Android version 4 is a huge, huge for developers. According to the difference of the API reports, Android 4.0 has 1219 total changes in Android 3.2, or a whopping total of 3,262 changes since the last major phone launch, Android 2.3.3. Here are some of the most important improvements:
- Unified API for tablets and phones. Android 3 was just for tablets, so most developers took a pass on it. Android 4 is for two phones and tablets. This means you will run into 10 or 100 million devices at this time next year, unlike Android 3, which can be found in less than 5 million. The first Ice Cream Sandwich phone is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Although not announced, would not surprise me if the first Android tablet for 4 was the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or 8.9.
- Social API. Instead of picking winners and the ability to support one or two providers of social media, Google decided not to take sides. Provide an open API so that suppliers can connect, and developers can share the content with or invite members of social platforms, without having to know by name.
- Android Beam. Based on NFC (Near Field Communication) technology called Push NDEF two Android phones in the vicinity (about 4 cm) can securely exchange contacts, websites, videos or any other application defines the information that you can imagine .
- Accessibility. Finally, Android is getting some real accessibility features. The big one is a way to explore-by-touch that allows users with vision loss to explore the screen by touching and dragging your finger across the screen to hear the voice descriptions of their contents. Handshakes between your application and framework for providing accessibility information for screen readers.
- VPN client API. One of my hobbies with Android has been the inability to access my work VPN from my tablets and Android phones. Support for proprietary protocols such as Cisco IPsec VPN was not in the open source Android is based, and could not add one yourself unless the roots of the device and change the kernel configuration. Well, now you can do vendors such as Cisco VPN pluggable providers that are installed as regular applications without root access or special agreements with manufacturers.
I could list tons of other important features like a calendar API, API visual voicemail, AL OpenMAX, camera features, new codecs for VP8 WebP and streaming, peer to peer WiFi, GridLayout, views, texture, hover events, spell checking plugin, a keychain API, and more, but I will not. Ok, I think I just did.
And do not forget, Android 4 includes all the features first introduced for Android 3 tablets as fragments, rich notifications, renderScript, device encryption, 3D acceleration in 2D pipe, and so on. But enough talk! Go get the SDK and see for yourself.
One last tip: if you use the Android emulator 4, I recommend you use a mask that has a small screen. The Android emulator 4, 3 Android emulator as before, is quite slow, and the bigger the screen becomes slower emulated. So instead of choosing the skin WXGA720 (1280 × 720), you may want to use the traditional WVGA800 a (480 × 800), most of the time. Also note that if you use a skin that has no hardware buttons, press Start to the Start button, ESC for the Back button and F2 or Page Up to menu button. Okay, that was 98 words advice, but who's counting.
For more information, including at least 98 more characteristics of the user and the developer, see: