Something that I missed from yesterday’s UK launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 – Samsung issued a major software update for the device around the rest of the world, at the same time. The device had already been released in Asia and America, of course.
The key feature of the update was something called “TouchWiz”, a new user interface for large screen tablets, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The over-the-air download is non-optional, the paper says, and users won’t be able to remove the Samsung features even if they want to return to the standard Android platform.
It makes an obvious but important point – that such additional Android customisations will be increasingly important to help vendors distinguish their Android offerings, but the quicker realease will always be of the ‘vanilla’ Android…
While Samsung is seeking to differentiate itself on the Android platform, Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart said it is likely a matter of time before other vendors, such as Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI), take similar steps.
“It’s a matter of timing,” he said. “Motorola wanted to be first to market with the Xoom so they couldn’t customize the software. And Samsung itself launched their product without these capabilities. [That is what happens] when you’re building off of someone else’s platform.”
As for TouchWiz, Samsung describes it thus:
The Samsung TouchWiz UX is specifically designed to work with Android™ Honeycomb 3.1 to optimize the large screen tablet user experience. The TouchWiz UX delivers superior multi-tasking and customization for an enhanced visual, fluid and intuitive mobile computing experience. TouchWiz UX features are scheduled to include:
• Live Panel: Magazine-like widget view for immediate access to weather, social updates, email, news, photo gallery, all on the home screen. The visual layout of Live Panel is completely customizable for one-touch entry into each user’s most important information.
• Mini Mode Tray: One-touch access to commonly used applications–Task Manager, Calendar, World Clock, Pen Memo, Calculator, Music–which overlay in a pop-up window on display screen for powerful multi-tasking.
• Clipboard: Advanced copy & paste functionality allows Galaxy Tab 10.1 users to store photos, Web pages, YouTube links, etc., on the clipboard for easy sharing via email and social network sites.
• Indicator Quick Panel: Quickly toggle on/off Wi-Fi, notifications, sound, brightness and settings in lower right hand corner of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 display.
• Photo Editor: Rotate, crop and adjust colors on high quality digital images