There has been a lot of talk around the Internet about Google and questions as to why it hasn’t yet provided an upgrade for Android users in the latest release of its Ice Cream Sandwich. In general, the complaints revolve around companies being slow in releasing updates to the different formats at the same time. I feel that these complaints are justifiable and I can understand why users are frustrated. However, for those of us who can enjoy Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich, here are a few new features that have been added.
Invert Screen Rendering
Screen rendering inversion allows me to change the background of my Kindle application to black and the text to an easy-to-read shade of blue. This feature makes it easier to read my Kindle apps at night, and is now a standard component of ICS; you can access it by going into the browser’s setting tab and accessibility area.
Within this feature you are also given the opportunity to change the Contrast setting, which can benefit anyone who finds the default colors not to their liking.
Remove the Lock Screen
Older versions of Android phones were programmed with the lock screen feature enabled. Its purpose was to protect the user’s information, which is accessible when this feature is not enabled. However, if you are not worried about others being able to access your information and would prefer to remove the lock screen from your phone, it is easy to do. If you don’t have ICS and do not currently use a gesture, PIN, or password on your system, you can simply slide the lock screen open when you wish it to be inactive. On ICS, however, you can set the application to leave the lock screen open by going into Security and then choosing None next to the Screen Lock option.
Access Notifications from the Lock Screen
With ICS Android 4, you now have the ability to access your notifications from the Lock Screen. However, doing this can pose yet another security threat to your personal information. But if convenience is at the top of your must-have list, accessing your notifications is a simple procedure. Basically it only requires that you press the Power On button and then touch the Notifications icon. This will allow you to scroll down through your latest messages.
Set Up Your Own Personal Text Message to Reject Callers
In case you are one of those people who actually receive a phone call on your cellphone, ICS now includes a way to send the caller back a message via text. To do this, you simply answer the call and immediately hit the Lock Screen notification when it comes up. This will allow you to access a custom Reject Message area. This area, in turn, allows you to send the caller a customized message intended just for them.
Control Your Data Usage
Previously, this may not have been a hot issue, but this is quickly changing as more and more carriers are beginning to limit their data usage plans. With this in mind, Android 4.0 has added new controls for data usage, making it possible for you to monitor your data usage. For you to get a handle on your usage, go to your Settings application. Once the app is opened, you will find an area where you can set warnings for the amount of data being used for each application and where you will be able to set hard limits on data usage or disable mobile data at a certain usage point.
Enjoy a New Internet Browsing Experience
The Android browser is now offering an improved Internet experience, functioning in a manner reminiscent of a desktop browser and making it more user-friendly. In addition, for those of you using Google Chrome, it is now possible to sync any bookmarks that you have saved. This is a great feature since it means that you can now keep your favorite bookmarks (from any account) at your fingertips. Additionally, the programmers have now made it possible for you to override a browser’s text size, thereby enabling you to easily zoom in and out of Web articles. Last, according to Google, this feature allows for a 220% speed increase in rendering performance over older Android browsers.
Use Face Unlock
This feature reminds me of a biotech firm security measure intended for the masses. With Face Unlock, the screen uses your own face to unlock the device. To work, the Face Unlock technology takes advantage of the device’s front-facing camera, along with facial recognition technology, to register your face during setup. You just merely hold the phone up to your face and the screen unlocks. In case you are afraid of the software failing and locking you out of your device, you can relax. The programmer has already foreseen this possibility and has built in a backup PIN number just in case the facial recognition software fails.
How to Turn Automatic Icons Off
If you are one of the people who prefers to set up your own shortcuts, Google has designed a way for you to turn off the automatic appearance of newly installed application icons on your desktop. To turn this feature off, go to Google Play Application Settings and uncheck the Auto-add Shortcut feature.
View New Home Screen Folders Plus Favorites Tray
With Android 4, you can now group your applications and shortcuts together or, if you prefer, you can drag one onto the other. In the Application Launcher, simply drag and drop to uninstall or disable an application. For small screen devices, there is now a feature to keep your Favorites tray visible across all screens, making it easy to access your favorite applications.
Favorites tray is now available from any screen
Use the New Camera Application with Plenty of Improvements
The Camera application on my current Android Gingerbread system has a noticeable delay when taking pictures. This is a thing of the past if you are using the new ICS since this new application takes pictures immediately and without any lag time. In addition, you can now take video and snap shots at the same time. It’s a nice touch for those of us who depend on our smartphones to take photos on the go.
As you can see, the ICS is a great program and has more features than you probably know. However, don’t be discouraged if your cellphone manufacturer has no intention of upgrading your device to Ice Cream Sandwich because all is not lost. To find out how to easily you can change your existing Android version to an Android Ice Cream theme, just follow the directions that are included in a previous article I wrote, Android Ice Cream Sandwich: Do You Really Need It?
CC licensed Flickr photos above shared by abulhussain