Samsung has officially rolled out the 4.0 update for their Galaxy S II devices. Before you get all happy about your awesome update from 2.3 to Ice Cream Sandwich, allow me to cool your excitement with some unfortunate bad news: Not much has changed.
As the Verge reports, Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy S II is basically Gingerbread with a different multitasking bar.
Of all the new visual elements in Google’s latest OS, only the multitasking menu has been included. Everything else – aside from a new lock screen – has been made to look as similar to the Android 2.3 TouchWiz interface as possible. Widgets can’t be resized, there’s no unified app and widget drawer, and no Roboto. Samsung has taken a colossal update and turned it into an iterative one, with barely a hint of Google’s Holo theme retained.
Google’s Android framework has been manipulated in a lot of cases throughout the years by manufacturers who put their own spin on Android and ruin what Google creates. They insist on having their own skins, effects, and other elements of the interface dominate their phones, and then allow carriers to fill them with bloatware. This is basically why My Android Experiment didn’t go as well as I wanted it to (I still blame Motorola 100% guys, no worries).
As the Verge reports, Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy S II feels a lot like Gingerbread. However, users will still notice the device getting a little snappier here and there, and they’ll have the latest versions of all of Google’s apps and widgets still. They also report that, unlike their experience with Google’s Nexus (which has “all the bells and whistles”), the Galaxy S II running 4.0 has great battery life.
In stark contrast to our experience with the stock Gingerbread build, battery life seems strong, and there’s not a hint of slowdown anywhere in the OS. We ran the obligatory Quadrant benchmark test and achieved a score of 4,032, a slight improvement over the 3812 achieved on Gingerbread.
For those of you wondering about Flash… yes, it still works when you go to 4.0. Don’t freak out.
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