Ice Cream Sandwich adds tons of new features

Google's next Android update, Ice Cream Sandwich, aims to unify the Android experience while centering on three design principles. Check out the new features.

After Samsung launched its Galaxy Nexus at the flashy Android event across the Pacific in Hong Kong, Google execs took the stage to announce Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of the mobile operating system.

Also, called Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich is clearly designed to unify the Android experience. And as Matias Duarte, Google's senior director of Android user experience said, it's also built on three design principles: "enchant me, simplify my life, and make me awesome."

Here's an almost-complete list of Ice Cream Sandwich. We'll explore these in more detail over the next few days. For more tasty ice cream, check out CNET Asia's Top 5 features in Android 4.0. And be sure to tell us what new feature you're savoring most in the gallery.

  • Virtual buttons in the user experience free up display space
  • Create folders by dragging apps on top of each other
  • A new tab for thumbing through your widgets
  • Calendar app now supports pinch-to-zoom
  • Gmail gets offline search (nice), a two-line preview, and gesture support for swiping between conversations
  • The revamped Gmail user interface has an action bar for composing a message, searching, and accessing labels
  • Take screenshots by holding power and volume down buttons (finally!)
  • "Request desktop site" in the Chrome browser opens the full version of a Web site and syncs with your bookmarks
  • Save Web pages offline and use up to 16 tabs in the browser
  • More keyboard error correction and an inline spell check
  • Access apps directly from the lock screen
  • A recent applications icon
  • "Roboto" is a new typeface
  • Delete individual notifications by dragging them off the notifications menu
  • Improved voice integration and copy and paste
  • Face Unlock is a facial recognition service that use your face to unlock the phone
  • New Data Usage options in the Settings menu will notify users when they near a data use limit and disable the feature when the limit is reached
  • You can kill off apps that are using data in the background
  • Open the camera quickly from the home screen
  • Camera has no shutter lag, continuous focus, zoom while recording, panorama photos, time lapse settings, and 1080p recording
  • Face detection in the camera
  • Integrated photo editor including focus and exposure and "hipster filters" (we don't want to know)
  • New gallery layout, organized by location and person
  • People app brings together high-res photos, social media information, and status updates
  • Phone app lets you swipe between favorite friends with integrated visual voice mail
  • New photo gallery layout for organizing by location and person
  • Speed up and slow down voice mails
  • Quick message sends canned response text message when you decline a call
  • Android Beam, an NFC feature for exchanging information between two phones by tapping them
 

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