Ice Cream Sandwich On Samsung Nexus S – A Quick Review

I haven’t been a user of Android since a long time. Only had the overview of devices once in a while. Though I’ve tried both Froyo and Gingerbread before tasting Ice Cream Sandwich (will continue as ICS in the post because of obvious reasons), Gingerbread was the smoothest and apps crashed less on it. As I said before, I haven’t had a deep hands on Android so maybe that is just bad development of app or a bad update maybe but can’t blame on either of it as I need to know more detailed overview. Here is a quick take on ICS on Samsung Nexus S. So, here we go:

The initial snap of homescreen [with and without the live wallpaper],


Here you can see that the overall look from Gingerbread has been changed. The initial look and feel of Gingerbread on Nexus S used yellow color as a base theme color, but on ICS it uses a shade of blue. Looks “cool”. Even the icon design of network and battery charging indicator seems to be changed a bit other than the color. The one thing you should probably notice is the Google search bar on top. It’s NOT a widget. That is a permanent search bar stuck on top. Tapping the mic on the right corner opens up a dialogue box of Google Voice Search which is actually very sad to use sometimes, but it interestingly has many options of languages and even for English it has 8 options consisting of Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, US and Generic (and Pig-Latin, also). The 5 icons shown below are Phone, People, Menu, Messaging and Browser. The phone screen looks something like this,

The one thing I hated in Android the most has shown a lot of improvement than before, the dialer. Looks better, feels better, and is not laggy as it was. At least I felt so.

The Menu screen has been totally revamped than what it was before. The animation, the UI, the everything! At first it felt like its running on some launcher with steroids! Here are some snaps,

There has been an eye-catching change for me here. The app market icon on the top right corner. It directly opens up the market. The animation is also pretty obvious to you from the above 2 snaps. Sliding from right to left and it moves up as a layer. Animation, smooth and slick. Though looks too fancy as a default menu style, its pretty cool as per looking at the number of users having the need to install those fancy launchers on their phones. I slightly felt like this was the ‘fixed’ version of Metro UI of Windows Phone. Had the same concept of sliding from right to left, no oversized fonts and the scroll-bar showing the movement. Also, as the 3rd screenshot shows, the widgets have been also included in the menu. The placing towards the home-screen is the same though, long press and place on home-screen as wished. The next thing two things I had a look at was a) Lockscreen and b) Settings Menu. First, let’s have a look at the lockscreen.

The concept is very interesting and the animations too but the lock-screen on gingerbread was much more comfortable to use. Maybe they “had” to change the swipe to unlock patented by Apple? Maybe.

As you see, moving the locked lock on the unlocked one unlocks the screen but now we see here is a new option of directly opening the camera from lock-screen. Maybe that option is editable, need to check that out though. Also, a very interesting change was the slide down notification bar which can be accessed right from the lock-screen.

Now, let’s go to Settings.

Yeah its usual with the switching of Bluetooth and blah blah of UI and what caught my attention here was  this:

Developer options (Yay to those dev geeks)! Some of these are really usable when the app is in developement stage and if it is getting tested. Like Pointer location, Show touches, Show screen updates, Show CPU usage, Force GPU rendering. I hope?

Some of the very interesting changes included were some bar charts included which show your usage. Check these, here I go on Settings > Battery/Storage/Data usage/Apps:

In the data usage section, you can move those colored bars to set your limit. Cool eh?

The app info section is pretty much the same as it was.

The update screen didn’t seem interesting too.

And also, not to miss the “About” screen.

Now I go on to the default browser. Browser didn’t show much interesting changes to me. It must seem faster to the rest of y’all.

Oh yes, now you can Request desktop site. Useful enough eh? Hope that Opera developer team isn’t laughing on them.

Here is what the long press of Home soft key did to me,

Multi-tasking view or is the quick app selection view? I’m confused.

Last but not the least, the messaging app. Even the messaging app was almost the same except for some few design tweaks which didn’t affect me at all.

So this is all. A quick look on ICS. Seen something more interesting? Drop ’em in the comments section below!