Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwich...yum

I know that this is becoming more of a tech blog than a studying for the bar blog, but honestly, there is not much drama going on during my current studies.  Therefore, to spice things up a bit, here are some news from Google, android, and Samsung.

For those that are not obsessed with tech news, Google has a mobile OS platform named android that launched some 3 years ago.  They partnered up with a variety of carriers and manufacturers, in a broad approach similar to Microsoft in the computer world.  This OS is currently the dominant one in the smartphone arena, with notable examples being the Droid line of smartphones from Verizon, and the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II from Samsung available on most major carriers.

These phones, unlike Apple's iPhone line, are customized by the carriers and manufacturers to have distinguishing characteristics.  Be it HTC, a large Taiwanese manufacturer, with their Sense user interface, Motorola with their Motoblur, or Samsung and Touchwiz, each vendor and carrier modifies the baseline android system to suit their needs.  However, a couple of years ago, Google launched their Nexus One phone, which they designed in cooperation with HTC.  This is a so-called "pure android experience" phone, without any added touches from manufacturers or carriers, and became the more desired phone by those in the know.

Google tried selling the Nexus One directly to consumers, but it failed miserably.  Originally supposed to be available on three of the major carriers, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, it basically only launched on T-Mobile.  Google also gave up on the idea of selling these themselves.  A year later, Google returned with the Nexus S, this time by Samsung.  It featured a curved design, and it became available eventually on three of the big four - Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile.

Google and Samsung were supposed to unveil their newest Nexus phone along with the new iteration of the OS, this time dubbed ICS for Ice Cream Sandwich, last week, but in honor of Steve Jobs passing, they postponed the event for today.  Google has been naming the various versions of the OS after snacks, starting with Donut, then Eclair, Froyo (frozen yogurt), Gingerbread, Honeycomb (for tablets), and now ICS.  At an event in Hong Kong, Samsung unveiled its Galaxy Nexus, again a curved phone with some very fancy specs.

But the real star of the show is the freshly revamped Ice Cream Sandwich.  Boasting a top-down redesign, including a new typeface (Roboto), button-less interface (the buttons are configured on the fly and are part of the screen), new face recognition unlock of the phone and a bunch of fresh new features, ICS brings some very compelling changes to android.

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