In the CES 12, we brought news about different Smartphone companies with Ice cream Sandwich as their OS. A lot of them already have Gingerbread, which can be updated to ICS. So, what is the technical difference between both the versions for which every one of us wants ICS and what the differences in the user experience might be. This way you can decide if ICS is suited for you, or if you prefer to stay on with Gingerbread. Maybe you will prefer the new User Interface in ICS, or do you give a higher priority to the extreme firmness of the Gingerbread platform? The article will actually attentions you in multiple ways and offers you with two options: Either to continue with Gingerbread which is very stable and exhibits great performance or to upgrade to a fully featured ICS at the cost of burdening the CPU and memory resources of the device. Read more!
However, although ICS is fresh and convincing in many ways, we would like all of our users to make an informed decision when selecting what Android OS to use. Ice Cream Sandwich is more intensive, unlike Gingerbread for example in terms of resource usage. As Smartphones become more proficient, our own applications, are becoming more advanced, which means that they require more Central power (CPU), run more network events and use swallow more RAM. On the other hand, ICS brings a refined User Interface and some nice new features which are described below:
Add-on features in ICS
From a UI perspective, ICS is based on a new and fresh look and sensation, the Holo theme. New looks have been added in two layers: platform layer as well as in the application layer. All in all, well over hundreds of icons have been modified. In ICS, the activity manager has a totally new UI, where all running apps are displayed as thumbnails in a list. To close an activity running, you can simply swipe it out of the list. ICS also adds a face recognition app as an additional way to unlock the phone, called Face Unlock. Face Unlock uses the front camera and advanced object recognition algo.
The contact list will show more info about the contacts, including updates from facebook, twitter and lots more. In the calendar, colour coding has been added and additional zoom feature has been added.
When it comes to 4.0, there are a lot of things that have changed compared to the 2.3.x release. Some of these changes affect the performance and firmness of the system, for example by using extra CPU power and RAM. ICS was developed with Galaxy Nexus in mind, which is based on a TI platform with 1GB RAM and dual-core processor.
Increased RAM usage
In general, it can be said that the RAM is the scratch pad in the phone, used by manly the running processes in contrast to the flash memory. Now, let’s look at how the RAM is used. Out of our 512MB RAM, about a third is reserved for functions that involve a dedicated memory slot to work fast enough. The remaining space, which is at least 340MB, is reserved for the Linux user space. Within the Linux user space, functions like the activity manager and Home screen app are running.
Another interesting thing is that many apps consume a little more RAM in ICS. For example, the web browser is quite rigorous, and it uses 20-30MB more RAM in 4.0 compared to 2.3.x. When running low on RAM, typically with less than 40MB left, the activity manager starts to close processes in accordance to priority. At first, idle background events are killed. The foreground activity is closed in the end. This shows the foreground activities have higher priority than the background ones. The following table shows some:
Processes that are shut will obviously have to be resumed when the user closes the foreground process, which takes time and slows the system down. For example, while playing a heavy game that consumes all available RAM, the activity manager will be required to kill all processes running in the background. When you exit your game, there is a risk that the phone is supposed to respond slowly, since the killed apps will have to be restarted.
Introducing full hardware acceleration
Another modification in 4.0 is that the graphics hardware acceleration is on by default for all apps above API level 14. For apps at API levels below 14, it can be turned on in the manifest with the attribute android:hardwareAccelerated=“true”. Hardware acceleration means that the Graphic processor is used to extract graphics, which enables an even user interface.
Another effect of the hardware acceleration is that it drains battery faster in many cases. An example of this is video playback, where the H/W acceleration requires every video frame to be run through the GPU, thus making the Smartphone consume more power than it would have required without H/W acceleration.
So, what will be your platform of choice? We hope this article explains some of the aspects to consider when making the choice. As always, we are keen to hear your opinion, so drop us a comment below and let us know!