Light Reading

Scoop! It's the Ice Cream Sandwich

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) unveiled the latest version of the Android mobile operating system on the flagship Galaxy Nexus smartphone at an event early Wednesday morning in Hong Kong.

Google first previewed the latest "Ice Cream Sandwich" update of its Android OS back in September. Google and Samsung cancelled the original launch event, planned for CTIA last week. (See OS Watch: RIM Buys Up a Cloud Vendor.) Updates to the OS include:

  • A faster browser.
  • Near-field communications (NFC) capabilities with "Android Beam", which allows users to touch phones to swap apps, maps and videos.
  • Software "buttons" replace nearly all hardware buttons.
  • A better "soft" keyboard.

    Read the blog from Google SVP of mobile, Andy Rubin, on the updates.

    The lead device using Android 4.0 is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Features include a 4.65-inch contour display and a dual-core 1.2GHz processor over either 4G LTE or HSPA+ 3G wireless.

    You can view the entire launch presentation below:

    The Galaxy Nexus will launch in November. The Samsung phone follows hard on the heels of other top-flight smartphones such as the iPhone 4S and the DROID RAZR 4G. (See Photos: Moto Gets Skinny With 4G RAZR and Photos: Apple iPhone 4S Launch Day.)

    — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 4:50:58 PM
    re: Scoop! It's the Ice Cream Sandwich

    The NFC updates are intriguing. I would love to see more phones and apps taking advantage of that to let people pay for stuff, exchange info, etc. without having to rely on a Wi-Fi connection. 

    When I travel, Wi-Fi is still mostly a joke. DFW Airport is pretty much as it was in the 80s. And hotels either make it too confusing to sign on or they charge too much or the access is just SUPER slow. 

    Does anyone else find it funny that when industry folks travel they always use that as an excuse? Hey, I can't be reached -- I'm traveling. Why? Because connectivty is horrible and Wi-Fi generally sucks. 

    So, more NFC , Air Drop and other non-Wi-Fi workarounds are a good idea, IMO.


    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 4:50:58 PM
    re: Scoop! It's the Ice Cream Sandwich

    Yeah, its going to depend on the phone vendors to put to the NFC chips in devices but Android 4 could start to kick up take up of NFC.

    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 4:50:57 PM
    re: Scoop! It's the Ice Cream Sandwich

    I think it'll actually be Jelly Bean - it's alphabetic.

    NFC is one of the most alluring features for me.  NJ Transit is moving to NFC for payments, if only the MBTA up here in Mass would do the same for our T (subway).  Yale locks has announced an NFC-enabled home doorlock (with keypad backup) for a reasonable price. 

    Anne Morris
    Anne Morris,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 4:50:57 PM
    re: Scoop! It's the Ice Cream Sandwich

    This confectionery-based naming tactic is getting a bit silly though...

    What's next, I wonder! Mint Chocolate Chip would be good...maybe....

    Anne Morris
    Anne Morris,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 4:50:49 PM
    re: Scoop! It's the Ice Cream Sandwich

    It would be interesting to see Google Wallet on the device as well as the Beam services.

    I've seen NFC in action in Nice and the travel payment aspect is certainly very appealing!

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