, allows users to self-limit their mobile data consumption, and track data usage down to individual app level

25. All-new camera app with slider zoom, facial detection, "zero shutter lag" speed, launchable from home screen

26. Photo editing tools in "edit" menu in the camera

27. Native panoramic camera shot, similar to Sony's "Sweep" panorama

28. 1080p video capture, continuous focus, includes the ability to zoom while recording

29. Incredible new Time Lapse photography feature

30. New tile-based "People app" interface for contacts, very similar to Windows Phone

31. "Android Beam" NFC-based content sharing with multiple ICS phones (Web Addresses, contacts, maps, YouTube videos, app sharing)

Developers can get their hands on ICS right now to begin taking advantage of these new features, or to customize their existent apps and widgets to use the new UI components, styles, and of course the new font.

Consumers, however, will have to wait until November to get their hands on ICS, when the Nexus Prime launches worldwide.

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