Google’s newest Android operating system version has had experts and users alike sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting impatiently for the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) to be delivered on mobile devices with all the bells and whistles of the ice cream truck. Users have delayed purchasing new mobile phones and tablets until the new operating confection was available. After all the headlines and the anticipation, does Android 4.0.- finally beat Apple’s iOS?
In some areas and functions, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” In other facets, it’s, well, “not yet.” While Ice Cream Sandwich does make user control of apps easier, animation less jerky and the interface more user-friendly, it can’t yet claim the fame of toppling iOS yet. But it’s getting there, and it’s our opinion that Apple should be getting very, very worried.
First, the good news: Many of the Gingerbread snafus, glitches and hang-ups are gone. Smoother operations are the norm with Ice Cream Sandwich. However, there still are a few that we’ll outline below.
The separated, dedicated Function keys permanently resting at the bottom of the screen are tremendous time savers. You want to return Home? Press the key. Want to head back one screen? Press that key. Want terrific apps management? Press that dedicated key. Forget a screen full of icons that you can’t see when surfing or texting or writing a note: The dedicated function keys are offset and separated from the used screen area. They’re always there – unless you deliberately use a full screen operation.
The user interface is a major improvement from Gingerbread (2.3) to Honeycomb (3.0) to Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0). Logical organisation is the key phrase. While there is still a learning curve for new Android users, learning to navigate the device is much simpler and shorter than ever. It’s not quite as intuitive and familiar as Win 7 or as easy as iOS, but it’s a major step up from Android 2.2 Froyo, Android 2.3 Gingerbread or Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
Quirks and Glitches
Alas, while apps are much more easily managed in ICS, many apps don’t work with ICS: The apps are made for Gingerbread; many won’t even download onto an ICS-driven device. Overall, Android apps are much fewer in number than Apple apps, and with the ICS compatibility issue, the Android number just dropped even farther.
The touch controls for apps might be nicer, but the touch controls still have a minute lag that is absent in Apple iOS. It’s better than it used to be, but the lag is still there. Because of that barely noticeable but noticeable delay, Ice Cream Sandwich can seem rather sleepy at times.
Android developers are extremely responsive to glitch reports, so much so that Ice Cream Sandwich has moved from the 4.0 original version to 4.0.3 in just a few weeks. It won’t be long at all before Android OS is a true, heads-on competitor with Apple iOS.