Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) vs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) vs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) | Android 3.0 vs Android 4.0 | Honeycomb vs Ice Cream Sandwich | Android 3.0 vs 4.0 Features and Performance | Android 3.1 vs 4.0
Google Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich was in the news since January 2011 and Google finally announced it officially at the Google I/O 2011 Keynote on 10 May 2011. After a long wait, it was officially released on 18 October 2011. The newest released version Android 4.0, code named as Ice Cream Sandwich will be available in November 2011 along with Galaxy Nexus. Galaxy Nexus by Samsung is the first Ice Cream Sandwich phone. Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) will be a major release which will be compatible with all Android devices and an open source operating system. It will be an universal operating system like Apple’s iOS. Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) is the tablet optimized OS that was first tested on Motorola Xoom. With the success of Honeycomb on android based tablets, the users expected the Honeycomb features on Android based smartphones. Google has responded to cutomer expectation with the Ice Cream Sandwich version which is a hybrid of Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).
Android Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0)
The Android version designed to be used on both phones and tables was officially released in October 2011 alongside the announcement of Galaxy Nexus. Android 4.0 also known as “Ice cream sandwich” combines the features of both Android 2.3(Gingerbread) and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).
The biggest improvement of Android 4.0 is the user interface enhancement. Further confirming the commitment to more user friendly mobile operating system, Android 4.0 comes with a new typeface called ‘Roboto’ which is more suitable for high resolution screens. The virtual buttons in the Systems bar (Similar to Honeycomb) allows users to navigate back, to Home and to recent applications. The folders in the home screen allow users to organize applications by category simply by drag and drop. The widgets have been designed to be re sizable and allow users to view content using the widget without launching the application.
Multitasking is one of the strong features in Android. In Android 4.0 (Ice cream Sandwich) the recent apps button allows users switch between recent applications easily. The systems bar shows a list of recent applications and have thumbnails of applications, users may instantly access an application by tapping the thumbnail. The notifications are also enhanced in Android 4.0 (Ice cream Sandwich). In smaller screens notifications will appear at the top of the screen and in bigger screens notifications will appear in the System bar. Users can also dismiss individual notifications.
Voice input has also been improved in Android 4.0 (Ice cream Sandwich). The new voice input engine gives an ‘open microphone’ experience and allows users to give voice commands any time. It allows users to compose messages by dictation. Users may dictate the message continuously and if any errors are available they will be highlighted in gray.
The lock screen comes packed with improvements and innovation. On Android 4.0 users can do many actions while the screen is locked. It is possible to answer a call, see notifications and browse through music if the user is listening to music. The innovative feature added to the lock screen would be ‘Face Unlock’. With Android 4.0 users can now keep their face in front of the screen and unlock their phones adding an even more personalized experience.
The new People application on Android 4.0 (Ice cream Sandwich) allows users to search for contacts, their images across multiple social networking platforms. Users own contact details can be stored as ‘Me’ so that information can be shared easily.
The camera capabilities are another area much enhanced in Android 4.0. Image capturing is enhanced with continuous focus, zero shutter lag exposure and decreased shot-to-shot speed. After capturing images users can edit them on the phone with the available image editing software. While recording video users can take full HD images simply by tapping the screen as well. Another introducing feature on the camera application is the single-motion panorama mode for larger screens. Features such as face detection, tap to focus are also onboard Android 4.0. With “Live Effects”, users can add interesting changes to captured video and video chat. Live Effects enables changing the background to any available or custom image on captured video and for video chat.
Android 4.0 is the mobile operating system which takes Android platform to the future. There for it is no surprise that the new operating system has focused on the NFC capabilities of future Android smart phones and tablets. “Android Beem” is a NFC based sharing application which allows two NFC enabled devices to share images, contacts, music, video and applications.
Android 4.0, also known as Ice cream Sandwich comes to the market with many interesting innovative features packed. However, the most important and noteworthy enhancement would be the upgrade the user interface has received to give it a much needed finishing touch. With fast passed release cycles, many previous Android versions seemed a little rough around the edges.
Introducing Android 4.0 on Galaxy Nexus
Courtesy: Android Developers
Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)
Honeycomb is an operating system entirely designed for devices with large screens such as tablets and it is the first version of the platform designed to support symmetric multi processing in a multi core environment. Honeycomb took the advantage of the larger real estate in mind and designed the UI, the new UI looks awesome. Android 3.0 offers 5 home screens that can be customized and new wall papers. The widgets are redesigned to enhance the appearance on a large screen. The key board also redesigned with keys reshaped and repositioned and new keys are added.
With the improved web browser, surfing the net is amazing, it gives a full web browsing experience with the support of Adobe Flash Player 10.2. It has incorporated all Google apps such as Gmail, Google Calender, Google talk, Google Search, Google maps and of course a redesigned YouTube. In additon it has integrated ebooks. Google proudly boasts that it has millions of books to go with Google ebooks, currently having 3 million ebooks.
The other features that you will be bewildered with Honeycomb tablets are the face to face chat with millions of Google talk users, 3D effect in Google Map 5.0, send and receive mails on the go with Tablet optimized Gmail and redesigned camera applications.
Android 3.0 Honeycomb
Latest released version Android 3.2
Android 3.0 New User Features
1. New UI – holographic UI newly designed for large screen displays with content focused interaction, the UI is backward compatible, applications designed for earlier versions can be used with new UI.
2. Refined multitasking
3. Rich notification, no more popups
4. System bar at the bottom of the screen for system status, notification and it accomodates navigation buttons, as like in Google Chrome.
5. Customizable homescreen (5 homescreens) and dynamic widgets for 3D experience
6. Action bar for application control for all applications
7. Redesigned keyboard for larger screen, keys are reshaped and repositioned and new keys added such as Tab key. button in system bar to switch between text/voice input mode
8. Improvement to text selection, copy and paste; very close to what we do in computer.
9. Buil in support for Media/Picture Transfer Protocol – you can instantly sync media files through USB cable.
10. Connect full keyboard over USB or Bluetooth
11. Improved Wi-Fi connectivity
12. New support for Bluetooth tethering – you can connect more types of devices
13. Improved browser for efficient browsing and better browsing experience using the large screen – some of the new features are:
- multiple tabbed browsing instead of windows,
- incognito mode for anonymous browsing.
- single unified view for Bookmarks and History.
- improved zoom and viewport model, overflow scrolling, support for fixed positioning
14. Redesigned camera application for larger screen
- quick access to exposure, focus, flash, zoom, etc.
- built-in support for time- lapse video recording
- gallery application for full screen mode viewing and easy access to thumbnails
15. Redesigned contacts applications features for larger screen
- new two-pane UI for contacts applications
- improved formatting for international phone numbers based on home country
- contact information view in card like format for easy reading and editing
16. Redesigned Email appliations
- two-pane UI for viewing and organizing mails
- sync mail attachments for later viewing
- track emails using email widgets in the home screen
New Developer Features
1. New UI Framework – to fragment and combine activities in different ways to create richer and more interactive applications
2. Redesigned UI Widgets for larger screen and new holographic UI theme
- developers can quickly add new types of content to relevant applications and can interact with users in new ways
- new types of widgets included such as 3D stack, search box, date/time picker, number picker, calendar, popup menu
3. Action Bar at the top of the screen can be customized by developers according to application
4. A new builder class to create notifications that include large and small icons, title, a priority flag, and any properties already available in previous versions
5. Developers can use mulitiselect, clipboard and drag and drop features to offer users more enjoyable gaming experience
6. Performance improvement to 2D and 3D graphics
- new animation framework
- new hardware accelerated OpenGL renderer to improve the performance of 2D graphics based applications
- Renderscript 3D graphics engine for accelerated graphics operations and create high performance 3D effects in applications.
7. Support for multicore processor architectures – support symmetric mulitprocessing in multicore environments, even an application designed for single core environment will enjoy the performance boost.
8. HTTP Live streaming – media framwork supports most of the HTTP Live streaming specification.
9. Pluggable DRM framework – for applications to manage protected content, Android 3.0 offers unified API for simplified management of protected contents.
10. Built-in support for MTP/PTP over USB
11. API support for Bluetooth A2DP and HSP profiles
Device administration applications can include new types of policies, such as policies for encrypted storage, password expiration, password history, and requirement of complex characters for passwords.
Android 3.1 New Features
1. Refined UI
- Launcher animation optimized for faster, smoother transition to/from app list
- Adjustments in color, positioning and text
- Audible feedback for improved accessibility
- Customizable touch-hold interval
- Navigation to/from five home screens made easy. Touching the home button in system bar will return you to most frequently used home screen.
- Improved view of internal storage used by apps
2. Support for more varieties of input devices such as keyboards, mouse, trackballs, game controllers and accessories such as digital cameras musical instrument, kiosks and card readers.
- Any type of external keyboards, mouse and trackballs can be connected
- Most of the PC joysticks, game controllers and game pads can be connected except for some proprietary controllers
- More than one device can be attached simultaneously via USB and/or Blutooth HID
- No configuration or drivers required
- Support for USB accessories as host to launch related applications, if application not available the accessories can give the URL to download the application.
- Users can interact with application to control the accessories.
3. Recent Apps list is expandable to include larger number of apps. The list will have all the apps in use and recently used apps.
4. Customizable Home screen
- Re-sizable home screen widgets. widgets can be expanded in both vertically and horizontally.
- Updated home screen widget for Email app gives quick access to emails
5. New high performance Wi-Fi lock added for uninterrupted connectivity even when the device screen is off. This will be useful for streaming long duration music, video and voice services.
- HTTP proxy for each individual Wi-Fi access point can be configured. This will be used by the browser when communicating with the networks. Other Apps also may use this.
- Configuration is made easy by touch-hold of the access point in the setting
- Back up and restore the user defined IP and proxy setting
- Support for Preferred Network Offload (PNO), which works in the background and conserves battery power in case where Wi-Fi connectivity needed for longer time.
Improvements to Standard Applications
6. Improved Browser app – new features added and UI improved
- Quick Controls UI is extended and redesigned. Users can use it to view thumbnails of open tabs, to close the active tabs, access overflow menu for instant access to settings and many other.
- Supports CSS 3D, animations, and CSS fixed positioning to all sites.
- Supports embedded playback of HTML5 video content
- Save the webpage locally for offline viewing with all styling and imaging
- Improved auto login UI let users quickly sign in to Google sites and manage access when multiple users sharing the same device
- Support for plugins that use hardware accelerated rendering
- Page Zoom performance improved
7. Gallery apps improved to support Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP).
- Users can connect external cameras over USB and import pictures to Gallery with one touch
- The imported pictures are copied to local storages and it will show the balance space available.
8. Calender grids are made larger for better readability and accurate targeting
- Controls in data picker are redesigned
- Calender list controls can be hidden to create larger viewing area for grids
9. Contacts app allows full text search making it quicker to locate contacts and the results are shown from all the fields stored in the contact.
10. Email app improved
- When replying or forwarding HTML message the improved Email app sends both plain text and HTML bodies as multi-part mime message.
- Folder prefixes for IMAP accounts are made easier to define and manage
- Prefetches emails from server only when the device is connected to a Wi-Fi access point. This is done to conserve battery power and minimize data usage
- Improved home screen widget gives quick access to emails and users can cycle through email labels with the touch of the Email icon at the top of the widget
11. Improved Enterprise support
- Administrators can use the configurable HTTP proxy for each Wi-Fi access point
- Allows encrypted storage card device policy with emulated storage cards and encrypted primary storage
Android 3.2 New Features
1. Optimization for wider range of tablet devices.
2. A pixel scaled compatibility zoom mode for fixed size apps – offers better viewing experience for apps that are not designed to run on larger devices.
3. Media sync direct from SD card
4. Extended screen support API for developers – to manage application UI across wide range of tablet devices.
What are the difference between Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and Ice Cream Sandwich?
The major differences between these two versions are the redefined state of the art UI, virtual buttons in the Systems bar, re-sizable interactive widgets, new home screen with folders, new lock screen action, quick call response, improved keyboard and spell checker, a new voice engine, user control of network data, improved browser, face unlock, Android beam for one touch sharing, support for rich multimedia applications such as HTTP live streaming, built-in support for Media/Picture Transfer Protocol (MTP/PTP) over USB. Many of the core applications are also redesigned for improved user experience, and a new People app is included for rich profile information. It also has added new features for blind or visually impaired users.
While Honeycomb is exclusively designed for tablet like large screen devices, Ice Cream Sandwich is an universal operating system that can run on any Android based devices, be it a small screen phone or a large screen tablet; it can adapt to the form factor of the device.
Again, though Android is an open source platform Google was reluctant in releasing the Honeycomb source code. However Ice Cream Sandwich will be a fully open source platform.
For further reading on Android versions and features visit:
- Difference Between Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
- Difference Between Android 3.0 Honeycomb and Android Ice Cream
- Difference Between Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Android Ice Cream
- Difference Between Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) for Tablet
- Difference Between Android 2.2 (Froyo) and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) for Tablets