What an iPhone User Expects From Ice Cream Sandwich

I know. Believe me, I know; you’re sick of reading about the iPhone. That’s cool with me. Trust me, I understand completely. Still, that’s what I’m going to write about, kind of. My expectations for Android 4.0, coming from a strong background with iOS.

If I haven’t already lost you, read on.

A Disclaimer

My first phone was the Motorola Droid. A week later I traded it in for the Droid Incredible. I’m familiar with Android as a whole, as I used it as my primary system for the better half of a year. I rooted my Incredible, flashed ROMs, et cetera. I’ve been around the block.

Eventually, though, issues with my Incredible drove me to the iPhone 4. Now I’m here, partly because I still desire that little bit of Android and partly because I feel that I should be familiar with all of the major, relevant ecosystems.

The Devices

Right now I’m using an Incredible, again. Not as my primary phone, but as an app machine and Android testing ground. In February I’m hoping to get the Galaxy Nexus, because I’m not holding my breath on the Incredible getting Ice Cream Sandwich any time soon.

3.5 inches? A little small. 4.3? Getting a little big. 4.65? Oh boy.

3.5 inches? A little small. 4.3? Getting a little big. 4.65? Oh boy.

I’m a bit worried about the Nexus. While I agree with a lot of you that the iPhone’s screen is a bit small, I’m worried that 4.65 inches will feel more like a mini-tablet and less like a pocketable phone. While our own Joe Casabona says that he can do everything on the phone with one hand, I’m not so sure that I’ll be able to do everything that I need to.

Enough about that, though. This is about Android.

Looking Forward To: Freedom

I never quite got used to the limitations that Apple places on the home screens. I understand that they want things to remain orderly, but I’m a bit bothered by the fact that organizing my apps the way that I like is a pain.

Not only can I add a widget, but I can resize it? Blasphemy.

Not only can I add a widget, but I can resize it? Blasphemy.

Not so with Android. I can do whatever I want; apps crawling up the side, forming a great big ‘F’, only filling the bottom of the screen; everything is an option. I may even add a widget or two (I know, I know; don’t tell my friends).

Looking Forward To: Look and Feel

I like the way iOS looks, don’t get me wrong. But it would be nice to get a taste of something different, much as I did with Windows Phone 7. Each operating system has a distinct look and feel, and I’m definitely looking forward to the changes in Ice Cream Sandwich.

The blue-on-black will probably be a breath of fresh air.

The blue-on-black will probably be a breath of fresh air.

While I enjoyed the way that Android looked before, anyone telling you that Android looked better pre-Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich is either blind or lying to you. Transitions appear to be nicer, the blue is much better than the green, and Roboto isn’t nearly the “frankenfont” that other blogs claim.

Worried About: Ecosystem

Clearly Android has some good applications; it’s our job here at Android.AppStorm to review them, so we wouldn’t exist without some variety of class. I’m looking forward to experiencing the best that the Android Market has to offer, as I’m sure developers can create some excellent applications, especially with the extra freedom that they have compared to iOS apps.

Still, I find myself worried, due to my past experiences. A lot of the apps that I downloaded to my Incredible were poorly designed at best, downright unbearable at worst. Hopefully Ice Cream Sandwich will solve this issue that I had, as I’d love to see some excellent apps on the Android platform.

Worried About: Jankiness

iOS has taught me to expect a couple of things: buttery-smooth scrolling and excellent touch responsiveness. By all accounts Android still hasn’t caught up to iOS in terms of scrolling smoothness. While this is a small detail on paper, ultimately it’s a minor irritant that quickly grows overwhelming when considered in context.

From what I’ve read this issue hasn’t been resolved with Ice Cream Sandwich, but I’m hoping that when I get the actual device I’ll be able to experience the improved scrolling and judge for myself.


When all is said and done, I’m glad that I find myself in a position to test all of the major operating systems and write about my experiences with them. I’m fond of aspects of each OS, and Android is no exception. Until I get Ice Cream Sandwich, though, I’m not entirely comfortable with judging Android.

I’m excited, though. This is going to be fun.

  • tobik

    Well I must say that when it comes to smoothness of scrolling, there is a huge improvement between Android 2.3 and 4.0. I have it right now on my Nexus S and especially the webbrowser is much much smoother. Generally, getting ICS on my NS was like getting a brand new phone. The whole environment is smoother, nicer, easier to use and more consistent. I like the new versions of core apps like Gallery, Gmail, GTalk or Text Messages and I hope that other developers will start to follow the ICS design guidelines as well.

  • Jon Garrett

    If smooth scrolling is most important to you; stay with the iPhone. If you want awesome hardware, massive customization, freedom and flexibility to use YOUR phone the way YOU want to go with Android.

  • Miro

    Its funny how IPhone say their phones are awesome in redaurds to screen size and that everything else is to big. But with the rumored IPhone 5 getting a larger screen….suddenly it awesome again. B.S.! The issue OS has with bigger screens is that they have no bottom control buttons. You always have to reach to the top right and left corners to go back or to bring up a menu. Terrible design, dont you think?

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      Interesting point about the corner buttons; I’d never thought of that.

    • Renil Ravindran

      True… :)

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  • Michael

    You could — if you want to dabble into the dark arts of achieving root and worse, installing a pre-release alpha build that has only just been released on Twitter — have a pretty solid Ice Cream Sandwich install on your HTC ‘Droid’ Incredible. I’ve been rocking this particular build on my now almost 2-year old Incredible since Paul’s tweet and it’s pretty phenomenal with only a couple stutters here and there.


    Just download both zips, perform a full nandroid backup of your current setup, flash the first zip (the custom ICS-based rom) and then, without booting up, restart and flash the second zip (the Google apps), and your set to go. Like I said earlier, I’ve been toying with this build all day, and haven’t noticed anything horrid, and it’s a great look into the future. It runs about as well as Cyanogen 7, performance-wise, and while it’s not quite as stable, I’m going to be using it as a daily driver.

    Of course, you aren’t going to get the super smooth scrolling that you want — there are stutters here and there — but it feels better than Gingerbeard. Try it out!

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      Sweet, thanks Michael!

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