Ice Cream Sandwich and iOS 5 are two popular mobile software systems that power devices like the iPhone 4S and highly-anticipated Galaxy Nexus. When you power on your iPhone, you are looking at the software that runs all the devices' systems; iOS 5. Apple puts that little I in front of their mobile device names, but the OS 5 part stands for operating system, version five.
Google created the Android operating system for use in all kinds of mobile devices and they call the different versions by different sweet treat names like Ice Cream Sandwich and Gingerbread. But, they also use a number to help differentiate between versions, and Ice Cream Sandwich is also known as Android 4.0.
People who are really into tech gadgets may take this all for granted, but for the uninitiated, it's very confusing. Throw in the fact that there's a phone out there called Droid, and you start to see why so many people still haven't made the switch to smartphones over feature phones.
If you're thinking of getting iPhone 4S, iOS 5 is the system you'll be using, but if you are considering almost any other smartphone by manufacturers like Motorola, Samsung or LG, it's likely to be powered by the Android system. But those devices may not be running a standard Android version, say, the Gingerbread variant.
In the case of any high-end Android devices, and especially any that have come out in the last few months, Google is cooking up a new version called Ice Cream Sandwich. Those new devices could get the upgrade sent to them by Google, but there is no hard list of which devices will get them. The upcoming Galaxy Nexus will mark the debut of Ice Cream Sandwich so here is a quick roundup of what you can expect from your iOS 5 and Ice Cream Sandwich devices.
First, as the newest generation of their respective systems, both Apple and Google will send out any updates or patches over the air, and notify users about the changes. This often happens when a new system rolls out because there are always unexpected problems like the iPhone 4S Siri failure in early November. Next, there are a couple of features of each system that are the main selling points in the run up to their being released. These are the features that launch the endless rumors so readily digested online. For iOS 5, those features are things like iCloud and wireless syncing. Ice Cream Sandwich is promoting features like Face Unlock and the Android Beam.
After the main features (critics might call them gimmicks) there are dozens and dozens of little fixes and adjustments, like better camera controls and faster Web-browsing. These are the features that make using smartphone easy or confusing. While the main features get the most publicity, sometimes it's the fun camera settings or simple multitasking features that make a device simple and fun to use.
For iOS 5 users, the new system has a new instant message service, new notifications standards and a better browser. For Android 4.0 users, you can look forward to new home screen folders, re-sizable icons and several fun camera tricks like live effects.
Let us know in the comments if you value solid hardware or software in your smartphone.