Ice Cream Sandwich

Google has officially announced version Android 4.0, a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich.  It's packed full of new features and has a new look, and unifies the Android experience between tablets and smartphones.  Matias Duarte took the stage to go over all the highlights, which include great features like a buttonless design, new gesture controls, and stacked and resizable widgets.

He also made sure we know that Google set out to give Android a "soul" -- make it fit you, and help people love it even more.  "Android is enchanting.  Something beautiful, seductive, and something you can easily fall in love with."  With a new "mechanical skeleton" including a font named Roboto, based on TV motion graphics, web design, and print, it brings a new way to do things with simple typographic layouts and bold spaces.  It looks amazing, with new and rich subtle animations, and an all new launcher design that has easy customization features and the running applications preview we're used to from Honeycomb.  Notifications can now be dismissed, and the new music player notification allows you to control the music player without leaving any app.  The keyboard has been improved, becoming more accurate and has an all new look and feel. Voice input has been updated, and it's now almost instant.  Something many have been waiting for, screen capture, is now built in so apps that need root no longer has the ability to do it through software.   And while the demo for facial recognition unlocking didn't go exactly as planned, that's coming as well and we'll all have a lot of fun with it.

We're itching to have a look for ourselves, but that will have to wait just a little while longer.  For now, we can all discuss and enjoy what we know is coming.


Reader comments

Google officially announces Ice Cream Sandwich


What makes you say that? I guess we'll have to go through all of this again, just like last year listening to some of the N1 owners saying they wouldn't get Gingerbread.

They kept on repeating how the OS goes hand in hand with the hardware, and that hardware doesnt match the Nexus S.. So idk I doubt it, But i do NOT doubt there wont be custom ROMS

so now ice cream comes with the home, menu and back key on the lcd instead of using capacitive buttons? am i right about this or was that just a feature on the new nexus phone only? if it's part of the OS now i assume future phones will no longer have those capacitive buttons? i can see this being a challenge for our devs who try to port it to the evo and such.

i dunno about you guys but the UI seems very unfinished to me, especially in the camera app.

Actually, there's a home, back, and a task switcher button now. Guess they got rid of the menu button but now I'm wondering how you will be able to get to setting on a couple of apps? Hopefully the devs find a way :)

Try a honeycomb tablet to get your answer

(pre-HC apps have an extra menu button that appear at the bottom; HC apps have a menu option on the "actionbar" that you saw featured in the new gmail app)

When they were talking about the new virtual buttons, they said that it was better because buttons could move out of the way when not needed (I’m paraphrasing). If that’s the case I would assume that, if needed, they could also add a menu button, so if an app needs menu options, the developer can add that to their app to pop up a menu button when the app is launched.

@ markus – I don’t think that it will be a problem with porting this over to phones that use the capacitive buttons. I’m sure there’s backwards compatibility that is in the code that will allow a developer to specify virtual or capacitive buttons.

Im sure its just like honeycomb. When youre in an app and have setting options the menu button will appear. Its probably in the notification bar on the homescreen

id like to know what devices are getting it, like the nexus s, evo3d and the gs2 models. read what i typed above, this may have to do with the current capacitive buttons on phones.

of course this may solve the fragmentation they currently have too.

Ice cream sandwich looks awesome. I really love it. My upgrade is not until 2012 but I can't wait to utilize this on the new beasts coming in the horizon.

I hear the sound of a million non-Android devices being returned. Android Beam is pretty amazing and shows the possibilities of NFC.

Ok. After watching the presentation I can say that is seriously awesome. This is my next phone hands down. The software just blows everything else out of the water. Well played Google.

When it gets here I'm afraid. Expect a few months at least. Please, don't be like some of the N1 owners from last year..... :)

Yeah that's probably why Google partnered with Samsung again. I noticed after using my friends Galaxy S II that Touchwiz was leaps and bounds more functional than Sense or even vanilla Android. It's about time they adopted some of them.

ICS is very nice packed with so many features Anand is still learning some of them as he demonstrated ICS.My only question is there was nothing said about ICS and tablets.Is my xoom getting ICS??

Just saw theanniuncement on youtube. All Ican say is wow. Bad moltherf--. Kind of disappointed that the face unlock feature didn't work during the presentation. But looking for an HTC ICS device soon.Might just go get the samsung version. we'll see.

I just hope it comes to GS2. The native HD resolution comments worry be that this is the OS for FUTURE devices, not old ones, even as beefy as the ASUS Transformer or Galaxy S II which is pretty much the guts of the Galaxy Nexus other than the screen.

Well looks like phil is going to eat his words from the podcast.. anyone else remember him saying he highly doubted ics would have a facial reconigntion software for unlocking the phone... well welcome to the future.

Seemed pretty sweet. Glad they didn't pull some sort of Siri gimmick thing to compete with Apples whole thing. Then again I missed the beginning... ...They didn't did they?

Very excited to get a Nexus with ICS now.

I agree - the instant texting is amazing.Will be good for dictating, safe driving (been able to text through bluetooth headset)

I agree. I truly appreciate Google for actually going back and drilling down to the core and making things better for power users. They focused mainly on refinement first. Leave the gimmicky crap to other phones.

I do believe I would go back to a Samsung device for this. However, it will be sweet to see what HTC will do with this. As for copying from Touchwiz, there are elements from multiple skins, UI's and OS's in here. Where did "gestures" become a strategic part of the OS? IMO Google is trying to get the easiest, most streamlined, simple, killer interface, Big, big leaps forward!!!!! IO5 and Siri didn't keep the spotlight for long

i think it's safe to say that ice cream and the nexus + the razor just blew the iphone4s and ios5 out of the water and then some. i can see why they postponed this event until after jobs funeral and after the launch of the new iphone.

So they can lose all their potential upgrades to the iPhone? Google postponed out of respect, had they really cared they would've gone through with it and stolen all of Apple's thunder before the 4S was even out.

OMG ICS looks just amazing,even better than i thought it could one can say android is ugly and not user friendly now...cannot wait to get ICS

All they needed to add was a voice assistant call Roboto. "ROBOTO MAKE ME AWESOME!!!!!" I'd use that to unlock my phone with a voice-unlock feature.

Wondering if the face unlock could be used while I sleep? Uh oh... gotta sleep alone for the rest of my life now.

ICS looks amazing,gestures,scrollable widgets,facial recognition unlock, android beam, I'm gonna port Hive Player from Honeycomb..can't wait to get a Galaxy Nexus. I just hope the ICS UI is hardware accelerated.

You guys are just so worried about not getting ICS. Here's a wager that I'll never honor: I bet you 100+ ice cream cones that the Nexus One gets ICS.

Anybody else excited for cyanogen 8 lol. I feel like its the quickest way that this will be coming to my evo 3d.

...and my Evo 4G.

Already looking forward to CM8, as it doesn't appear this phone will be coming to Sprint, and I'm not due for an upgrade until June, anyway.

I am in the exact same boat. I am excited for the ICS CM ROM. ICS on EVO 4G would be awesome! Although with a single core, I am not sure what to expect.

when will iCS be ready to install on my iPhone? please make it soon, it took me 2 days to install iOS5 and it sucks!


I really like HTC and Sense, but I have to admit I am seriously tempted to jump on this device. I'm going to have to play with the Rezound (hate that name) and the Nexus to make up my mind, but something tells me I'll be going Nexus.

ICS blew me away. Wasn't expecting all that. Pretty psyched about what Matias has done... I knew the UI would start coming around once he came over from palm. If there was one good thing about webOS it's how great it looked

Yes I will KEEP MY EVO 3D ON SPRINT DEFINATELY...But if the Galaxy Nexus is not announced for sprint on day one I will purchase this device on hated verizon. I can put my feeling aside for the opportunity to have a pure google device and some LTE..The best of both worlds the EVO 3D on SPRINT and the GALAXY NEXUS on VERIZON what a crazy world I live in...But I believe in having the best so this is what it will be till my next evo in 2012....

Will happily wait for the second or third release. I would think by now we've all learned that you don't race out and get the first version of anything, be it hardware or software. Patience is rewarded.