Google’s ‘Ice-Cream Sandwich’ finally arrives

icecreamGoogle and Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Nexus, the first device to run Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, which has been designed to work equally well on smartphones as tablets. Now available to Android users as the release moves onto more devices: NFC support, an updated browser, slicker Gmail app — and under the covers a single experience that ultimately will span the entire Android device universe.

“You won’t believe what we’ve managed to get done in this release,” Google CEO Larry Page enthused during Google’s earnings meeting last week (CP: Google puts Q3 emphasis on Google+ and Android Ice Cream Sandwich).

A full list of new features includes:

– Android Beam feature, which, using NFC technology, lets users share YouTube videos, maps and apps by tapping their phones against friends’;

– a desktop-class browser, said to be “significantly faster” and allow the synching of bookmarks with Chrome;

– “the best Gmail experience to date,” per Google, with a quicker way to swipe through the inbox and search offline;

– a redesigned Calendar, with a cleaner look and the ability to zoom into details with a pinch;

– a brand-new font, optimized for HD displays;

– built-in Google+;

– adaptable software buttons that take the place of physical buttons; and

– resizable widgets and and notifications that are more interactive.

These are paired with, again as expected, a svelte, 8.84mm-thick handset with an ever-so-gently curved 4.65-inch display, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, and compatibility with LTE or HSPA+ 4G technology. red, though the rumor mill is putting it at three bills, with a contract.

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