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Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich and What It Means for Developers

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The recent release of Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS, Android 4.0) marks a significant milestone of Android platform development. In this article Shane Conder and Lauren Darcey, authors of Android Wireless Application Development, 2nd Edition, look at ICS from a developer's perspective, examining the SDK and updated development tools.

Shane Conder and Lauren Darcey are serving as the technical chairs of the Voices That Matter Android Developer's Conference, February 9-10, 2012, San Francisco, CA.

Voices That Matter Android Developer's Conference




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The Android platform has evolved at an astonishing rate over the past three years. The recent release of Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS, Android 4.0) marks a significant milestone of Android platform development. ICS is a highly anticipated major update to the platform that merges the smartphone-centric Gingerbread release with the more tablet and tv-centric Honeycomb release. The SDK and tools for building Ice Cream Sandwich-compliant applications has just become available for developers; the release will be rolled out to user's hands later this fall on a slew of exciting new Android devices as well as through firmware updates. (No, we don't have exact dates yet, either.)

Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0)

What's New In Ice Cream Sandwich for Users?

As developers know, a focus on user features is an important component for keeping Android the #1 mobile development platform in the world. Most developers are also Android users. So let's take a few moments to review some of the most important user features that ICS introduces. These features are likely to drive sales and developers that incorporate them into their applications are likely to benefit more than those who simply port their existing applications to the platform as-is.

The Android development team has continued to focus on polish and performance for this release, making the platform more easily navigable, customizable, and predictable. The laudable goal of the Android design team is a frustration-free experience, and this goal is one that Android developers should take to heart and incorporate into their own application design goals.

Text is more readable with the new Roboto font, and textual input via keyboard and voice have received overhauls as well. Users will be very pleased with the many updates to camera support, the ability to monitor and manage device data usage down to individual apps (yes, yours too), improved social and contact data integration with the platform, feature-filled updates to all the core Google apps like Gmail and the Browser, and an abundance of other compelling new features that ICS brings to the table.

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