Earlier this week, Samsung and Google finally unveiled the phone Android fans have been waiting for since the Nexus One was launched a few years back. For whatever reason, the device in between – the Nexus S – didn’t quite have the same buzz about it. The Galaxy Nexus – formerly knowns as the Nexus Prime – was displayed for all to see with a brand new operating system: Android 4.0.
Ice Cream Sandwich brings a new threat to iOS. It’s the one OS to end the fragmentation row, and one which finally brings a less nerdy look to Android. Whatever your preference, no one can deny that iOS has always appeared more polished than its main competitor in the platform market. Now, you can call me a fanboy all you want for thinking that, but I wouldn’t be the only one to hold that opinion.
Android is not a bad operating system, and I don’t hate it. I used it before iOS and have used it alongside, but in the end always went back to the iPhone for day-to-day use. It wasn’t like I didn’t give Google’s OS a fair chance either. I used version 1, 1.5, 2.1 and 2.2. I used it over a period of 2+ years, which I think is a fair go. I know I’m not the only one that thinks this: it never stopped feeling like I was beta testing. The fact is, I prefer to use iPhone. I believe you need to give as many operating systems a try, to really discover what suits you. But this post isn’t about my preferences, it just helps to lay the foundation for my opinion.
With the Google’s newest Nexus device, we get a pure Android experience which completely changes the way I look at the operating system. Instead of the green and black, techy, in depth looking hackers’ OS, it looks refined. For the first time, the stock Android experience is one of class, clarity and beauty. I’m almost running out of adjectives, I just simply cannot believe the transformation that’s taken place and I think Apple should be worried. Android no longer looks like it’s trying too hard with cluttering widgets. It’s a lot more understated. Widgets look to blend in to the home screen instead of jumping out of it, attempting to grab your attention. Undoubtedly, on the Galaxy Nexus, it’s going to perform well too. It will be fast and efficient. I mean, they’ve had a few years to refine it, and this could well be Android’s finest hour. Frankly, this makes iOS look like a dinosaur.
So why should Apple be worried? Not only does the OS look a lot more clear and functional, it has been launched to end fragmentation issues. Devices after this should get updates quicker, meaning that no more Motorola, Samsung, HTC or Sony Ericsson customers will be tempted to leave in frustration of waiting for the latest OS update. Clearly iOS is already losing the market share war. Android is way ahead on that front. But, Apple’s platform is still holding its own – it’s just not making any ground as Google’s platform stretches its lead.
It does then encourage some interesting questions. Is iOS enough as it is now? It’s been virtually the same since it launched in 2007. Sure, some new – and much needed – features have been added. The new drop-down notification centre is a winner. However, is the constant irremovable grid of apps still the best way forward? Microsoft went all modern and flash with Windows Phone 7, Palm introduced an awesome cards system in webOS, and Android has this: the first Google update that’s tempted me back to Android since I got rid of my G2 earlier this year.
What are your thoughts? Is the Nexus and ICS combo enough to tempt you away from your beloved Apple handset? Let me know your thoughts on this. Tweet me: @TiP_Cam