Android Ice Cream Sandwich or ICS as some will refer to it is Google’s latest and greatest mobile operating system geared to become its defacto platform to power all Android devices. Yep, that means future android tablets and smartphones will use one standardized version of the software versus the multiple flavors that fragment the Android mobile-space.
Though some devices will not fully support the new software update due to hardware incompatibilities we managed to load it on an HTC EVO 4G using a custom ROM by Evervolv and I must say we were impressed. The Evervolv ICS ROM is still in its development stages but the core functionality that makes ICS the greatest release Google has done to date is operational.
Once the device was fully booted we immediately noticed various elements of the user interface was either completely overhauled or polished to an aesthetically pleasing finish. See images below.
Some of our personal favorites for the new enhancements is the ability to respond to a live call via text messaging, the vertical task / windows manager, the simplicity of uninstalling applications via long-press, drag, and drop, as well as the app / widget drawer layout. During our tests we also noticed a significant improvement on battery life–which I’m sure every EVO owner will greatly appreciate. We were not able to fully test the camera features due to some hardware issues but once the kinks are ironed out we sure will.
Now you may be asking, “how does it compare to iOS5?” ICS is essentially honeycomb (Android 3) meets gingerbread (Android 2.3) but simplified. Both mobile systems have their strengths and weaknesses and are catered to users of varied thought processes (ie. Die-hard techies / power users vs regular users). They both offer solid technologies backed by two of the biggest names in the industry, but when it comes down to it, users tend to gravitate to the system their most comfortable with.
Overall, we simply love the simplicity, new features, and battery improvement ICS brings to the table. Though no official dates have been confirmed, we do expect OTA updates to begin in the first quarter of 2012 based on previous releases. We simply hope once major carriers rollout the update to their customers ICS will not be polluted with proprietary skins and applications that compromise the user experience. Guess you can say its wishful thinking, but only time will tell.