Ice cream digest

icsfeatures

Ice cream sandwich has finally arrived! Yes I know that it’s not a last hours news, but preferred to wait a while before writing something on it. Here I don’t want to talk about the native application like photo editor & co. but I want focus on what’s going to change for developers (and designers too).

Roboto

With ICS Google has introduced a new typeface replacing Droid Sans, this new one is called Roboto (following the droid naming). In the image below you can see the difference between the old and new Android typeface.

DroidRoboto

Droid vs Roboto

As you can see Roboto is very beautiful but also very similar to Helvetica  and Myriad too, so someone is begin to criticizing it, but I think that the similarities among typefaces are everywhere so we can pass over.

 ”optimized for high-resolution screens improves readability and brings a polished, modern feel to the user interface.” – Android dev team

Android Beam

Android Beam

Another important feature is that comes with ICS is the Android Beam, a sharing system based on NFC (remember 0-click?). With this very useful feature we can share what we are doing with our phone to other phone (Android Beam-enabled), e. g. you can share a Youtube Video, Maps, web pages, scores, market apps, and so on. Here you can see how it works.

Social integration

Google in this version added new Social API and Calendar API. The first lets developer to read and update in a simple way all the profile updates and photos of the contacts, and the second one give a similar way to manipulate the user calendar.

Hardware acceleration

Finally is been introduced the most waited hardware acceleration so that all the applications can benefit from it.

No hardware buttons

On Galaxy Nexus there are no hardware buttons, in facts on the screen are displayed the three buttons (Back, Home, Tasks) like Honeycomb. But… what happen to the “old” phones?

“ICS does have onscreen buttons but not always. If there’s a device with hardware buttons the onscreen buttons won’t be there, and the hardware buttons will act and function as you’d expect them to…. back and home will function as you’d expect, the search button will query the search bar (as you’d expect), and the menu button will query the menu overflow in the action bar.” – someone from Google

So don’t worry about, we have not (yet) to trash our phone.

Now you do not seem worried, but think… how works the “old” app on the phones with no buttons? for back and home (and search) there are no problems, but for the menu button? How can I access to my menu actions? Again, don’t worry, magically, when you use the apps not based on the new API, three dots appear on the right (or on the top if in landscape mode) of the tasks button, and as the same function of the old menu button.

That’s all, there will be other considerations only when Google will release the upgrade for my Nexus S.

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