No Love from Android 3.2 Yet
Although ASUS announced that Google Android 3.2 updates would be arriving to all its Eee Pad tablet devices, it is unfortunate that the Eee Pad Slider still runs on Android 3.1. At the point of the review, there was no update available for the Slider although the Transformer got updated to Android 3.2. However, we are willing to overlook on this minor aspect as Android 3.2 is not a significant upgrade. Android 3.1 itself is also an incremental upgrade from the original Android 3.0 Honeycomb platform as it has roughly the same user interface and stock features but comes with some refinements and new features. For this section, we will look at several improvements of the Android 3.1 which are relevant for the Eee Pad Slider.
According to Android Developers, the Android 3.1 platform has some user interface (UI) refinements that make it more user-intuitive. For example, there are better UI transitions such as better optimized animation of the Launcher app. UI elements are tweaked in terms of color, positioning and text appearance to make them easier to view, understand and use.
The multitasking tab in Android 3.1 is improved over the one found in Android 3.0. Instead of showing the five most recent apps, the multitasking tab can now show up to 17 apps at one time. This is dependent on individual apps as we found that the Eee Pad Slider could only handle 16 apps on an occasion. Nevertheless, we certainly welcome the expanded multitasking tab which allows you to run more apps at the same time.
In Android 3.1, you also have the ability to resize the widgets on your home screen. Depending on the widget you choose, you can alter the size horizontally and/or vertically. The stock Android email widget (not ASUS E-mail widget) allows you to resize it both ways while the 3 x 3 Bookmarks widget can only be altered vertically. To resize a widget, just press and hold.
The web browser of Android 3.1 has a redesinged Quick Controls user interface, which helps to maximize the screen for a wholesome Internet viewing experience. When it is not in use, it will not appear anywhere on the browser. To activate and use it, just swipe from the left or the right, hold it there and select the settings you want to change. For first time users, we noticed they found it difficult to adapt as the Quick Controls widget disappears once your finger is off the screen. It's a little annoying so it takes time to get used to it.
The additional feature in Android 3.1, connectivity for USB accessories, is especially relevant for the ASUS Eee Pad Slider as it comes with a full-size USB port. With the broad platform support for a range of USB-connected peripherals and accessories, you can attach a mouse or even a thumb drive to the Slider. This is useful especially when you want to transfer big files via a thumb drive. However, do take note that the support for USB on devices may vary and is dependent on device makers.
Last but not least, running on top of the Android 3.1 OS is ASUS' Waveshare User Interface, which made the tablet easier to use. Part of that also includes ASUS adding its own widgets and apps to enhance the usability. We particularly liked the redesigned virtual QWERTY keyboard which makes touch typing much faster. If you want to know more about the ASUS Waveshare UI, its apps and widgets, you can check them out here.