Android Honeycomb 3.2 vs Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0

Vs Paul Briden 17:14, 26 Jan 2012

We take a look at the new version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, to see how it compares with its predecessor, Honeycomb 3.2

We were actually quite taken with Honeycomb, on the whole, because it had a remarkably high level of polish compared to previous Android builds.

Everything on Honeycomb feels very slick, well planned out and well put together. The layout is clean and crisp, and animations and screen transitions play out smoothly, letting you effortlessly navigate from one section to another.

The settings menus also make great use of the expanded tablet screen real-estate, with a dual split-screen setup that can be independently swiped through.

Compared with previous builds, the notification panel is a little different. Rather than a swipe down bar from the top you now have a pop out menu at the bottom right, activated with a tap or swipe. This has been placed with thumb control in mind and works very well.

At first, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) doesn’t seem very different, apart from some visual changes such as fonts, icons and so on, but these are just aesthetic tweaks. The layout is still much the same.

The lock screen has been changed for the better and now includes not only the padlock icon but a camera icon, which allows you to go straight into the camera app.

Speaking of the camera app, it now uses much more screen space for the viewfinder, so you can see exactly what you’re trying to snap. As well as this the controls have been changed with a radial zoom slider around the capture button.

Another welcome upgrade is the multi-tasking menu. It still features the same scrolling thumbnail previews of each running app but you can dismiss them individually by swiping an app window left or right, which is much more convenient than going into the settings menu and finding the running apps section.

Folders are supported in Ice Cream Sandwich. Previously this was something only offered by custom interface overlays installed by manufacturers, but now it’s integrated into Android and is a very useful way of grouping apps together in handy boxes to keep your homescreens as tidy and organised as possible.

Settings menus on Ice Cream Sandwich are even better than they were on Honeycomb, thanks to a reorganised and much more logical layout. There’s still the split-screen functionality but it’s a lot easier to find what you’re looking for, making it more user-friendly.

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