Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) vs BlackBerry 7
BlackBerry 7 and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) are two mobile operating systems by Research in Motion and Google respectively. BlackBerry 7 is a proprietary system, while Android Ice Cream Sandwich in an open software platform. BlackBerry 7 is the latest mobile operating system, and was officially released in May 2011. On the other hand, Google Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich is the latest version Android operating system, which was officially announced at the Google I/O 2011 Keynote on 10 May 2011. Android 4.0, code named as Ice Cream Sandwich, will be released in October 2011. Android Ice Cream Sandwich will be a major release, which will be compatible with all Android devices. Android 4.0 will be a universal operating system like Apple’s iOS. It is a hybrid of Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). Following is a review on the two versions of the popular mobile operating system.
Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
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.
BlackBerry 7 OS
BlackBerry 7 OS is the latest mobile operating system by Research In Motion, officially released in May 2011. BlackBerry was the market leader in Smartphone arena for quite some time and won the hearts and minds of the enterprise user the most. With the new developments of Android and iOS, BlackBerry started to lose their market share. One can safely assume that RIM is trying to regain its position as the legendary Smartphone provider with the latest updates to its operating systems, and the keyboard less smart phones. However, much speculation was made on the availability of QNX (The operating system available with BlackBerry PlayBook) with BlackBerry 7 OS. To the disappointment of many, BlackBerry OS is only an update to the previous BlackBerry OS 6 and does not include QNX operating system.
BlackBerry 7 OS is mainly targeted for the new BlackBerry Bold platform, and the OS is introduced with BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 Smartphone’s. Legacy support for BlackBerry 7 OS will not be available, meaning that older devices will not get updates of the new OS. According to RIM, this is because the OS and the underlying hardware are tightly coupled.
The Home screen is not very different from the BlackBerry 6 OS. All available applications can be viewed by scrolling vertically. The responsiveness of the screen is quite impressive. The Icons appear larger and clearer t han before.
Universal search is also enhanced in BlackBerry OS 7. Contacts email, audio, and video can now be searched by voice commands. This enhancement will be advantageous for the BlackBerry who is on the move mostly. Users can type in the relevant search terms, as well. The speed of search is also quite impressive. The search functionality can be used both for local search as well as web search.
The browser performance has also been improved on BlackBerry OS 7. Heavy web pages can be easily loaded, and pinch to zoom is also impressively precise. According to the press release by RIM, the BlackBerry 7 browser includes a Just in Time java-script compiler to enable the resulted speed in browsing. The new enhancements to browser include enhancements to HTML 5 support such as HTML 5 video.
The NFC capability with BlackBerry 7 OS is probably the most exciting feature on the new version of BlackBerry OS. The NFC capability will allow users to make electronic payments via their BlackBerry phone with a simple swipe. Since competitors to BlackBerry such as Android and iOS are enthusiastic about NFC support, this is a smart move by the BlackBerry Company.
The hardware accelerated graphics available on BlackBerry 7 OS is also another appealing factor. This hardware accelerated graphics are not new to BlackBerry OS. However, they are worth mentioning to any potential buyer and the quality of the graphics on BlackBerry OS 7 has a superior quality.
BlackBerry 7 OS introduces “BlackBerry Balance Technology”. It allows users to separate official work and personal work on a single device. This will be a much appreciated feature for BlackBerry addicts who would have used another phone for personal work. Users are given the freedom to use personal email, social networking applications such as Twitter, Facebook etc and games. Additional applications for BlackBerry OS 7 can be downloaded from BlackBerry App World. Blackberry has improved the App world, as well. The new version of the Blackberry App world 3.0.
Messenger 6 is already loaded with BlackBerry OS 7. It integrates well with 3rd party applications and allows users to chat and find friends efficiently.
Overall, BlackBerry OS 7 is a positive enhancement to the existing BlackBerry OS family. While keeping the corporate friendly approach, RIM has understood the need to make the operating system a consumer friendly, as well.