Features - Part II
Honeycomb Gets Sweeter with Android 3.2
ASUS is upping the ante with its Eee Pad Transformer's upgrades. When it was first released, it was powered with Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS. Sometime in late May and early June, the Transformer got an update to Android 3.1. Now, it leaps ahead of the other Android tablets by bringing the updated Android 3.2 OS to all its Eee Pad tablet devices. Honestly, the upgrade to Android 3.2 is not game-changing. It brings about minimal changes, bug fixes, improvements in performance and app zooming. For this review, we will look at app zooming, which is a key highlight of Android 3.2.
While some Android apps that are created specifically for mobile phones do work and look fine on tablets, there are some apps that will look odd and in the worst case scenario, become totally unusable after being stretched to fill the screen. Android 3.2 attempts to address this flaw with its compatibility zoom.
While making apps more usable on the bigger screens of tablets, the app zoom feature does not address the crux of problem, which is the lack of tablet-optimized apps. Google Android needs to spend more effort and time wooing developers to help it catch up with market leader, Apple in this critical aspect. Nevertheless, the app zoom is a welcome feature that will make the user experience on Android tablets better.
The interface of the Transformer remains largely unchanged, with the addition of ASUS' customized widgets and apps. The Honeycomb user interface by default is already a huge improvement over the Android 2.2 tablets we saw last year, and ASUS' tweaks just made it easier to use.
As part of ASUS' Waveshare user interface, the Transformer comes pre-installed with several apps such as MyLibrary, MyNet and MyCloud to enhance its usability.
Seen only in the Transformer is ASUS' redesigned virtual QWERTY keyboard, which we felt made typing on the tablet a lot faster. If you want the stock Honeycomb keyboard, you have the option to switch back via Settings > Language & Input > Keyboard settings > Current input method > English (UK) Keyboard (Android keyboard).
Another useful feature that ASUS equips the Transformer is the ability to do screenshots. A sore point with current Android devices is the inability to take screenshots, unlike their iOS counterparts. The screenshot function can be disabled or enabled via Settings > Screen > Screenshot.