Motorola Xoom Ice Cream Sandwich Update Hands-On

Motorola Xoom Ice Cream Sandwich Update Hands-On

Jan 19, 2012

One of the first tablets to get an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade is the Motorola Xoom. Motorola began sending out the update this week to users of the wifi version of the tablet, and I have officially gotten to take it for a spin.

The tablet is actually much faster after the upgrade. There were little moments of sluggishness on Honeycomb, and it affected games at times, but not so on ICS. It runs smoother thane ver before. Interface elements pop up instantly, games run smoother. Apple’s upgrades are known for generally slowing down older devices; apparently this isn’t the case with the Xoom, though this may have a lot to do with Android’s architecture; there’s more room for optimization along with feature enhancement because it’s software meant to be run on various hardware, instead of iOS being written from the ground up for set hardware configurations.

Screen capture is finally here on the Xoom, though it is a little tricky. The command – hold down volume down and power simultaneously for a second – works, the problem is that the volume keys on the Xoom are small and hard to press down in an instant. This makes screen capture a rather tricky proposition, more so than other phones where hitting both keys simultaneously is much easier. This might not be great for taking game screenshots, but it will help for some cases, and with practice, who knows, one-handed screenshot capture is possible because the buttons are all on the top left of the device.

The new Roboto font is very nice looking, and brings a great unified look to the OS. The design feels more consistent now, although not a lot has really changed from the previous Honeycomb experience, it’s just a lot of tweaks. On phones, it may be different, but for tablet users, ICS is full of nice little tweaks, it isn’t a life-changing upgrade. There is no face unlock for the Xoom, it appears. Note that the default notification sound from Honeycomb for the Xoom is nowhere to be found, so get used to all new sounds. Other apps have gotten minor visual tweaks – Gmail has a tweaked look, and boasts an easily-accessible “mark unread” button. The People app is also a major update to Contacts – it does well to integrate in social data from Google+, and it also includes data from third-party apps like Twitter.

Data usage does work for the Xoom Wifi, and it’s useful to see just what exactly is transmitting data, though of course, with wifi, data usage is not a concern unless with metered internet connections. The SD card slot still appears to be read-only, which still makes zero sense – why would Motorola include an SD slot on a device that would be read-only?

Still, minor issues aside, this is a useful update for the tablet, especially as the improved smoothness makes it far more useful. Now, let’s hope other manufacturers can get on the ball with updates to the latest and greatest Android.

Carter Dotson
Carter Dotson, editor of Android Rundown, has been covering Android since late 2010, and the mobile industry as a whole since 2009. Originally from Texas, he has recently moved to Chicago. He loves both iOS and Android for what they are - we can all get along!
Connect with Carter Dotson // email // www
  • Lovelle3025

    ooh I cant wait to get home from work to download it!

  • swk

    Go to settings, interface, power menu, tick screenshot