On October 19 in Hong Kong, Google took the wraps off Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich), the biggest update to the company’s popular mobile operating system since the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 (aka “Honeycomb”) debuted in early 2011.
The Ice Cream Sandwich release brings a new focus on ease-of-use and aesthetics. While Android 3.0 focused solely on large-screen mobile devices, Android 4.0 improves many of those features and scales them down for use on mobile phones, too. “We tried to create a palette and a language and a sense of being that’s clean and modern and graphic, but isn’t a straightjacket.” Matias Duarte, who head Android’s user experience team, told This Is My Next. “We’ve taken what Honeycomb has done and pumped up the snooty design quotient, and we’ve toned down the geeky nerd quotient. We’ve made it a lot more accessible. But we haven’t taken it in a new direction.”