Android 3.1 Tested On The Asus Eee Pad Transformer

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News Posted: Fri, May 27 2011 5:30 PM
In our recent detailed coverage of Asus' ever-fab, Editor's Choice-winning Eee Pad Transformer tablet, we told you that even better things lie ahead as Google rolls out their 3.1 release of Android Honeycomb.  Little did we know that roll-out would be coming sooner than later. Today, a buzzy, fuzzy little Bumble Bee floated a new Transformer firmware update our way, packing Honeycomb 3.1 in all its golden sweetness.  Quick on the up-take, we dropped the payload on to a microSD card faster than a hornet zipping around your Memorial Day weekend fruit salad bowl. Volume rocker up, while holding the power button down, we toggled into ROM boot mode and selected the update for installation.  A mere few minutes later we were pinch/zoom and swiping around Android 3.1 on the Transformer.

So was it all that and a box of Fenway Crack Jack? Suffice it to say that 3.1 doesn't quite drive the RBIs like Youk and Gonzalez or jack-up home runs like Ortiz, but it's smooth on the base-path like only Jacoby can be and yeah, the ladies can get their Ellsbury on too.


Asus Eee Pad Transformer Android 3.1 Firmware Installed


Resizable App Widgets and Better Multitasking Responsiveness

Android 3.1 is about the little things, as they say; some of those things are more apparent than others.  Resizable application widgets are really nice to play with; setting up your favorite home screen just the way you like it, so you can see as much or as little quick-take data as you want in your favorite apps and feeds.  However, what's likely more impressive to die-hard HH readers will be the performance enhancements brought on by 3.1, with its significantly more responsive multitasking capabilities and even a slightly more responsive touch interface.  Previously, there was a 5 second lag when going from the home screen back to the Books app, so the device could pull data on the eBook out of cache.  That lag is no longer and in general, switching between apps is more fluid and responsive.  Also web browsing has been goosed up a notch or two, with significantly more responsive pinch, zoom and scroll action.


Enhanced Honeycomb 3.1 Webkit Browser with Quick Controls

Android 3.1's webkit browser has also been buffed out a bit with features coined "Quick Controls."  Notice the vertical scroll button here in this screen shot.  Overall, the browsing experience feels much more accessible and desktop-like, in terms of user interface and functionality.


Asus' roots in motherboard updates is evident.
It's obvious they "get it", when it comes to firmware updates for end users.


The last major bullet point we'll toss out there is performance.  One of the subtle selling points of Android 3.1 is improved graphics performance.  In our testing with An3DBenchXL, we saw modest gains but we're continuing our performance testing with Android 3.1 and will keep you posted in the days ahead.



Update 5/29 - As it turns out, Javascript performance has taken a hit somewhat with Android 3.1. Asus and Google may have a bit more tweaking to do in some areas but in general the UI and capacitive touch response of the Transformer has definitely improved with Android 3.1  Things just feel a lot more fluid in spots.  Though SunSpider may not show it here, we'd offer that page load times while web browsing have been improved slightly as well.

Other small updates to the Eee Pad Transformer, that are available to end users now, are improved typing speeds, mouse tracking and USB compatibility.  This is courtesy of a firmware update for the Transformer's keyboard dock.  In short, if you're an early adopter and jumped on the Eee Pad Transformer when it first hit, your investment just served up a bunch more ROI and your experience just got better.  We're told this update will be available to the public in the "near future."  We're hearing Tuesday 5/31 at this point.  Bring it Asus.
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herlof replied on Fri, May 27 2011 8:24 PM

another reason to buy it,  maybe next week and also guys i will like to see more videos of 2 and 1/2 geeks more often

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Dave_HH replied on Fri, May 27 2011 8:29 PM

We'll be rolling out a 2.5 Geeks episode on Monday! :)

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acarzt replied on Fri, May 27 2011 9:14 PM

Seriously Dave... yall gotta stop posting about this Asus tab... You're gonna make me brake my wedding budget :-x

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Dave_HH replied on Fri, May 27 2011 9:21 PM

:-D That's what we're here for mano. You think you can resist but we pull you back! Muhahahahah! :-D

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carrx replied on Fri, May 27 2011 10:04 PM

can we get a leak of this? Mr. Altavilla. Post it on XDA if you're ok with it.

Thanks

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KMarira replied on Fri, May 27 2011 10:37 PM

I too want to see this file xda, also could you please test you tube app performance with HD videos, its my only dissapointment

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Dave_HH replied on Fri, May 27 2011 10:46 PM

Hi All, I've asked Asus if we can post but I wouldn't hold your breath. The specifically said "press only" when they sent this to us. That said, maybe we'll get lucky and they'll allow us to host it here at the user's own risk. We love XDA's forum but we love HH more and if we're allowed to, we'll be serving it here. :)

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Dave_HH replied on Fri, May 27 2011 10:58 PM

Just watched two episodes of Ray William Johnson in full screen mode with no dropped frames. :)

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JCalanio replied on Fri, May 27 2011 11:04 PM

Hey Dave, can you please try out watching videos in MKV or H.264 high profile codecs? Those formats in 720p and up are pretty much a hit-and-miss playback on the Transformer. We're hoping that the 3.1 update should rectify this issue. Thanks, and great article!

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BHoey replied on Fri, May 27 2011 11:10 PM

hey Dave, hows recording play back. ps when using it wile charging pluged in to the wall and the doc i get a light buzz if i rub my hands next to the pad or along the top edge. u get tha at all almost feels like puring.lol

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realneil replied on Fri, May 27 2011 11:23 PM

So you got to keep the reviewed Eee Pad? Lucky Dog,.........they're still impossible to find.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

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Dave_HH replied on Sat, May 28 2011 1:36 AM

Shh.... who said that? ;)

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LBowen replied on Sat, May 28 2011 1:56 AM

I just got my new phone with Android and it is incredibly responsive.  That coupled with your reviews on this pad have me fighting the urge to throw some money down.

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