This Oct. 24, 2011 blog post is mirrored from an internal site at Lee Enterprises, my current employer, where I blog regularly about mobile, tablet and emerging tech. I thought it might be handy to those outside the company too, so I’m cross-posting it here.
While IOS 5 launched a couple weeks ago and has received much fanfare, Android announced their version 4.0 upgraded mobile operating system last week with several interesting new features for journalists. While there’s plenty of interesting interface improvements and futuristic-features like facial-recognition security, I’m going to talk about the two ways Ice Cream Sandwich (the Android project name for this release) is notable to mobile reporters and mobile and tablet publishers:
The most notable upgrade for mobile reporting is Android’s native camera app made some huge advancements:
- Near-instantaneous picture taking — there’s no lag anymore from when you click the shutter to when the picture is taken which is fantastic for sports and breaking news. The IOS5 upgrade also made similar improvements for taking quick photos.
- Single-motion panoramas are added to the options list along with photo and video for collecting visual content.
- Native video editing was available in Android 3.0, but now available across all devices, and photo editing too (much like IOS native camera app, you can now do basic editing in the app immediately after capturing the content).
- Google+ Hangouts with video are great for sending back quick streaming video reports and the new version of Android offers similar support to that of the desktop Google+ Hangout experience. TV affiliates have long used tools like Skype to stream back video from locations and organizations including CNN and KOMU in Columbia, MO have been leaders in using Google+ Hangout video for this same purpose.
- Wireless content sharing with other devices via Android Beam NFC technology or Wi-Fi sharing to send large files back and forth.
New publishing features in Android 4.0:
- The biggest change is Ice Cream Sandwich merges Android 2.x and 3.x operating systems, which were set up for mobile and tablet platforms, respectively. One of the major challenges that slowed developers/publishers to move to the new Android 3.0 platform was after Android 3.0 was just released this past Spring, Google had was honest and transparent about the fact that there was going to be a major upgrade, merging both mobile and tablet versions into one in Android 4.0 this Fall. Without an already established base of users, most developers held off developing for 3.0. Without the app developers, there’s been limited apps developed and that has also slowed consumer response and adoption of Android tablets. (Google recently said they had sold 6 million Android Tablets, Apple has sold 40 million iPads) With the platforms merging, in the future your app developed for 4.0 will be able to scale and function on all devices from tablets to mobile phones, hopefully providing a larger audience.
- Google’s web browser in Android 4.0 also added many features to support and extend HTML5 capabilities including advanced support for motion sensor APIs including the gyroscope as well as 3D transformations. The browser also has a performance boost, optimizing the experience speed by 550% in some tests.