For the first time the android phone has has taking a leap into the future using its latest and greatest ICS version.
The built in Gmail app is the most amazing email client I have ever seen hands down. And I dont mean that only in phones. Why you may ask, Well first of all. Its not POP and its IMAP, which means the mail is synced with the server. It supports filters, which let you organise and tag mail according to your custom pre-sets. I may not be a big fan of Priority Messages and the Important Messages arrow but they are supported. I suppose its an App which is designed for Gmail, however Gmail it self is a cloud email client where different emails can be sent/received.
Therefore you never need another client. And best of all its all cloud based, What you do in the app is reflected on mail.google.com.
One significant amazing upgrade in this app, is the ability to zoom in and out inside the week or daily view. I love it cant get enough of it. Another significant update for the calender is the Description of the event and the breakdown of attendees. This makes the app more user friendly and easy to use.
Really cool concept, especially the camera icon. However it took me a while to get use to the fact its on the left. I kept going into home screen and clicking camera.
The two icons you see on the left change to Red(Hang Up) and Green(Pick Up) when you receive a call. There is also a third option displayed on the North of the circle giving you the option to send a message and hangup. This style of picking up makes it harder for you to pick or hang up a phone while its in your pocket. A sleek and beautiful design feature.
The notification bar at the top can be dragged down to view your messages without locking your phone. And when you click on a notification it takes you to the app responsible for creating that notification. This saves a click and makes life easier. However making this a habit is more of a challenge.
The forward, back and the play/pause button appear every time you play music. And the lock screen also displays the Album art in the top half of your lock screen.
Love the concept of the softkeys, And also works well with phones that have hard keys. As seen on the previous version Nexus. I really like this as they move when you tilt the screen. The menus button, now appears and disappears as needed which is not an upgrade nor a downgrade, but a noticeable difference.
The phone allows you to monitor your battery usage as before but the most important and interesting new feature is the Data usage graph. Not only does this let you see your Data usage across the month. But splits this data into WiFi vs Mobile Network. You can also set download limits on a monthly basis set by your data-providers. No more extra data-charges as the phone will stop downloading once it goes over its quota. Remember this feature is set by you the user and not your data-provider so you have full control.
This is a Google phone we are talking about. They seem to have forgotten the main concept that is accociated with google. This links shows you how to unlock the search key, but requires you to root the phone. However i dont recommend this and this is not a solution either. "Google give me my search key!"
If you are like me and always make sure that your album art is in pristine condition, you will not like this, The Music App dosent update the album cover as you make changes to AlbumArt.jpg file. The only way to come around this problem is to clear the data for the music app. This will read your music files agian and load the new updated Album Art. This is a bodged solution and it also clears your playlist. So a negative punch for the ICS.
There is only one ugly for this phone, which is simply the way it looks. Even its big brother the Galaxy SII had its preatty side. I wish they took thier time on the actual design for this phone, and made it that little different.
Most of the bugs and problems I have mentioned above seem to be software related, and hopefully be ironed out in the next update. Therefore as a future proof set of technology it is the best phone around. Google have proven this by providing I.C.S within weeks for the old version of the Google phone(Google Nexus)
I got sick of grep-ing the svn status output therefore I made a helpful script that does the hard-work for me.