Updated! Google introduced Tuesday night the next version of Android called Ice Cream Sandwich, which will first appear on a new Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone to ship next month.
And like the new iPhone 4S, it will let you dictate a text message into the phone and may have implications for use in the car!
The Technology Review says Android’s Matias Duarte demonstrated the feature in Hong Kong by talking into the phone. He said, “ ‘Hey, man. I’d love to talk right now, but I’m a little bit busy. I’ll catch up with you later period, smiley-face,’ with which the sentence ended with just that: a period and then a smiley face. The crowd of journalists gave him an ovation for that.”
For car use, the question is whether the device will read aloud your voice texts back to you. If so, says Aamp of America’s Scott Rothstein, then the aftermarket could create Bluetooth kits that would play back the voice through the car’s sound system.
“They haven’t announced whether it will be speaking back. If it does comment back we would be able to play it through the [car’s] speaker system,” he said.
Derek Schmiedl of NAV-TV believes that the feature will be able to work through the car’s speakers. “Because it’s an open platform and other apps that exist on Android can be directly exported, theoretically it be done,” he said.
If so, he said, “It would be an awesome addition. It would definitely increase the safety and function of the device in the automobile because you wouldn’t have to hold the phone.”
With Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), Google also adds some other new cool features and changes the look and feel of Android in hopes of making it “loved” not just “needed,” explained Gadgetbox.
Another cool new feature is Facial Unlocking. Ice Cream Sandwich recognizes your face to unlock the phone.
Then there’s Android Beam. It uses NFC technology (see note below) to let two users share information by tapping two phones together. It also lets you share links, contacts and map locations and it permits some app sharing.
New Ice Cream Sandwich phones can also take panoramic shots; you just sweep the camera in an arc and the camera stitches together shots for you. Watch the demo above.
As for the first Android Ice Cream Sandwich phone, the 4G Galaxy Nexus runs on a 1.2 gigahertz dual-core processor, and has a roomy 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display at 1280 by 720 resolution. The camera is 5 MP and it gives you HD 1080-pixel video. Other features include 1GB of RAM and 16- or 32GB of internal memory. Depending on the region, it will support LTE or HSPA+ 4G service. It also has Bluetooth, WiFi and NFC.
Note: NFC or near field communication is a short range wireless technology that can be tagged onto objects like a poster or T-shirt. Your phone can then instantly read the NFC tags placed on various objects to pick up information.