Android 4.0 details and devices revealed

Since the initial unveil of Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich”, plenty of details have spilled out from manufacturers, carriers, and Google itself. With every new version of Android comes a lot of questions as to whether it’ll support older devices or certain features, so we’ll try to clear up some of that confusion here.

First, let’s start with some features that Google didn’t really spotlight in their initial unveil. Native stylus support is one of these features, building hooks into the Android API to recognize between a pen and fingertip as well as respond specifically to touches with differing pressure. This software-level integration piggybacks on initial ideas from the HTC Flyer and Samsung Galaxy Note, but still places the impetus on manufacturers to provide hardware solutions. Another feature that wasn’t well explained was the barometer in the Galaxy Nexus, which Android engineer Dan Morrill explains provides altitude readings to the GPS program to more rapidly acquire the user’s location by satellite.

Recently announced Droid RAZR

Manufacturer distribution of firmware updates to Android have been spotty in the past, but this version seems to have much more promise as far as widespread adoption is concerned. In fact, Director of Android User Experience Matias Duarte said that 4.0 “theoretically should work for any 2.3 [Gingerbread] device” The following devices are confirmed to either release with Android 4.0 or be updated in the future, though firm dating is universally ambiguous:

Finally, a list of carriers that the Galaxy Nexus has grown over the past week through leaks and directly from carriers. So far, the device should be coming to Verizon, NTT Docomo, Three UK, Vodafone, and O2 in November.
Source: Engadget

Motorola Xoom Family Edition launches on Sunday for $379

Motorola is about to unleash a new version of its Xoom Android tablet. It is a basic repackage of the original Xoom, which didn’t blow any minds upon release, but the new version has the most important feature they could possibly add, a price drop.

This new version, the Xoom Family Edition, also comes packed with a bunch of pre-installed software, which could really be seen as a pro or a con.

Full spec sheet:

  • Runs on Android 3.1, built specifically for tablets
  • 1GHz dual-core processor for lightning-fast responsiveness
  • 10.1” HS IPS HD screen display with capacitive multi-touch
  • 5MP back camera with flash, with 720p video webcam
  • 16GB built-in memory
  • Battery lasts up to 10 hours for video playback and Web browsing
  • Access to more than 250,000 apps in Android Market

Pre-loaded software:

  • Preloaded with almost $40 worth of applications, plus Zoodles™, the award-winning Kid Mode application
  • Preloaded with MotoPack by Motorola XOOM (App Downloader by Motorola)
  • Preloaded with Quickoffice™ Pro HD for seamless productivity at work
  • Preloaded with MotoPrint – the application that allows you to print straight from the Web browser
  • Preloaded with fun games like Asphalt 6 from Gameloft and SIM City Deluxe

Source: Motorola