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How Do New Features in Android 4 Compare to iOS 5?

How Do New Features in
Android 4 Compare to iOS 5?
Android has been considered by some as second to iOS, but Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest release of Google’s OS, could turn the tables on Apple. Google has released the newest version of Android which improves the user experience and introduces a new, streamlined interface. Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) bridges the gap between Google’s phone OS (Gingerbread 2.3) and tablet OS (Honeycomb 3.0) and presents itself as a jack of all trades, able to run well on both form factors. The new OS is impressive to say the least, but is it good enough to top iOS 5? We look into some of the things Google accomplished in ICS and some areas where it could still use some work.
Android Finally Has a Great Menu System
The menus in iOS have often been touted as superior to Android, but this could change - the new ICS menu system is faster, better looking, and more powerful than any previous Android release. A new notification system is leaps and bounds ahead of iOS and adds the ability to clear notifications by swiping them off the screen. Even though ICS has a new look, it still runs great on older devices, as shown by a Nexus S - it’s even a modded version of Android 4.0.3; the official release will likely run even better. Though iOS is still a reliable and efficient platform, they seem to be playing catch-up to Google in terms of some features. Apple could feel challenged if new features don't arise in iOS 6, for Android is quickly gaining ground.
Android Now Has Better
Task Switching

We have to hand it to Google on this one, the task manager found in ICS is a fantastic mix of form and function. One of the complaints we’ve seen with iOS is the time it takes to close apps – you have to go through a couple of second’s worth of interactions before you can close even a single application. ICS has learned from this and introduces the App Switcher, which appears as one of the three dedicated on-screen buttons. When pressed, it brings up a list of thumbnails representing each running app - just flick the image off the screen and the app is instantly closed. It’s very satisfying and both easier and faster than the method found in iOS.
Android 4.0 Ushers in the Age of Wireless NFC Payments
Using NFC (Near Field Communication) allows you to use a phone as a credit card and share content with your friends. Android is the first phone OS to take advantage of this technology and incorporates Google Wallet, one of the most promising mobile payment systems to date. Though it is currently only available on the Sprint Nexus 4G, Google plans on rolling it out to more devices soon. Android 4.0 also incorporates new uses for NFC, such as Beam, which allows you to share content with other NFC-equipped devices just by tapping the phones together. NFC support is noticeably lacking in iOS devices, though there are persistent rumors that it may come in future versions. But until then, if you want NFC support the only way you can get it is through Android.
Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference
Google has introduced many cool features and programs to the Android repertoire and we feel these warrant a bit of recognition. Some new stuff you’ll find;
  • A Data Usage Monitor allows you to monitor how much you’ve downloaded as well as setting a data cap so that you don’t go over your monthly plan.
  • Deep social integration is present in ICS and allows you to interact with Twitter, Tumblr, Dropbox, and LinkedIn.
  • Google Music was updated briefly before the release of ICS and adds the ability to store your tunes in the cloud (even if they weren’t purchased from their music store).
  • The updated Camera app in ICS allows for full Panoramic pictures, a feature that is not yet available in iOS.
  • ICS introduces Face Unlock, which allows you to quickly unlock your device by taking a snapshot of your face. Unfortunately, it hasn’t shown to be incredibly secure; holding a picture of the phone’s owner will also unlock the device.
  • Google has updated their Voice Action software, which allows it to accomplish a lot of what Siri does and more, though perhaps without the attitude.
  • If you’re interested in reading more about the changes in Android 4.0, take a look at this extensive guide from Google themselves.
Conclusion
Ice Cream Sandwich is a huge step forward for Android but will only succeed if the update can be installed on a majority of Android devices. As this process is being carried out we may see signs that the new OS is not as flexible or adaptable as Google had hoped, and the problem of fragmentation will present itself again. However, if Android 4.0 is properly ported to enough Android devices, then Apple could have a real problem on its hands, for ICS has the usability and the looks to challenge the Jobsian status quo.

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