Top 10 Super Apps for Android's Ice Cream Sandwich

Android 4.0, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich, is the latest and best Android operating system experience to date. It is super slick, more intuitive and vastly superior to Google's previous luscious treats, such as 'Gingerbread' (Android 2.3) and Froyo (Android 2.2 ). While less than1% percent of Android smartphone owners are using Ice Cream Sandwich, many manufacturers are promising upgrades to Android 4.0 in the nest few months. This may explain why very few apps have been upgraded to take advantage of everything the new operating system. Google has recently launched its first style guide for Android app developers, which provides ways to enhance apps using the new features. The few apps that have been developed showcase the wonderful features of the Operating System

Advances in Ice Cream Sandwich

Improved multi-tasking - The general user interface has been substantially enhanced, permitting users to navigate their smartphone or tablet with a variety of new gestures. You can close a specific app by utilising the flicking gesture that furthermore works to close specific notifications in the Notification Tray, which now displays photographs and has a variety of controls for music, so you no longer have to go to a special app to control the music. You can access the Notification Tray without the need to unlock your smartphone. All you have to do is to pull the tray down from the lock screen, and you can rapidly leap to new email or text message by simply tapping a notification.

Improved text input - A new supple keyboard has been applied, which showcases the much easier to decipher Roboto font, which is much better than the stale old Droid Serif utilised in most Android 2x devices. Google also claims to have enhanced the software application for text entry permitting faster and more accurate and has added more words to its dictionaries for the phrase suggestion database. however, there is still no split keyboard function.

Enhanced Voice Assistant Functions - This is not new to Android, but the technology has been improved for better dictation functions, which should make creating emails or looking for a contact much easier. It is not at the level of Apple's Siri, but it's getting closer with each enhancement.

Web browsing is much quicker and has more features - Ice Cream Sandwich permits users to sync and organise Google Chrome bookmarks, and save content for reading offline. Users can furthermore boost the browser zoom levels, get complete desktop versions of websites and change the default text dimensions for enhance readability. The page-rendering speed has been substantially increased, producing a much quicker general browsing experience.

Email much Improved - Google has improved email with auto-completion. Replying to emails is much better using a set of common responses available from the email app, such as - 'I am currently out of the office'). When making replies, users can toggle between ‘Reply All’ and ‘Forward', without having to change screens. The link to Gmail has been enhanced making it easier to attach photos, images and other files. Gmail users now have the ability to read emails and switch between conversations, all while remaining offline.

The People App Gathers all Contact Information together - The People app (formerly known as Contacts) drags all the details about contacts into a set of 'contact cards'. These cards show your contact’s videos, photos and status position as well as their latest postings on Google+ and any many other social networking platforms.

Interactive widgets - The new interactive widgets means that users can access live content at their fingertips,instead of having to open various individual apps. These widgets are now resizable which allows much greater flexibility.

One Sandwich for both tablets and smartphones - This is great for developers as 'one size fits all 'rather but the screen size limitations still apply.

Camera - Now users can get instant access to the camera from the home screen. The camera has also been upgraded to offer a panorama feature, plus automatic face detection and a digital zoom slider.

Enhanced gallery - This has improved editing. Videos now support continuous autofocus, 1080p format and the ability to zoom while recording.

Wi-Fi Direct support - This lets users connect directly to nearby devices via Wi-Fi, for more reliable, communication with higher-speeds. No Internet connection or tethering is required.

Top Ten Apps

AirDroid (free) - Provides an easier and fasterway to swap files to and from your smartphone to your PC/Mac using WiFi. Your phone becomes a seamless resource and destination for your computer. The app established a folder for your phone and your desktop. It then automatically syncs everything you place into the folder.


Ice Cream Sandwich Browser Plus (free) - You may be initially satisfied with the enhanced browser in Android 4.0, but this app provides a new level of enhancements. It provides better features such as the ability to define a master User Agent (to tablet, desktop, tablet, or smartphone) for enhanced browsing, access to additional Quick Controls, ability to use volume buttons for scrolling, and many new customize gestures.


JuiceDefender (free) - This app works in the background to optimize the power use and can extend battery life by hours. You can choose various options from disabling 3G/4G connectivity and re-schedule synchronization events. There is also a paid version with enhanced capability.


MX Video Player (free) - This player provides support for just about every video file ever invented. One neat feature is that it uses a swipe-based control panel and hides the buttons when videos are being played.


Netflix (free) - One version is available that fixes bugs and other problems. It offers reviews, playback, a Netflix queue, and easy search.


PowerAmp - This is an outstanding music player for Android, that is extremely powerful and has a hosts of wonderful features. It includes a 10-band graphical equalizer, compatibility with than 10 music formats, tag editing, scrobbling, tag editing, and a beautiful interface with many standard and customizable themes. This will appeal to all music lovers as an outstanding, and fully featured application.


Riptide GP ($2.99) - this game is one of the few on smartphones that feature water in the background because previously they were too demanding for smartphones. This is an addictive racing game where jet skis race though water courses.


Secret Box (free) - This app provides extra security and allows you to send text messages, shoot videos, make calls, store photos from your own password-protected vault


Tiny Flashlight + LED (free) - This turns your smartphone into a very smart flashlight. Many people already use their phone for this purpose simply using the screen display. Various options from customizable colors, pulses, Morse code and partly lights


TweetCaster for Twitter (free) - This expands the official Titter app by allowing enhanced searches, retweeting, various content filters and many more features.

UPDATE

Chrome for Android - Google has just recently made available a beta version of Chrome for Android, which is significant break-through that brings together Google's more significant projects. The new browser can be accessed via the Android market to avoid the delay from cell phone manufacturers through an upgrade process. It only works on Ice Cream Sandwich.

Chrome for Android runs using the desktop V8 JavaScript motor. It also incorporates gesture controls for navigating multiple tabs, and other controls. The Android version synchronizes with Chrome on the desktop. Plug-ins such as Google's own Native Client and Adobe's Flash Player and are excluded from the Android version. With its enhanced presentation and good characteristics, Google anticipates Android users to increase their search activity using Chrome.

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© 2012 Dr. John Anderson

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