On Friday, Google announced 4.0.3 as the next incremental update to hit Ice Cream Sandwich, the colloquial name for its Android 4.x platform. This update features various bug fixes, optimizations and a handful of new APIs for developers.
Some of the new things in 4.0.3 are:
- A "Social stream API in Contacts provider" which leverages social networking for developers, allowing them to show users what their friends are doing while tying in photos and contact information.
- Improvements for calendar providers: Apps can now color calendar events and utilize ne attendee types and states.
- Add camera capabilities: Apps can now manage and check for video stabilization. They may also use QVGA resolution profiles.
- Improved accessibility: Screen readers can access more content and will enjoy text-to-speech status and error reporting.
- Improve user experience: Small improvements and bug fixes for graphics, database, spell-checking, Bluetooth, and more.
This iterative improvement comes just after last week's news of 4.0.2 being released for the Galaxy Nexus (the International version). This is illustrative of the lag-time between Google, manufacturers and end-users as companies mull over each release to ensure compatibility with their handsets and their own Android customizations. Verizon's version of the Galaxy Nexus actually shipped with 4.0.2 already pre-loaded.
Ice Cream Sandwich itself brought many new and exciting features to the mobile platform. ICS improvements include a streamlined lock screen with facial recognition, ad-hoc-style wireless communication between devices and on-screen controls which eliminate the necessity for hardware-based navigation buttons. Google also aimed to improve the overall user experience by including to a new system-wide font labeled "Roboto" as well as redesigning and adding features to many of the platform's native apps.