Ice Cream Sandwich is no longer just a tasty frozen treat!

December 21, 2011 Pivotal Labs

At long last, Google’s highly anticipated Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) hit the market. Google’s newest smartphone offering brings a refined and unified UI for phones and tablets, in addition to introducing many new innovative features.

So what is new?

The most exciting new feature of 4.0 is the Android Beam. The Android Beam uses Near-field Communications (NFC) to trigger almost any type of proximity-based interaction. Apps that support Ice Cream Sandwich will be able to instantly exchange contacts or data, set up multiplayer gaming, join a chat or video call, share a photo or video, and more. Essentially, it will enable a new class of peer-to-peer (P2P) interaction within apps. This is a formidable new feature that many smartphone creators have not yet adopted. Some of the early adopters like Android, BlackBerry, Samsung and Nokia are smart to have associated their phones with this feature, since it is predicted that 863 million units or 53 percent of new handsets will be NFC- enabled in 2015.

These enhanced P2P communications and sharing are made possible by the creation of new social APIs. Tight integration with contacts, profile data and calendar events allow your apps to be more social than ever before. At Xtreme Labs we have been taking advantage of these social APIs, and with them we’re trying to redefine the smartphone. As more social software like Ice Cream Sandwich begins to emerge, we will start to see much more intuitive and social smartphone platforms.

New network APIs have also been introduced which will allow your apps to more efficiently utilize data connections. In 4.0, users can audit and regulate any applications data usage. This feature is another example of how smartphones are becoming smarter and more efficient.

Ice Cream Sandwich will also support new Open Graphics Library-based filters for transforming and applying effects to video & images. This is a very cool feature that will allow you to add your own personal touch to every video you produce. In addition, support for new media codecs and containers, such as VP8, WebP & live HTTP steams, will allow your apps to seamlessly deliver more types of rich media to consumers. The feature will allow your Android to become more like a mini-computer, and less like a mobile phone.

Finally, Android 4.0 for phones has integrated many of the UI paradigms that were introduced to tablets in Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). It is not mandatory to update legacy applications to follow the platform’s new UI conventions – however, it is recommended as users will quickly adjust to the new paradigms.

At Xtreme Labs, we have developed apps for Android since its initial release in 2008. Since then, we have watched the mobile platform mature and gain enormous momentum across the globe. We are very eager to leverage the latest innovative features in Android 4.0 to build rich, compelling and social mobile applications for our clients.

Get in touch with us for more information!

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