Samsung Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.0 hands on review
Ice Cream Sandwich – buttons begone
The physical (or touch) buttons that have come to define Android handsets are gone. The new virtual buttonry is reduced to mere dots when running full-screen apps and is as beautifully unintrusive as we imagine its creators intended. Fear not, Gingerbread upgraders: Android 4.0 will still support physical/touch buttons, too. You can buy a Motorola RAZR with impunity.
Galaxy Nexus – Anroid Beam
What’ll change the world more, Apple’s Siri voice assistant or Google’s Android Beam? Certainly our first impressions suggest that Siri needs quite a bit of work to make it beyond its mildly-diverting-and-occassionally-useful-gimmick beta. But Android Beam is also hobbled: Google’s NFC-enabled sharing platform won’t mature until all your mates have NFC phones (ie. Nexus phones).
At least Beam is open-source, but we haven’t seen the explosion of NFC-based fun we were promised when the Nexus S came along, and there’s little reason to believe we’ll all be tapping each other’s phones to swap contacts and pictures before the next Nexus iteration arrives. Of course, once tap-to-pay makes NFC indispensible, we’ll eat those words, but whether that will even become mainstream by the end of 2013 (the expected launch window of Google’s sixth phone) remains doubtful.