The clearly advanced features of Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) are keeping Android users at the edge of their seats and waiting for the new Nexus to hit the stores. There are also reports of few other upcoming devices that could possibly carry this latest version of Android.
Realistically, it’s probably going to take a while before ICS gets widespread distribution. While waiting for that happy event, you might want to try a few workarounds that could simulate some of the more exciting ICS features on your current mobile device.
The following is a list of Android apps, each of which replicates an ICS feature in varying degrees. It’s up to you to pick and choose or slap in the whole set.
Visidon AppLock – One of the notable ICS security measures is the ability to unlock a device through facial recognition. This app uses the same technology but applies only to particular applications and not the whole phone. It’s still a pretty cool way to protect your email, SMS, address book or other sensitive information.
WidgetLocker – Just like the new ICS lock screen, this app lets you set up sliders on your lock screen for quick access to other applications like your camera app for example. It also has options for customizing slider and clock themes.
GO Launcher – The ICS launcher allows for horizontal swiping so you can scour through your apps and it also enables widget resizing. This launcher app offers the same functionality and with the premium version you can resize widgets on the home screen.
Smart Keyboard PRO – This keyboard app showcases a better suggestion bar, improved targeting, multi-language support, Smart dictionary and host of other options that makes the typing experience as close to that of the ICS’ improved default keyboard.
Dolphin – There are times when the mobile version of a web page just won’t do. This alternate browser has an ICS-like setting that gives you the option to load either the mobile or desktop version of a web page.
Read It Later – Another improvement that ICS added to the Internet browsing experience is the ability to save web pages for offline use. This app does the same thing and even strips away the ads and other formatting that only adds to the clutter to make the page more readable.
Onavo – Almost similar to the data usage tracking features of ICS, this app reports how much each application is utilizing, gives out notifications when a particular program is hogging the bandwidth , and even allows you to restrict specific apps to only use a Wi-Fi connection. It’s a useful way to stay within your data cap limit and control your subscription costs.
Bump – ICS has a specific feature that takes advantage of a phone’s near-field communication hardware. Of course not a lot of phones have such a spec, so this app offers the next best thing. Touch two phones together and transfer contacts, images, and other applications as well.
In case you’re not familiar with the term, rooting is a method of accessing an Android device’s flash memory chip in order to bypass carrier or manufacturer limitations. It’s like gaining administrator access rights to a PC and is a more fundamental way to customize your smart phone or tablet.
CyanogenMod is one of the more popular firmware modifications of the Android platform. It already sports certain features that ICS promises to offer such as the ability to clear single notifications with swiping, make screenshots, and view desktop versions of web pages.
Rooting is also one way to add new system fonts like ICS’ Roboto. There are apps like Type Fresh and Screenshot It that can help you add fonts and take screenshots but use of these programs still requires rooting on certain phone models. (Note: Screenshot It has a No Root version.)
Of course all these apps and mods are patchwork and can’t match the stability and speed of the integrated ICS features. These tricks won’t turn your smart phone into an Android 4.0 device but the experience would be close enough.