With all of the excitement about the release of the Android 4.0 OS and our recent posts about mobile computing applications, it may be a good time to consider whether this new operating system dubbed “Ice Cream Sandwich will extend mobile computing options for students and faculty in a meaningful way. Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is the latest version of the android operating system and purportedly combines the best features of predecessors, Gingerbread and Honeycomb.
(ICS) features a new, polished button less interface in which apps are controlled through virtual buttons at the bottom of the screen. The intuitive and adaptive nature of the virtual interface is intended to significantly enhance multi-tasking by allowing one to more easily see, navigate and close applications.
Improvements that may be particularly attractive to students and faculty at include better camera functionality and a “People App” that will combine and centralize access to various social networking feeds. Improvements in copy and paste functions and the ability to more easily create screenshots have also been made. Of particular note is the improved the keyboard and dictionary functionality of ICS. According to Google developers “Error correction and word suggestion are improved through a new set of default dictionaries and more accurate heuristics for handling cases such as double-typed characters, skipped letters, and omitted spaces. Word suggestion is also improved and the suggestion strip is simplified to show only three words at a time. To fix misspelled words more easily, Android 4.0 [also] adds a spell-checker that locates and underlines errors and suggests replacement words. With one tap, users can choose from multiple spelling suggestions, delete a word, or add it to the dictionary."
Faculty or students with low vision will also be able to explore the screen of an ICS ready device by dragging their fingers across the screen. An internal app configured to act as a screen reader will provide voice descriptions of the content.
Several devices that have or are expected to get Android 4.0 include the Samsung galaxy nexus and Motorola devices such as the Droid Razr, Razr, Droid Bionic and Xoom tablet.
To learn more about the exciting and “delicious” options offered by Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich, go to http://www.android.com/.