Individuals who use ink cartridges to print photos directly from Android-powered smartphones may be interested to hear Google has unveiled the newest version of the software.

The company demonstrated version 4.0 of the operating system (OS) – also known as Ice Cream Sandwich – running on the new Galaxy Nexus phone, which is the first gadget designed especially for the platform.

Keen photographers may be attracted by the capability of the software to support high-quality cameras, with the Nexus offering a zero-lag shutter, automatic focus, improved performance in low light conditions and 1080p video recording.

Ice Cream Sandwich also makes it easier to share media such as photos with the new People app, which combines social services such as Google+.

"With Ice Cream Sandwich, our mission was to build a mobile OS that works on both phones and tablets, and to make the power of Android enticing and intuitive," the firm explained, noting improvements include a faster desktop browser, improved navigation and a display optimised for HD screens.

The release follows the launch of rival Apple's iOS 5 platform, which also offers a higher performance level and more options for photographers compared with previous versions.