Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

After using the most current iteration of the Android system, I’m afraid to admit that Apple better be looking over its shoulder.  Everything that has caused me to prefer iPhones over Android has been addressed.  And I mean everything.

Ok, I will stop waxing philosophic, but this new OS is fabulous.  It could be the hardware that its running on that has something to do with it.  The Galaxy Nexus is one smooth platform! Lets talk a little about the combination, because where one begins, the other ends… exactly where that happens is a subtle dance, and difficult to actually pin down where the OS stops and the hardware starts

I’m not normally in a place where I gush emotionally about how much I like a phone, probably because I’m a bit spoiled in that area.  My job gives me access to the latest and greatest models, and lets me swap my SIM around at a whim.  The last phone that I actually gave a decent chance to was the Galaxy S II X, and maybe if it had been running ICS instead of Froyo, I would still be using it, instead of my iPhone 4.. Sorry! ICS stands for Ice Cream Sandwich, which is the name of Android 4.0, and Froyo is Frozen Yogurt, aka 2.3.4.. If you are also wondering why there’s no version 3, it wasn’t skipped.  Its called Honeycomb, and is for tablet computers only.

But I digress.. The Galaxy Nexus is larger than its S 2 X cousin, and is more like a grown up Nexus S (which, since it sports a similar moniker, the resemblance is warranted) Unboxing one of these units is one thing, but powering up the 4.65 inch, 720 x 1280 pixel screen is a sight to experience yourself, and few words will aptly give it justice.  The unit sports a ~316 ppi pixel density, which is imperceptibly close to iPhone4’s Retina display.. And since the resolution is finally higher, bigger, and more colorful than the latter, plus unfettered by any sort of physical buttons, holding and using this unit is a pleasure.  The screen is slightly curved like the Nexus S, but still thinner, despite packing in more battery life and screen real estate.

The dual 1.2 Ghz A9 processor makes sort work of the start-up sequence, and after a brief intro, you are into the home screens. Three buttons (a different setup to older 4 button implementations of Android) fade into view below the screen, and when touched, pulse with a soft blue surrounding light. Before, there was a menu button, a home button, a back button, and a search button.  Now, there is only Back, Home, and a new button that pulls up all the recent apps in a new task manager, giving you a graphical representation of the apps you have “backgrounded”. I had a bit of an issue getting used to the lack of the menu button, as I always used that from the home screen to quickly access settings, but adding a shortcut to do the same thing would be easy enough to get used to   Although I am a “Google” guy, I was still shocked to see that only moments after signing into my account, all my apps had *already* installed themselves and were ready for use.

The next thing that I was really impressed by was the App “Drawer”. touching the corresponding button from the dock, pages of apps appeared that could be slide through horizontally, doing away with the up/down representation on previous OS versions.  After the apps, I could scroll through graphical representations of all the widgets that were installed, and click and hold to add them to different home screens like I normally would add app shortcuts.  This really worked well and was a delight to use!

The final thing I wanted to touch on was the keyboard.  This really makes or breaks a phone for me as far as it comes to daily use and dependability.  I spend much of my day emailing, texting, tweeting, and generally using the keyboard for text entry purposes.  I have always leant on my Apple phone because the text auto correction and keyboard layout/functionality is just -that- good.  Its the reason why I went back to it from my Galaxy S.. I’m happy to report that Android finally got this one right.  Even typing in portrait mode was virtually error free, and very responsive.

So if you have been waiting for Android to mature as an OS, and looking for a new device, the Galaxy Nexus running 4.0 is exactly what you have been waiting for! Pick one up at Parlez Wireless today, and let me show you how effortless it is to have this great OS work for you! Currently $99 on a 3 year term!

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