Google launched Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich debuting on the freshly unveiled and much leaked Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
One of the new features is a new Face Unlock which uses facial recognition combine with a front facing camera to unlock the phone instead of the usual pass code or sliding pastern.
The new Android update will also feature Android Beam which will enable one phone to send data including phone numbers, pictures and so forth via the near-field-communication hardware increasingly built into modern smartphones.
Users concerned about their data usage will also enjoy a new feature which will measure the phone’s data usage and warn when it goes over a certain threshold, even automatically switching off data usage. The new control also enables tracking of data use by application and allows individual app blocking.
Long winded voice mails are also getting some Android love in the form of a new speed up feature that allows fast forwarding of playback with an on-screen speed control, without an associated rise in pitch.
The update will be much welcomed by millions of Android users worldwide but that didn’t stop Google’s Android Chief Andy Rubin placing foot firmly in mouth with a bizarre criticism of Apple’s acclaimed Siri digital assistant.
"I don’t believe that your phone should be an assistant," Rubin claimed, adding that he thought users should be "communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone."
Except, of course, when they’re using any of Android’s own digital assistant features such as Google voice search or Android voice actions launched a year ago.
Android’s new features apparently didn’t impress another of Google’s rivals. Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer speaking Web 2.0 Summit said that Android was an operating system for ‘computer scientists’.