Feature Articles

A Primer on Android 4.0 Tablets

A Primer on Android 4.0 Tablets

Closing Thoughts

Should You Get Android 4.0 Tablets? 

Without a doubt, Google did a decent job with Android 4.0 ICS. It delivers delicious new features without sacrificing its speed and stability. In fact, the Android platform has never been that smooth and stable until the introduction of ICS. It is not far-fetched to say that ICS is the most polished Android OS yet. 

While Android 4.0 represents a huge leap for smartphone users, it is admittedly not that drastic for Honeycomb users, since Android 3.0 shares many similar features such as the navigation virtual buttons (Back, Home, Recent Apps, All Apps Launcher). Besides the use of the new Roboto font and several tweaks, the UI is not very much different from Honeycomb.

So what do we like about Android 4.0, or to be specific, Ice Cream Sandwich on a tablet? While there's a general improvement in performance and design of the Android OS, the finer improvements within Android 4.0 that made a difference are:-

  • Enhanced lock screen that allows to unlock the device or jump straight to the camera app, and managing music tracks without the need for unlocking.
  • Swipe gestures to close apps and notifications
  • Integration of widgets in the All Apps Launcher
  • Home screen folders that allows you to put more than 12 apps in a folder
  • Color coding in the Calendar app for easier differentiation of events from different calendars
  • Powerful photo editing tools in the Gallery app
  • Single-motion panorama mode in the Camera app
  • Extensive language support for voice dictation

Nonetheless, for all the things that we liked about Android 4.0, there are some aspects that could have been addressed to improve its overall usability:-

  • More social network integration with the People App at time of launch (may arrive in the near future since the Social API is available for developers)
  • Uninstalling of apps from the home screen
  • UI inconsistencies such as the absence of Favorites tray on larger screen devices (tablets) and different placements of All Apps Launcher on phones (bottom centre) and tablets (upper top right corner)
  • The absence of Face Unlock and Android Beam. The former is reserved for mobile phones, whilst the latter is applicable only if the device has NFC capabilities.

So the biggest question that needs to be answered is this: is it advisable to get an Android 4.0 tablet? Our answer is a resoundingly yes, but it is better to hold off the purchase till more of these tablets arrive in the market. A wider range of choices will only serve to benefit consumers, thanks to the competitive nature of manufacturers who will offer suitable price points depending on their product's unique features to attract a wide variety of consumers.

On the other hand, if you are set on getting your first Android 4.0 tablet or even smartphone right now, the current selection would be the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone and the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime. Though these two gadgets will be the first Android 4.0 devices in the market, the Android 4.0 update will also be applied to earlier smartphones and tablets. If you aren't too keen on spending your year-end bonus on a new Android device just for Ice Cream Sandwich, do a quick check and see if your Android device are one of those that will receive the Ice Cream Sandwich in due time: