Six tasty changes make Ice Cream Sandwich right for work | ITBusiness.ca. (No longer available online. Original text included below.)
Android phones now make up over half of all smartphone sales. Each year, Google updates Android with new features, as well as cosmetic changes. This years update to Android 4.0, referred to as Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), contains numerous changes that make Android friendlier than ever, and that may make you more productive. Here are six of the most notable changes that will make you want a new Android phone, or have you hoping your’s is upgradable.
Data Usage Monitoring
With unlimited data plans you didn’t need to be concerned about how data intensive your apps were. No worrying about syncing via WiFi instead of while on the road. With unlimited data now a rarity, knowing your data usage is important. ICS not only includes an app for viewing your usage, but for estimating if you’ll exceed your limit. It even allows you to setup alerts to let you know when you’re approaching your limit, and gives you the ability to cap your usage so you don’t incur additional charges.
If your work involves capturing images, ICS adds a big improvement. Where current versions of Android generally require you to unlock the phone and then open an app to take pictures, ICS will have the ability to activate the camera from the lock screen. It will also include “zero shutter lag”, allowing you to capture multiple shots quickly, and more easily capture what you are seeing, instead of pressing a button, waiting a second or two, and missing what you hoped to capture.
Chances are you do most of your web browsing on a desktop or laptop computer. You never know when you’ll want to access what you’ve bookmarked. Bookmark sync between your computers Chrome browser and ICS allows you to have access to all your bookmarks no matter where you are, bringing your on the road experience one step closer to your office capabilities.
Using the on-screen keyboard to take notes or fill in forms can be challenging, especially on phones with small and medium size screens. ICS brings big improvements to the stock keyboard, making it more accurate in capturing your taps, as well as offering improved auto-correction for when it doesn’t get it quite right.
Speech to Text
Speech to text is not new to Android, but improvements in ICS make it much easier and more powerful. Instead of speaking, and then waiting for the translation, text is now converted while you speak, and pauses won’t automatically end your input. This makes speech input in virtually any app, especially dictation type apps, far more appealing and useful.
Getting voicemail on the road is quite common, and ICS adds improvements to make dealing with them better. The ability to speed up the playback of your voicemail, allowing you to more quickly make it through a long message. You’ll also see voicemails listed in your call log. An API has been added that will allow developers to have voicemails transcribed, so a carrier could enable its voicemail system to include this “visual voicemail” feature, much like Google Voice users have had for some time.