Tag Archive | "ice cream sandwich"

Acer A500 ICS Official Upgrade In April

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acer_iconia_tab_a500Good news for Acer A500 owners today and a relief to those that are worried about the ‘Android Update Alliance.’ There will be an ICS update coming soon.

There were already a few pointers that it would happen but nothing I could have put any trust in.  This message from ACER USA, makes it clear.

To all Acer Iconia Tab A500 and A100 users, please expect an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade in mid-April! Thank you for your patience.

There are ICS upgrade messages going out in Australia too.

April feels like a long way away but could be as little as 6 weeks. With Chrome for Android highlighting how important it is to get updated now though, I know how frustrating any wait can be.

A500 ICS Chrome (1)I’ve been testing ICS on the A500 for the last week via a Thor ROM. It’s given me the chance to see how Chrome for Android is performing and I have to say, it’s very good. The sync features are worth having and the quality of rendering and input handling means I was able to edit a post on the WordPress web-based tools, work with Google Plus and generally get productive with web-based applications.

Unfortunately the ROM isn’t that stable for me so I can’t really say I’m running with ICS. Stumbling more like!

Via Tabtech

Chrome for Android – The Turning Point For Android Tablets

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Chrome for Android has just been launched.

Many of you know I run three sites. Carrypad, the tablet-focused site. Ultrabooknews, the thin-and-light laptop site and this one, UMPCPortal.  At UMPCPortal we’ve been focused on productive mobility since 2006 (almost exactly) and as you will probably know, the last few years have been hard on us. Trying to get productivity into a two-handed mobile experience has been completely ignored by mainstream manufacturers. We’ve all tried tablets of course and all been disappointed at the lack or processing power, lightweight apps and of course, the full web experience which requires a full web browser. Mozilla tried with Firefox for Android but didn’t really get there yet. Most people settled on Dolphin HD as the best of the bunch but it wasn’t anywhere near the experience needed for web-based productivity and creation.

Intel offered us some hope with Meego, an optimised Linux-based OS that included a Chromium browser…

MeeGo offers me some hope. A full internet experience and an app store but it’s something needs to mature until at least late 2011 and in fact for it to function fast enough to be productive it will need a high-end dual-core ARM or Intel Moorestown platform that will not be able to provide all-day battery life in a smartphone form-factor. [ref June 2010]

… but we all know what happened there.

And then along came the best smartbook yet. The Asus Transformer Prime has fantastic looking hardware, 18hr battery life (with leyboard dock) and some great sensor, touch and app experiences. The problem was that it also had issues when addressing productive and creative work. The apps are still thin and the browser still terrible.

But there was nothing else to choose from. Until today that is.

Chrome for Android has been launched. It’s in the Android Market for anyone with an Android Ice Cream Sandwich device and it’s fully functional. Well, it seems to be. This Beta software may have a few bugs but it represents the best step yet towards a productive handheld ‘UMPC’ solution. There will still be problems with low-quality, unstable and badly supported native apps,  but Chrome on Android is going to develop fast, encourage a new market for Android tablets and  enable a whole new world of desktop-quality browsing.

There are early issues. Mouseover doesn’t seem to be working well and there could be performance issues related to the (relative to laptops) lack of CPU, memory and general platform speed but these are likely to be fixed very quickly given the effort Google is putting into its browser.

Unfortunately for me, I don’t have an ICS tablet right now. I will be looking for ‘ROM’ upgrade for the Acer A500 I have here as it supports USB host (for keyboards/mice etc) and would work well as a smart, Chrome-based desktop device but that could take a few days before I get round to it. Maybe I’ll be looking for an ASUS Transformer Prime though. Given its smartbook credentials and Chrome for Android it now has the potential to span Carrypad, UMPCPortal and Ultrabooknews!

A quick note on the Android 4.0 requirement. I think it’s a brave bu neccesary move. It means that only ‘Google Android’ gets the best browser and encoruages a big shift to ICS over 2012. it might be annoying for some now but it makes absolute sense to encourage a move away from 2.x and 3.x variants and get everyone moving with ICS. When that happens, ISVs will be far more likely to invest in high-quality tablet application development and that’s where the turning point comes. Following the turning point, the niche designs will jump in too. There’s every chance that we’ll start to see UMPCs again…running Android. I know you’ll be concerned with security, apps, interfaces and such but I feel sure we’ll see those issues solved. The market for alternative designs is going to grow quickly so watch out for a fresh batch of UMPC news!  It also makes Apple think hard again about a smartbook although my guess is that they have been working on one for a long time already.

Don’t forget that this app is very likely to be in development for X86 devices too. Intel will be putting massive effort into getting this optimised for Medfield-based devices. Comparing Sunspider tests, hopefuly at MWC later this month, will be fun!

I’m interested to hear your thoughts below. I’m sure we’ll have a good discussion.

Updates:

Noted – There’s no Flash support. I’m not sure too many are going to have a problem with this and it sends an important message out to web developers – Stay clear of Flash!

There seems to be a problem with agent-id. I’m reading that Chrome for Android is identifying itself as a mobile browser.

Lenovo Ideatab K2110 Tablet – Overview Video and Interview

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I was taken completely  by surprise this morning  when I was told that the Intel Medfield-based tablet running Android ICS at the Intel booth today is in fact the Lenovo Ideatab K2210 due later this year. Wow! Is it finally going to happen?

Read the full story

Ice Cream Sandwich preview on Archos G9 – Video

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With the Archos G9 series starting at £200 in the UK you have to give this a little look. Ice Cream Sandwich is being promised for early 2012 but @Charbax has seen a preview.

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“Archos is showing a preview of Android 4.0.1 Ice Cream Sandwich running on the OMAP4 based Archos G9 tablets to be finalized during Q1 of 2012. They still have to finish the hardware acceleration for video support, Samba/Upnp, 3G stick support and all of the other specific features that Archos provides on top of Android. “

Via PR Email

Droidcon NL – A Week of Ice Cream

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You don’t normally get Ice Cream Sandwiches in Europe but for this week in Amsterdam i’ll be taking in more Ice Cream Sandwich than you can shake Hagelslag at.

I’m on the train to Droidcon NL where I know ICS will be a hot topic. I’ll get my first hands-on with it and will definitely be meeting developers that have already worked on it.

Will the re-convergence of the two Android strains be enough to, finally, bring app development for tablets to the fore? Until now I don’t think anyone can say the Honeycomb was a huge success at doing that. HD apps exist in the market but what’s needed is for development teams to be looking at 200 million Android smartphones, tens of millions of Android tablets and see that momentum as a sign to take Ice Cream Sandwich and develop for Android first, not second.

I’ll be asking developers to voice their opinions about tablets, about new features in ICS, about hardware (including Intel), about the potential migration to smartbooks (like the Asus Transformer) and the threat from Ultrabooks in this area.

Keep an eye out this week on Carrypad.com and the Carrypad Twitter account and Facebook account (your choice!) for:
- News from Medion about their Android Tablet
- Hands on with the Galaxy Nexus
- Short podcasts with developers
- A summary of my thoughts on ICS in the tablet and smartbook/notebook/Ultrabook space.
- Lots more news as it happens

Thanks to the Droidcon NL organisation for allowing me access to report from Droidcon. If you’re at Droidcon and would like to tell me about you projects, software, ideas, ping me in the comments below, on Twitter @chippy or in person at the event. I’ll be wearing a Galaxy Tab and a Nokia N8!

You can follow Droidcon NL updates @Droidconnl (Twitter)

Posted from the Galaxy Tab at Droidcon NL.

Samsung Galaxy Note Tests (Very) Well

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Galaxy Note (4)

The Samsung Galaxy Note has been available for a while here in Europe so it made sense to get some more hands-on time with it. My first hands-on at IFA was done just minutes after it was announced and I have to admit, there were lots of key features I knew nothing about. The video hands-on was a bit of a mess!!

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This time I had 3 hours, an owner and a decent video camera for you!

Note: The street price in Europe is as low as €520 now (inclusive near 20% private sales tax) which is €180 less than the MRRP.

First-impressions were excellent. This is a class-leading Android 2.3 device with convergence, productivity and mobility at its heart, great battery life, a good camera, quality screen and, in my opinion, a good price. The Ice on the cake is of course the news that it will get Ice Cream Sandwich in 2012 (Q1) that will bring out the best of the dual-core CPU and add some key features that, by now, quite a few people will be missing in Android 2.3

Unfortunately, for the Honeycomb-experienced, version 2.3 of Android makes it appear a little dated and the speed isn’t what I would have expected with my 1yr old Galaxy Tab not far behind in the browsing tests we did but I suppose we shouldn’t really be comparing against a 7” device because if you want convergence at 5” this is probably the best choice on the market.

I have a personal problem with convergent devices in that, especially when they are this fast, you tend to use them too much and find yourself struggling with 15% or less battery life in the final part of the day. Forget to charge it overnight and you’ve lost your phone and tablet for the morning hours. But that’s just me.

I had a very long chat with the owner, Nils (@thunderstrom99 on Twitter) and took a lot of notes. Firstly I want to tell you about the screen. It uses a PenTile Matrix screen which screen afficionados will know as a sub-optimal technology. OK, when you take a macro picture and zoom-in, you can see the effect…

PenTile on Note

 

The sub-pixel smoothing (and anti-aliasing I guess) results in some harsh jaggies. Here’s the Galaxy Tab…

Galaxy Tab screen

Less jaggies.

But it’s a non-issue for most people because those two images are blown-up to the same size. In reality, the Note has a higher pixel density and you simply can’t see this effect unless you’re tuned-in with near-perfect vision. As someone that can detect out-of-phase stereo speakers by ear, yes, I know there are some people out there that will have a major issue with this but the reality for most people, including myself, is more like this:

Galaxy Tab 7 and Galaxy Note Screens

 

Click the image to see the original. On the right is, to my eye, a better reading experience. That’s the Note. [The PenTile screen tends to have some strange hues when viewed off-center. See more images in the gallery]

Outdoors the brightness is nothing to write home about but the viewing angles and glass clarity are better than my Galaxy Tab. It’s good enough.

One thing I instantly noticed was the ability to use the device one-handed. It’s not perfect – a little unstable reaching over for the menu button or top left (for right-handers) but it’s possible to, carefully, do most things. I didn’t try swype but I suspect it would work OK with the thumb – an important mobility advantage over tablets.

I took a fairly detailed look at the battery graph and asked Nils what he was getting in terms of real-world usage. It looks like a full 8hrs heavy use is possible which would equate to a standard days use of 10-15 hours in my opinion. As a phone, it’s not ideal. As a tablet, not bad at all. You have to decide how that fits your usage scenario.

On to performance. Android 2.3 isn’t going to return the best dual-core performance figures and a Sunspider test result of 3238 (Galaxy Tab with 2.3.5 = 7450) isn’t as good as I’d expect. A real-world browsing test showed a slight speed improvement over the Galaxy Tab but nothing really significant. You’ll see it in the video below.

One point of note here though is that the Note is quite capable of some heavy multitasking and loading without it impacting the fluidity of the experience. 1GB of RAM and faster CPU cores mean there’s more overhead.

It’s interesting to know how Nils is using the Note. I’ve been in contact with him for about a year after he made enquiries about a UMPC. It turns out that the Note is satisfying all his requirements and he’s got no desire for a UMPC now. In some situations, he’s doing more on his Galaxy Note than he would be on a UMPC. He’s using it at University for note-taking in an interesting way. He says he cant ‘write’ notes about his physics lectures because it makes more sense to take a picture and annotate it. He showed me a few graphs and diagrams on a whiteboard. Yup, that makes sense!

A chat with a a Galaxy Note owner

I took the chance to record 10 minutes of Q&A with Nils. Here’s the result….

Keyboard

Is the on-screen keyboard good? Yes. We did a little speed test between the Galaxy Tab and the Galaxy Note. We swapped devices and did the same test. We were better on our own keyboards but the difference was minimal indicating that the Note could be used for some portrait-mode typing. For a bigger typing experience, obviously the Note can be held in landscape mose and still used successfully. That’s something you can’t do on a 7”er although you’ll lose masses of screen real-estate in the mode. As the Note is only 180gm, it’s almost unnoticeable in portrait mode too.

The Pen, Annotations and Handwriting Recognition

You’ll see the pen being used for annotation and handwriting input in the video below. Although I don’t think it has the level of pen integration that the HTC Flyer has, because the pen is stowed, it’s probably more useful. Annotating an image or screenshot is easy and fun. I’m sure you can add ‘send to PDF’ via a third party app or share. See the video below though for more on the pen, touch, multitouch and gestures. I think you’ll like it.

A few other notes

  • Sound quality: OK
  • Gestures for mute and screenshot: Useful
  • Minute amounts of color banding noticed in a video: Potentially annoying for video purists
  • Plastic back – Feels cheap but it’s grippy
  • Photography – Fast, good touch-focus and quality is acceptable. [Sample photo + Exif here.]
  • MHL port for MicroUSB cable provides charging and HDMI out. Excellent choice. HDMI cable is about €12 apparently.
  • Swipe across top to brighten/dim the backlight

Video

Summary

What an excellent bit of kit the Samsung Galaxy Note is and it’s the best converged phone/mid/tablet that I’ve ever tested. When Ice Cream Sandwich comes along, it gets even better! I wasn’t a big fan of converged phone/tablet products before this hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Note and although I still think it’s risky (and battery-draining) to put all your eggs in one basket, I’d certainly be happy to take a Galaxy Note and to hand over my Nokia N8 and Galaxy Tab. I’d miss the N8′s camera for sure and wouldn’t find the Note as comfortable to type on, but I think I’d get over it, especially as I’d be getting a phone and a tablet for around €520

The model tested here is the Samsung GT-N7000

Full specifications in the database along with links to other reviews, articles and our full Gallery.

Nokia: More Relevant in the US Than Ever (Maybe)

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Nokia has only been relevant for me once in my smartphone life, and that was when I was overseas. Since returning stateside, I have not given Nokia news more than a miniscule glance as I pore over the day’s tech reports. In fact, I have not honestly cared about a Nokia phone release since the mid-90s, when they were one of the top name brands in the US. Until this year that is. Nokia has become relevant again, although not quite in the way that you might think. And while their partnership with Microsoft may be doing a little-bit to correct their sky-diving financial position, I question whether Redmond is doing the best thing overall for increased adoption of Windows Phone.

Before we continue on with the editorial, let’s hit some of the facts of the last week’s announcements. At Nokia World 2011, Nokia introduced two phones that are expected to eventually make their way to US carriers. They are the Nokia Lumia 800 and 710. The latter has a 3.7” display with a resolution of 480×800, a 5MP camera that can shoot 720p video, weighs in at 4.4 ounces, has 8GB of flash storage, 512MB of RAM, runs on the Qualcomm MSM8255 chip, which is a 1.4GHz single-core CPU, and communicates on GSM bands.

The Lumia 800 also has a 3.7” display, a high resolution 8MP camera, weighs in at 5 ounces, has the same 480×800 resolution on an AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass, 16GB of storage and 512MB of RAM, and an identical processor…in fact, much between the two phones is identical.

Back to the editorial. There are a few things I see as positive about Nokia-Soft’s announcements. Kudos to them for getting the product out on time. We did not need another smartphone-delay storyline to track across months of PR apologies. And the big thing? People are talking about Nokia again, and not only in negative terms. At least not entirely.

Nokia needed to hit one of the park last week at Nokia World, but there are a few areas where these announcements fall well short of that. The announcement of these two phones, to me, is more like a “we’re still hanging in there” level of effort. It feels very analogous to the Palm Pre release, which offered some compelling potential. But from the announcement of the Pre through the first several months up to release, I felt like I was watching a once great boxer taking jabs in the ring, wobbling, unable to put his hands up and protect himself, but still able to remain standing and even dodging a jab from time to time. But I knew that the other guy was eventually going to land a haymaker that the former champ would just not be able to take.

I get the same sense from the Nokia announcements last week. Maybe the better analogy would be watching a once great boxer through the last few bouts of their career. They keep losing, but in each bout there is a round or a few moments when you think they are on the road back, before they finally succumb each time. While the Lumia product line shows promise, and seems to offer a steady, work-horse level device, neither of the two devices are game-changers. Nokia is in the same position that Android tablet-makers are. They cannot afford to bring a device or devices that are within arm’s reach of the current benchmark products, and offer them at the same price. While there is no pricing information on either of the Lumia devices, I cannot see them being offered at less than $199 and $149 price points for the 800 and the 710 respectively. I believe this based on the pricing of Nokia’s handsets in the past within North America, and the fact that, for some reason, they have struggled to land on carriers with subsidized prices. The Nokia Astound debuted back in April on T-Mobile at one of the most affordable release prices for a Nokia smartphone in North America ever — $79.99. But I do not see Nokia being able to match that pricing for either one of these phones. If they come out at or near the same $199 price point as many premium Android handsets or the $199 iPhone 4S model, when the Nokia phones do not have front-facing cameras or equally high resolution screens, their ability to compete will be sorely lacking.

If Nokia can get the Lumia 710 down to a $99 price point, and slug it out against low-end Android phones, then maybe this maneuver has a chance of gaining traction. As for the Lumia 800, I expect it to come out at $199, and likely on T-Mobile as I do not see AT&T having a lot of interest in this device. So it will go to the smallest of the big four US carriers. But it will also be on the one carrier that does not have the iPhone, so for its current customers who enter the market for a new phone, it could very well be a viable choice. I was on an HTC HD7 on T-Mobile at the beginning of the year and was very happy with that selection. But right now, the only thing Microsoft seems to be touting as the differentiating, breakout feature of Windows Phone is Xbox Live integration [ed. note: that integration is majorly lacking and painfully bolted-on]. This was a nice hook at the beginning of the year, but the Xbox is six years old now, and even as a gaming platform, its pre-eminence as being a new place to go is not as shiny as it once was. As for hardware, Nokia phones have always been appealing to photo buffs for their excellent cameras. But great photos and Xbox Live are not enough to bring Nokia back to relevance in the US.

Overall, this does not feel like the mass offensive that it needed to be. Nothing out of this announcement was anything that was not entirely predictable. At the end of the day, it feels like less than what Nokia needed to do to right its burning platform. These are not devices that will save Nokia’s bacon. Nor is it indicative of a strategy that shows a glimmer of things to come that will make sweeping changes in Nokia’s business position within the market. Nokia seems to have generated much more buzz about their one-off Meego phone, the Nokia N9, than their just-announced Lumina series (though it may still be too early to call).

While falling short of what is needed, I also felt like Microsoft and Nokia weakened Microsoft’s position with its other hardware partners. If I were HTC or Samsung, I would have had sharp words the following day over the use of statements that proclaimed the Lumia line as the “first real Windows Phone(s)”. The hardware manufacturers that stepped out with Microsoft for the launch of Windows Phone, at very high risk to their own earnings, should not have suffered the suggestion that their efforts and their hardware designs were of little value. While not all CEO’s make decisions out of spite, I think the Microsoft and Nokia statements would have at least caused me to ask my CFO for the most recent accounting statements on my Windows Phone product line to evaluate how much value-adding it was really providing.

Microsoft took a risk when it migrated its smartphone strategy away from an Enterprise-focus to a consumer-centric one. Without the old corporate in-roads to lean on, they now have to compete in the same arena with the same rule-set as the iPhone and Android products. I do not see the Lumia has being a huge crowbar in that battle. I like Windows Phone, and would not have a problem selecting it as one my next devices. But I still do not see the operating system, the ecosystem, or the new Nokia devices as converging recommendations that I would give to non-techy customers looking for advice on their next smartphone, or first-time smartphone buyers. It is not clear to me where Microsoft and Nokia are heading in terms of starting an offensive that will lead to all of this increased market-share that so many analysts are claiming Windows Phone will achieve in 2014/2015.

The Lumia devices appear to be beautiful hardware, and I thoroughly enjoy Windows Phone 7 when I use it. But this is about what Microsoft and Nokia are doing to convince the consumer population that is not already on their side that the Nokia devices are viable and competitive alternatives to the iPhone and premium Android devices. Based on last week’s event, I am having a hard time convincing myself that the two companies have done enough. This smells very much like the Palm Pre launch (except for fact that Nokia’s phones appear to be arriving on time as promised). Microsoft and Nokia will need to come in at lower price points than the competition, and quickly get to offering compelling, differentiated features and offer unique service partnerships to compete against Apple and Google. Seeing as how it appears that they have missed those targets within this window of opportunity, I am not sure when they can pull this trifecta off before suffering that aforementioned haymaker that could be in the works. An iPhone 5 announcement in the spring, or arrival en masse of Ice Cream Sandwich phones could quickly push Nokia off the stage of relevance if they and Microsoft cannot push some major offensive in the interim. Oh, yeah, and after scoffing at everyone else’s Windows Phone devices, I would not expect help to arrive from the camps of HTC and Samsung anytime soon.

Breaking: TouchWiz “Emulator” for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Goes Live + Review Roundup

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Breaking: The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 TouchWiz Interactive Emulator just went live. Samsung calls it an emulator, but its really a simulator! Still, it gives you a way to play with TouchWiz before installing it on your device.

I am not a fan of OEM UI’s. I am even less of a fan when they are not optional (more on that later). User interfaces added onto a device by their OEM, instead of just using the one that is part of the associated OS, are always better when they can be enabled or disabled at the user’s discretion. They tend to be burdened with a lot of content that is just marketing or sell-through fluff, so being able to enable or disable them at will makes the bitter seed more palatable. 3rd party UI’s, in contrast, are designed to be competitive, and to make the developers money, and are therefore typically more lean and arguably provide more value. None of these trends have prevented Samsung from rolling out its TouchWiz UI for its flagship tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, however, and maybe it is a good thing that they did.

We’ve taken some time to scour the web and bring you an aggregated perspective of how the media has received the software update so far. There are some good takeaways and some bad. Read on to familiarize yourself with the basics:

Software updates are big news these days. A press event to announce a new version of an OS would sell seats like a Justin Bieber concert, but to a much cooler crowd of people. There is no other tablet on the market today that is running Honeycomb with a custom skin, so Samsung’s release of the TouchWiz UX overlay is a first. My own exposure to TouchWiz (TW) was with an overlay for Windows Mobile 6.5. In that instance, it made sense. WM6.5 did not have much going for it in the GUI department, and Samsung took a very textual interface and made it graphical and object oriented.

The most noticeable thing that most of the reviewers picked up on is how TouchWiz on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 brings what is arguably Android’s biggest differentiator, widgets, to the forefront. Samsung has implemented a customized widget system that brings a slightly more appealing color palette and some added functionality. The new GUI version is very much about liveness of data, and goes a long way towards increasing awareness from the surface of the GUI without making you dig too much further into an app. Many views, like news and weather, are aggregated so that you spend less time bouncing through apps to get up to speed on the latest.

TouchWiz is, however, not just about widgets. Several new features come along for the ride with the update. One of those, Samsung’s MediaHub, reveals a pair of trends; one good, the other not so much so. The first trend is that there is this third tier of developer that is growing out of Android. You can think of it as Android being an engine, and developers using that engine as an SDK. But what is significant is that companies like Samsung and HTC who are going this route, are seeing the need to have their own media services coupled with the Android-flavored code-base their devices run on. MediaHub provides access to a lot of recent content, but it requires its own account and login credentials. The downside of this trend is the set of restrictions that we have seen on the rise concurrent with these services. In this case, Samsung restricts you to 5 devices that can access MediaHub content through one account. While it is unlikely that any one individual will have 5 Samsung devices, I am curious as to how MediaHub handles device retirement. Hopefully a little better than iTunes.

The major downside to TouchWiz is what might happen to you of you don’t opt-in for the upgrade. Reportedly, if you do not install TouchWiz, your Galaxy Tab 10.1 will not receive future updates to the OS. Now, it is unclear to me exactly how far this goes. Engadget reports that, at a minimum, it means no Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade. I would believe, however, that actual firmware fixes to correct a problem with the device would still be delivered. However, even for that, it is tough to have a high degree of confidence. If Samsung has to spin two versions of a firmware update (one for TouchWiz and one for non-TW), then I can see the company dropping support within a year. Of course, not every firmware update should have an interface to the classes that govern the UI, although it is feasible that some would. Either way, it sounds like if you have bought into the Galaxy Tab, then you have, by Samsung’s definition, bought into TouchWiz as well.

Regardless, most of the reviewers were pleased with the value and performance that the TouchWiz UI seemed to bring to the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The update will turn the current version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 into the first Android Tablet to market with an OEM skin on top of Honeycomb.

Could TouchWiz set off a new trend of skinned Honeycomb devices? It all depends on how well the Galaxy Tab 10.1 does at retail. If it does significantly better than other tablets out there, that just might encourage other manufacturers to roll their own skins for Honeycomb. Right now, it seems like general consumers are driven primarily by price-point. The technoratti seem to be mainly encouraged by performance. Every Android lover is looking for the same immediate-response experience that the iPad delivers. TouchWiz will need to prove itself fast and unintrusive to make it a positive differntiator of the Galaxy Tab product.

Here are some links to the original Engadget review, as well as some additional perspectives from the usual suspects. Read on after the gallery for my more of my own assessment of what the TouchWiz UI may mean for users and Samsung.

Source: Engadget

Further Reading:
PhoneDog
CNET
PCMag

My personal assessment is that TouchWiz worries me, and the requirement to opt-in in order to continue to receive support firmly strikes the Tab 10.1 from my “I Want” list. A few key notes:

  • On the Android platform, Samsung has had a poor record of quickness to deploy Android updates. I firmly believe this is due to the additional qualification time needed to test Android updates against their customized UI’s. They have gotten better, but are still not as quick to OTA as some others
  • On Windows Mobile 6.5 (running on a Samsung Omnia II), one of the things I did not like about TouchWiz was the replacement of key apps with TW variants. So when you called up Calendar, if TW was enabled, you received a different view and different functionality in terms of input to create appointments, edit appointments, and so forth. This pervaded into text messaging, notes, and the phone view. in some cases, the TW variant was actually better, but in others it was not.
  • The good thing was, you could disable TW in WinMo 6.5. Of course, it was all on or all off, so you got the better TW apps enabled along with the apps where you would have preferred to just run the native Windows Mobile version. This incentivized me to more often then not to run with TW disabled
  • I have found a similar effect in HTC Sense (running on the HTC Evo 3D); the Calendar app is the HTC Sense variant, which is not a 1:1 replacement for the Android calendar. This gets aggravating when running several Android devices, and then going to a Sense device and having things oriented slightly differently than every other instance of the app that you run.
  • This is where the overlay starts to get in the way of using the device rather than the overlay being a helper. The bad thing is, you cannot turn Sense off, and when running stock, the Calendar app is not even available as an app, only as a widget. Hitting the widget even, just launches the HTC Sense version of the Calendar app.
  • If TW has similar hooks, then users who run more than one Android device may not see it as appealing a differentiator as Samsung would like.


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