Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) has been the biggest update to Android since the OS launch. Designed to be comparatively user-friendly yet intricate than its predecessors, and built on the most popular Android features – easy multitasking, rich notifications, customizable home screens, resizable widgets, and deep interactivity, besides adding powerful new ways of communicating and sharing; Android ICS gives Android developers the privilege to challenge themselves for innovation.

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Android developers at Mantra Information Services have been strategically utilizing the benefits of the Android ICS for executing some of the coolest Android application development in the mobile market. A few most striking features of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) are:

User Interface Design

Ice Cream Sandwich promises to unleash the power of Android to the surface by offering to make familiar actions more visible, while allowing you to navigate with simple, intuitive gestures. Moreover, refined animations and feedback throughout the system also work towards making the interactions more engaging and appealing. A completely new typeface optimized for high-resolution screens is another important feature that enhances the readability factor and brings a feel of contemporary and refined UI.

Home Screen Folders

Group your apps and shortcuts logically on the new home screen folders by just dragging one onto another. While All Apps launcher in Android ICS allows you to simply drag an app to get information about it, uninstall it instantaneously, or disable a pre-installed app; resizable widgets provide you apps and rich content from the home screen.

Face Unlock

Android transcends your device security to an entirely different level courtesy the new Face Unlock feature with innovative screen-lock option that lets you unlock your device with face recognition. This calls for the use of face recognition technology to register a face during setup and then again to recognize it when unlocking the device.

Android Beam for NFC-based sharing

Android Beam, a pioneering feature for sharing across two NFC-enabled devices lets people exchange favorite apps, contacts, music, videos, etc. almost instantly. If you want to share apps, Android Beam pushes a link to the app’s details page on Google Play; while Google Play app launches and loads the details page, for easy downloading of the app on the other device.

Widgets

Besides being designed to be content-rich and customizable, home screens in Android have much more to do than add shortcuts – it allows you to embed live application content directly through interactive widgets. Widgets not only lets you to check email, flip through a calendar, play music, check social streams, etc. directly from the home screen (without having to launch apps); in fact, being resizable, widgets allows you to expand them to show more content or shrink them to save space.

Text Input and Spell-Check

The new spell-checker feature in Android ICS allows you to find errors and fix them faster, while the soft keyboard facilitates a faster and more accurate text input. The spell-checker not only locates and underlines errors and suggests replacement words; in fact, it allows you to choose from multiple spelling suggestions, delete a word, or add it to the dictionary with just one tap. You may also access specialized features or additional languages by just downloading and installing third-party dictionaries, spell-checkers, and other text services.

Voice Input Engine

The new Android also introduces a powerful voice input engine with “open microphone” experience and streaming voice recognition that let you dictate incessantly. However, it also offers the flexibility of pausing for intervals if needed, and dictate punctuation to create correct sentences. All you need to do as you finish dictating is just tap the underlined words to quickly replace them from a list of suggestions.

Network Data Control

You can make extensive use of network data for streaming content, synchronizing data, downloading apps, etc. with the help of mobile devices. Android ICS has added new controls for managing network data usage that allows you to monitor total usage by network type, manage the background data used by individual applications and also set limits if required.

Communication and sharing

In the new Android ICS, contacts and profiles are integrated across apps and social networks, for an all over consistent, personal experience— from incoming calls to emails. While Android allows you to store your contact information in a “Me” profile, allowing easier sharing with apps and people, all your integrated contacts are displayed in an easy to manage list, including controls over which contacts are shown from any integrated account or social network

Unified calendar, visual voicemail

An updated Calendar app in Android brings together personal, work, school, and social agendas, so as to help organize appointments and events. However, the best part is that other applications can take user permission to contribute events to the calendar and manage reminders for an integrated view across multiple calendar providers. While in the phone app, new visual voicemail features integrate incoming messages, voice transcriptions, and audio files from one or more providers.

Rich and versatile camera capabilities

The Camera app allows you to capture photos and videos and then edit and share within your network easily and instantly. Continuous focus, zero shutter lag exposure, and decreased shot-to-shot speed while taking pictures help capture clear, precise images. The Camera has also introduces a single-motion panorama mode for capturing larger scenes.

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Redesigned Gallery app with photo editor

The redesigned Gallery app now makes it easier to manage, show, and share photos and videos. Gallery app now also includes a powerful photo editor that lets you crop and rotate pictures, add effects, set levels, and remove red eyes; before sharing instantly over email, text messaging, bluetooth, social networks, or other apps.

Live Effects

Live Effects – a compilation of graphical transformations that add interest and fun to videos captured in the Camera app allows you to change backgrounds and use Silly Faces – a set of morphing effects that use state-of-the-art face recognition and GPU filters to transform facial features, during video. Besides Camera app, Live Effects is available during video chat in the Google Talk app.

Sharing with screenshots

Sharing screen and screenshots have become easier with ICS. You just need the hardware buttons to let them snap a screenshot and store it locally for later viewing, editing, and sharing in Gallery or a related app.

Cloud-connected experience

Being cloud-connected is inherent to Android and that allows you to browse the web and sync photos, apps, games, email, and contacts — irrespective of your location and across all of devices. The new Android adds new browsing and email capabilities to let you take even more with them and keep communication organized.

Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth HDP

Wi-Fi Direct allows you to connect directly to nearby peer devices over Wi-Fi, for more reliable, higher-speed communication and that too sans any internet connection or tethering. It also allows you to connect to compatible devices to take advantage of the latest features such as instant sharing of files, photos, streaming video or audio from another device; or connecting to compatible printers or other devices – through third-party applications.

Unquestionably, Ice Cream Sandwich is the most visually enthralling version of Android till date, the holographic interface of ICS do not exactly translate that well on a smaller display like a phone (where it appears to be 2-dimensional), it however does illustrate depth in tablets. It also offers better text readability with new high-resolution font Roboto, designed to be used on HD displays and complements the holographic user interface well.

Mantra Information Services, a leading provider of mobile application development services have been using the latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS for building some of the most successful apps on Google Play. If you have a mobile application idea for your business that is likely to be developed using this platform, do get in touch with us; our team of expert Android developers will proven experience will execute your idea and help create a cutting edge mobile strategy for successful Android application development.