Android 2.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich): What you need to know

Features Richard Goodwin 16:52, 30 Jun 2011

Android 2.4 — AKA Ice cream Sandwich — is on the way. But before it arrives, we take a look at what you can expect to see inside Google’s latest mobile platform

Android 2.4 – AKA: Android 4.0 or Android Ice Cream Sandwich – is on the way. Google’s just putting the finishing touches to the platform and as the release date approaches, we decided it’s high time to take a look at what you can expect to see inside.

For starters though it’s worth pointing out two things. One, Android 2.4 will work on all devices – yes, even older models – and two, the platform is designed to unify Google’s highly fragmented mobile platform. No doubt there will be some ‘issues’ along the way, but at least Google’s taking a step in the right direction.

So what else, apart from platform unification, can we expect from Android 2.4? Quite a bit as it goes – Android Ice Cream Sandwich is a big update. In fact, it’s easily one of Google’s most ambitious moves to date.

Face Tracking
It used to be the thing of Sci-Fi films and Phillip K. Dick novels, but now facial recognition is a reality – and what’s more, it’s coming to Android 2.4. The general idea behind this facial recognition software is to aid in the process of video conferencing, the camera’s focus will follow you when you move about. But we can also see some very cool gaming applications for it too.

Google showed this feature off at its I/O 2011 keynote. It did look impressive then and one other cool aspect of the feature is that it also knows when someone’s speaking, which is great for group conference calling.

Expect plenty more cool applications once developers get their hands on the APIs.

UI
Android Honeycomb’s UI is destined to appear on smartphones when Android 2.4 lands. That means a new app launcher, multitasking panel, holographic UI, tabbed browsing, improved widget functionality and a whole host more.

Sure there’ll have to be a few modifications here and there, but in the grand scheme of things we think it’ll look very smart on mobiles – the current UI is in desperate need of an image update. Having said that, it will be interesting to see what Google changes and/or develops for the mobile version of its holographic UI.

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