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Android Ice Cream Sandwich: The 13 Biggest Changes To Version 4.0 Of Google's Mobile OS (PICTURES, VIDEO)

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 10/19/11 04:12 PM ET   Updated: 12/19/11 05:12 AM ET

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.”

See the biggest new features Google's Android 4.0 has to offer (below), then check out Samung's Galaxy Nexus, the first device built specifically for Ice Cream Sandwich. For a look at Android's biggest U.S. competitor, take a look through our slideshow of the most important things you need to know about Apple's iOS 5.

What do you think of Android 4.0? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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What's different about camera functions in Android 4.0? A whole lot, starting with Instagram-esque photo-editing tools and deeper integration with social networks. TechCrunch is gaga over the improvements, lauding the "image stabilization, improved autofocus, and integration with other apps for sending photos or instant upload to Google+. Oh, and who could forget built-in face detection, panorama and time lapse modes, and on-the-fly photo retouching and enhancements." Like Apple's new iOS 5, Android users will also be able to access the camera right from the lock screen.
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