When we first received the new NVIDIA Tegra 3
-powered Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime for testing, we had solid communication from both Asus and NVIDIA that this tablet was one of Google's test vehicles for their upcoming Android 4.0 operating system, also referred to as Ice Cream Sandwich. Besides the fact that the folks at Google have a bit of a sweet tooth, at least when it comes to development project code names, this new iteration of Google's OS reportedly was targeted primarily at performance enhancements, with a few feature-adds and UI tweaks thrown into the mix.
Both NVIDIA and Asus were keen to see ICS hit the Transformer Prime as well, since the new OS makes better use of hardware resources to accelerate the user interface itself. And as we've said before, Asus always seems to do a good job with rolling out firmware and software updates for their tablet products; a tradition carried over from their motherboard lineage perhaps. In fact, just as we set out to publish this piece today, Asus kicked out another firmware update that we'll be testing right away.
With that said, we thought you'd like to get a closer look at what Android 4.0 brings to the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, both in terms of a quick overview of new features and of course the requisite performance snapshot as well.
First, here's a quick run-down of what's new with Ice Cream Sandwich.
|Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
|Features and Enhancements
- General performance enhancements
- Virtual buttons in the UI
- Easier-to-create folders, drag-and-drop style
- Customizable launcher
- Pinch-to-zoom functionality in the calendar
- Integrated screenshot capture (hold down Power and Volume-Down buttons)
- Improved error correction for keyboard
- Ability to access apps directly from lock screen
- Improved copy and paste
- Better voice integration and real-time speech to text
- Face Unlock
- New tabbed web browser
- Automatic syncing of browser with Chrome bookmarks
- New Roboto font
- Data usage detail
- Ability to shut down apps that are using data
- Improved camera app with zero shutter lag
- Built-in photo editor
- Refreshed "People" app with social network integration
- Android Beam - NFC feature allowing you to share media with friends
- Hardware acceleration of the UI
- Resizeable widgets – (new for cellphones)
- Wi-Fi Direct
- 1080p video recording
So as you can see, some of the new features with ICS as subtle tweaks, while others, like Face Unlock, screenshot capture and data usage details are more prominent additions to what is already a relatively refined smartphone and tablet OS. Let's take a closer look at ICS, next.