Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

Summary: The latest tablet version of Android is a refined, but not a revolutionary taste.


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  • The Ice Cream Sandwich screen lock is similar to that of Honeycomb. On the Motorola XOOM, face unlock via the front facing camera has not been implemented.

  • The Ice Cream Sandwich Homescreen. Note the new group icons that allow you to organize your applications, similar to that on the iPad's iOS 5. As with Honeycomb there are five homescreens that can be used for shortcuts to applications, groups, and for widget placement.

Topics: Hardware, Android, Google, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

    Doesnt look a whole lot different than my Transformer on Honeycomb.....
    How,is the functionality though?

    [i]inquiring minds......[/i]
  • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

    It's annoying the Apps button is button left on ICS on Smartphones but top right (why on earth is it top left?) on ICS on Tablets.

    Facebook looks awful stretched. I'd much prefer it wasn't stretched and just left centre of the screen. I'll definitely be using the Desktop with an Android tablet. Maybe using the app for it's notification abilities still.

    It's about time MAC OS X and Windows had a proper Notifications system. Both are very outdated in this regard compared to iOS/Android/Windows Phone. Hopefully Windows 8 will have something.
    • You have probably already seen it...


      "It's about time MAC OS X and Windows had a proper Notifications system. Both are very outdated in this regard compared to iOS/Android/Windows Phone. Hopefully Windows 8 will have something."

      Have you seen the new start screen in windows 8?

      Every app has a tile. Every tile is a live notification for the app. There you go...
    • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet


      Yes it will. It will notify you that the system has crashed and is going to reboot.
      Remember BSOD :)
  • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

    I have Android 4.0.3 on my Transformer Prime. I admit I have rooted it and I am using a different theme but otherwise it works smoothly and amazingly fast. The problems I have are connected to apps apparently not being fully optimized to ICS. Even though they claim to be.

    One thing I really love is that I can now for real use the tablet for business critical stuff too. I do not use the simple slide to un-lock feature. Instead I decided to use the encryption feature so I have to enter a pass-phrase each time to get in. At least all content is encrypted now so I can use it for banking, amazon, ebay, etc without being afraid to loose it.

    Only fear is that it stops recognizing my pass-phrase which happened to me on my Galaxy Tab. Oh well ;o)

    But everything is fast and I find that the ICS GUI is very intuitive and living up to my expectations.
  • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

    So hillarious the failed Metro interface attempt :)
    • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

      @keoz if MSFT can execute with much better battery life and low prices for about the equivalent (and consistent) OS performance, Google may not find that hilarious.
  • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

    Jason, just checking - you say "the new ICS "Recent Tasks" implements task killing capability " whereas in your last article you said it doesn't kill tasks, just removes them from the recent tasks list. <br><br>Has functionality changed with the official release? Do you retract any of your views about Android Multitasking now?
    • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

      @argon0 I clarified this somewhat in my last article about Android 4.0. It can kill tasks, but not in the way the full task manager does.

      [i]"Having researched the multitasking changes in Ice Cream Sandwich a bit further, I now realize that the ???Recent tasks??? button is in fact a task switcher that can in fact stop tasks, but it???s not a particularly useful one because even though it is supposed to ???nice kill??? the processes when you stop them, it doesn???t stop services from re-spawning and it won???t necessarily kill badly-behaving applications, like say, Facebook, which has to be one of the most awfully written pieces of garbage since iTunes.

      So you have to end up using the real task killer in the Settings menu anyway.

      It also doesn???t distinguish between tasks you ???recently started??? and tasks that are actually still running either. And it won???t stop services and apps from re-spawning themselves when you don???t want them to, and there???s no way to control apps which re-spawn services on a global operating system level and on a granular basis, just like iOS has with push notifications which you can turn on and off on an app by app basis.

      That sort of thing is left up to the Android app developer, which may or may not put in a setting to turn off things such as polling of the network, et cetera.

      I???m also aware of the ???unused memory is wasted memory??? argument and that Android releases resources on its own and also caches processes and apps so they start up faster.

      Well guess what. If the memory isn???t there when a demanding application needs it, and the task killer, automatic or not is unable to stop an errant process, you???re screwed. Sorry folks, but if kill an app using a task manager or switcher, I really want to know that it is actually gone. And I suspect so do a majority of end-users that don???t work with things like Linux every day."[/i]
      • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

        @jperlow Thanks for the pointer, I think I read your two previous Android 4 articles in the wrong order!
  • Screen Unlock

    I miss the rippling effect when unlocking the screen.
  • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

    Currently I am running ICS 4.0.3 (CM9) on my Samsung Galaxy S, and I admit the Tablet and the Smartphone version have very minuscule differences.
  • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

    I have 4 on my xoom - to be honest I find it slow and fragile compared to the 3.x I ran before. Yes it might be the apps (not using the right API etc) but even google apps are just less smooth it seems to me. In fact the only ICS features I'm impacted by (the OS is largely invisible) are negative ones...I preferred the sweep animation in the apps window to the crude "fold away" ICS version as you go from page to page..
    One positive is the choice of fonts for clock, notifications etc...that's nicer (whoop d'do:-)
    For me the stability better increase soon or I would want to down-date back to 3.X
  • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

    ICS 4.0.3 on my Xoom still has the "Media Storage has stopped bug" - very annoying. You can ameliorate it by erasing the Media Storage data storage, but it comes back.
    Steven J. Ackerman
  • RE: Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 on a Tablet

    I have a RAmos W6HD 7" tablet with 1024 x 600 anti-glare screen.
    Lovely machine and now with Android ICS 2012112 version with Android Market.
    ICS is fast, smooth, easy to set up and looks good.
    Recommendations for ICS and the W6HD.
    Some of my computer club members have also bought the W6HD for which I am also upgrading the old 2011229 ICS which does not have the market app.
    Also, apparently version 2012115 has ext-SD-card pecularities ?

  • Xoom is faster, but...

    Apart from some improved performance, the changes are largely cosmetic. The real issues - opening up access to the micro-usb port, a native file manager, and full support of the micro-usb card remain unresolved.
  • Clock Display in taskbar gone on Cyanogenmod9 ; how do I get it back?

    I have an HP Touchpad with Cyanogenmod9 installed. The clock on the bottom right of the taskbar is missing. I cannot view the time. How do I re-enable it?