Samsung will be rolling out a software update for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet soon. It will add the company’s TouchWiz software to the Android 3.1 tablet, offering new home screen widgets, menu icons, and Samsung’s branded media shops, among other things. Today the company released a 12 minute video demonstrating the tablet’s features, and it’s the first good look we’ve had at TouchWiz for the tablet.
Here’s what you’ll get with the software update:
- The menu icons in the bottom left corner have been redrawn using simple icons for back, home, and menu functions.
- The clock in the lower right corner uses a clean, less geeky font than standard Google clock.
- Other resizeable widgets include picture, clock, calendar, and weather forecast widgets.
- There’s a custom calendar which has a cleaner look than the Android 3.1 default calendar.
- Samsung has also developed its own contact manager which integrates with the email and calendar apps.
- When you touch the lower right corner in Honeycomb you get a larger clock and you have to click again to launch icons for settings, WiFi toggles, brightness adjustments and other features. TouchWiz brings up a Quick Panel with one-tap and has a better layout which puts more options into a smaller space.
- The “Mini app” feature adds support for multiple windows. Basically some apps don’t have to run in full-screen mode, so you can run them without minimizing the previous app first. This is something that Android, iOS, and most other mobile operating systems lack out of the box.
- There are 6 mini apps including a note app and a calendar mini app.
- While the video doesn’t go into this, there’s a new app tray which you can trigger by sliding your finger up from the bottom of the screen. This gives you quick access to certain applications.
- There’s a Social Hub which access the latest updates from your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts. You can also see these updates using a home screen widget.
While I’m not usually a big fan of third party overlays for Google Android, I have to say everything Samsung is bringing to the table here looks great. That said, the Music Hub and a Samsung Apps program are already available on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 today and they really don’t seem to bring anything to the table that you wouldn’t get from the Android Market and another music service such as Amazon MP3. Hopefully the rest of the software will be as compelling in practice as it looks in the demo video.
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