Google announces Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich

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At a Hong Kong event with the tagline, "Calling all possibilities," Google and Samsung revealed what's been up their sleeves since the original affair was canceled: Android Ice Cream Sandwich, also known as Android 4.0, and the Galaxy Nexus handset. One of the main features of the Galaxy Nexus (aside from Ice Cream Sandwich platform) is its extra-large screen — a 4.65" HP Super AMOLED display. This means having really bright and crisp images without having to sacrifice battery life. The screen, as touted on the event, "is like having a movie theater in your hands."

Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Galaxy Nexus retains the contoured design of the Nexus S, and has a depth of 8.94 mm, which is just a hair thicker than the Motorola Razr's (which was just announced earlier in the day) 7.1 mm. Other features include a 5-megapixel camera that can shoot high-definition videos in 1080p and can take pictures instantaneously without lag, 4G high-speed internet, and NFC or mobile payment capability. Check out our gallery of the Galaxy Nexus to get an eyeful of this handset's sleek design.

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Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich
Handset aside, the real star of the show is Ice Cream Sandwich. "We found that while people like Android, and need Android, they don't love Android. People know Android is powerful, but people get frustrated when they couldn't figure it out," says Matias Duarte, Senior Director of Android User Experience. Also known as Android 4.0, it improves on features from older Android flavors, adds several new ones, and makes the platform a lot easier to use.

  • Visual overhaul and Roboto Ice Cream Sandwich gives you a major visual overhaul of the platform including a new font Google calls Roboto, which according to the company is "modern yet approachable." The new operating system employs a magazine-like layout throughout — from contacts to gallery. It also supports a completely button-free environment with its main navigation icons at the bottom of the screen.
  • Talk-to-text But it doesn't stop at a visual overhaul. Instant talk-to-text lets you compose and send text messages through voice command, and it's so intuitive that it can even type smiley faces for you.
  • Photo editor Want to edit pictures you take right within your smartphone or tablet? No need for third-party apps — the Gallery now has a built-in photo editing tool. Not only can you crop and rotate photos, you can also overlay them with built-in filters (much like Instagram).
  • People app Android 4.0's contacts section has evolved into what Google calls the People app. Now, you can see how you're connected to someone in various social networking websites and see their latest updates directly within the app.
  • Android Beam Another very handy feature is Android Beam, which lets you instantly transfer content, contacts, and even navigation routes just by touching two Android devices together.
  • Data usage graph If you're the type who tends to go over your monthly allotted data, you can take advantage of the new data monitor that not only tracks your usage but also helps you narrow down which app is a data hog.
  • Face lock Finally, if you're not cool with anyone else using your device, the face lock feature renders it inaccessible to anyone but you and your identical twin.

The Galaxy Nexus handset and Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 will both be available in November in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

This article was written by Mariella Moon and originally appeared on Tecca

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