Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 8.9 to Have Customizations on Top of Honeycomb


Our friend Brandon from PocketNow somehow stumbled across some promotional materials Samsung will be using to highlight features of its new 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab expected to be announced here in Orlando tomorrow. (We’re secretly jealous because we were interrogated the moment we even looked at an unfinished booth.)

Anywho, Samsung’s looking to be the first OEM to customize Honeycomb as they’ll be debuting a new user interface called Live Panels. It has oversized versions of widgets found in other TouchWiz devices like Buddies Now, Agenda, Weather, News, etc.

It also implements a feature called “Mini Apps Tray” that’ll allow you to switch between bite-sized apps that won’t kick you back to the homescreen. We imagine things like a quick look at the weather and a notepad will be included among the 6 applications they’re starting with. We’ll have to get a better idea of this stuff tomorrow when Samsung unveils it so be sure to stick with us as we’ll be on hand to provide coverage.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  2. Touchwiz!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO

  3. DoA

  4. Yea, seems like everytime a carrier or OEM overlays extra software “features” or “custom interface” on top of Vanilla Android it is a fail. In the end people want the phone to do its job and do it well, or this case a tablet. Custom features and interfaces means longer wait for upgrades and more specialized software set that doesnt play as well with 3rd party app makers etc. Partially why 2.2 has taken ETERNITY to get released for my Samsung Epic4g. I really like Samsungs hardware but their software sucks compared to HTC. I am afriad the Epic lack of software upgrades has left a bad taste in my mouth and my first tablet will be iPad2 or HTC device. A prettier screen on a samsung dont mean much to most people if it doesnt do basic things that competitors offerings bring but on a lesser quality screen. Might wow you in the store with its beautiful resolution but after using it you want the features and bells and whistles of the latest software and upgrades.

  5. Someone forgot their happy pills today…..

  6. To everyone complaining about a custom UI, I have one word: Root. Moving right along……

  7. Wow, some serious anger before we even see a demo…I will reserve judgement till a demo and if I don’t like the interface, that is easily fixed. At least companies are trying to give the tablet a better interface!

  8. I don’t care for the customization. I don’t care about it either. If it works great, if not, root it.
    The only question I have is how much:)

  9. F*ck You Samsung :(

    This was my dream tablet …
    8.9″ my perfect screen size …
    Under 500 gram, perfect weight …
    8.6 cm thin, perfect size!
    Honeycomb …



  10. Just looks like some Samsung widgets…

  11. I hear their 10.1 tablet will have Vanilla Android. If it doesn’t take them to long to release it, I’ll take a look before committing to the xoom. Please don’t encourage their customizations by buying them. Thanks for the laugh Frongy — I agree.

  12. We all knew this was coming…my only concern is with updates…Honeycomb has bugs and glitches in it…atleast on the Xoom is does…and I am not sure I want to leave it up to samsung to provide updates to fix the problems….yeah…probably not

  13. yamiyaiba — I know rooting is popular but who are you going to go after if one of your roms ends up including viruses that steal your personal information.

  14. The first time you turn on the device, you should be prompted for a choice between Vanilla and the customizations.


  16. To me UI customizations of android haven’t provided a benefit. They slow down updates and the phones aren’t as fast. Samsung has a bad track record with updating their devices. I couldn’t recommend this to anyone.

  17. This news ruined my day. I’m pissed :( Better to get some sleep now and hopefully I will dream about my perfect Android tablet … Grrrr!

  18. More specs reviled by, 1ghz dual core, 470 gram and best of allllllllllllll 8.6666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666 mm yes only 8.6 mm.

  19. sorry for spelling mistake :p its “revealed” not “reviled”. spell checking. spell checker sucks

  20. I will not be getting this crap!!

  21. @anon even with the option, you will still get very slow or not OS updates!!!

    Only stock Android means very fast OS updates!!!

  22. touchpiss lol great. yeah ur right samsung isnt known for their support at all. i agree than one can root but you gotta understand not all people are savy enough

  23. Wow, get a life, people. If you don’t like the tablet, go buy a XOOM. And no stock Android doesn’t mean fast updates, that goes only for Nexus devices.

  24. Devices that have stock Android are still maintained by the device’s manufacturer so updates are still at there mercy, as opposed to a “Nexus Tablet” which would be maintained by Google…

    Am I correct in saying this?

  25. The vast majority, and I mean vast, of users would prefer to have to streamline UI over fast updates.

    Heck the only reason I ended up with Cynogenmod is some unfortunate tinkering prevented me from getting the 2.2 update for my Incredible, Sense provides a great user experience and HTC’s update times are insane.

    The company is going to focus on the masses not our little tech niche, yes stock is often better for people who want to tinker with the device but that doesn’t mean it’s better for all consumers.

  26. Guys, chill. If you want stock android, just get the Xoom or Galaxy Tab 10.1. Or, if you like the size of this, ROOT it. It’s not rocket science. Besides, some people may like it.

  27. Wifi only version?

  28. You know what I don’t understand? The customizations are usually just a homescreen replacer. Why don’t they make it a normal homescreen replacer app (like launcher pro) that you can just uninstall?

  29. Fudge…..I love that it is not as big as the Xoom…but not as Small as the Galaxy tab….and it is lighter and thinner than the ipad2…..might have to get this and just root it….fudge I dont want a samsung!

  30. @Alex

    I saw this suggestion somewhere before:

    On first power up of the tablet you get the choice of what launcher/skin you want.

  31. Sorry, but FAIL Samsung FAIL!!!!!

  32. @Alex…because they are stupid….

    They should make their skins a Launcher App…but provide you stock Android…that way you can get upgrades…and then you can also just get Launcher upgrades as well…

  33. If this has mkv-accelerated playback I’m sold! Really don’t care for stock android as it lacks a lot of features that should be present, especially for a tablet.

  34. HTC’s Sense *may* have been the skin that led other manufacturers to commit to these weird “SKIN OR DEATH” philosophies. Remember, Android, even now at 3.0, is still extremely young. HTC did a great job not only making Donut and others look eye-catching and appealing to the mass market, it improved functionality in several areas (well, assuming the consumer doesn’t know how to make those changes him/herself, anyway… which, face it, is the VAST majority of Android users).

    Getting back on topic, when Android began to gain some steam, HTC was almost universally praised by critics for their work with the software. Users who weren’t familiar with Android and / or don’t know that stock android can be customized pretty much any way you can possibly imagine might never buy an “ugly” looking android, but Sense looks polished and fun.

    SO, maybe 6 months later the genius CEO at MegaJerk Phones says “HTC is doing great because they… what was the word… “skimmed” their phone. I put an under-staffed team of devs to work on our own skim project, and made sure that their deadline is far too soon.

    The reviews roll out, and their skin is criticized by “tech enthusiasts” (nerds) but the mass market doesn’t really care TOO much (in fact, I bet a lot of people would prefer TouchWiz over vanilla for making their device *seemingly* more user friendly). Instead of abandoning the skin, the devs who are being blamed for everything say, in their defense, “we needed more time etc” so the boss says “fine, fine, I’ll aprove a three person team to have 2.0 ready for next Friday’s stock report. oh and DON’T SCREW IT UP THIS TIME.”

    Then they pay millions in ads for their new phones with skin “MegaDurr” and make it TOP PRIORITY! Because why would anyone buy their phone if they don’t have a unique skin that can cripple the device in its own unique fashion? Seriously though, marketing means almost everything, and if you can’t boast faster RAM or better screen tech to the average consumer, slap that skin on there and call it something catchy like blur / sense / touchwiz etc.

    So why don’t they just offer the choice like (#11) anon said above? I think the way they see it, they can either a) force you to advertise their skin or b) let the buyer pick whether or not they are going to advertise for the company (…and lets face it again, to non “tech enthusiasts,” this choice itself would be downright confounding, but I admit that there are certainly many easy solutions).

    Android is a truly wonderful mobile OS, but damn, if you didn’t know your way around the software, that shit used to be ugly next to an iphone. I bet the OEMs didn’t predict it would ever kick ass in its stock form, and HTC already proved that a cool skin can do great things for your company, so they went the way of the skin – it must have seemed the obvious thing to do, to differentiate themselves from other companies to average consumers. And at this point, after soo much money has been poured into advertising and like 50 bucks spent on development, it’s too late to go back now. After raving about the wonders of Blur to stockholders and the tech industry again and again and spending all that moo-lah, whoever is in charge would look like an ass and perhaps get canned if s/he said “lol nm blur sux amirite.”

    I’m just talking out my ass (shocker!), but still, I really wouldn’t be surprised if Sense, the one skin that really had value (even to nerds) at one point in time, ended up causing and / or promoting OEM’s stubborn dedication to their skins.

    The biggest hole in this argument is that Google encourages OEMs to make android their own, so to speak, but perhaps that would have meant different suites of apps and widgets instead of all-encompassing skins.

  35. Cool UI Samsung. Stock Honeycomb looks too unpolished for my tastes. Samsung already know a thing or two about a tablet UI from making the awesome Galaxy Tab and I bet this will be loads better than stock.

    If you want stock Honeycomb, you have lots of choice,even the Galaxy Tab 10.1…

  36. Of course Samsung, of course.

  37. I definitely won’t bother with the Tab 8.9. Yes, the Samsung customisations may be an improvement on the stock Honeycomb but I’ve seen time and time again that custom UIs just delay Android OS upgrades. I would much rather have quick Android OS updates than to have a slightly improved UI. Besides, Android’s UI is getting better with each release and Honeycomb is pretty good itself. Why can’t manufacturers just leave the UI alone.

  38. This trend has GOT to end. OEM’s are wasting valuable time and money resources that they could be using to, oh, I don’t know, maybe UPGRADE CUSTOMERS IN A REASONABLE TIME-TABLE.

    Seriously, is anyone sitting here saying “I will only buy an HTC phone because I luuuuuuuuuuv HTC Sense” or “Motoblur 4 life!” or “Touchwiz fer shiz!!”. NO. Because they all suck.

    Way to go, Samsung. You continually give me more and more reasons to never recommend a single one of your products to anyone who asks me for Android advice (and believe me, I get asked a lot)

  39. NOOOO! Fuck you Samsung!

  40. @Acer1096xxx I want stock Android on the size table I need 7″ to 8.9″.

  41. When will they ever learn! Custom UI’s should be optional!

  42. Great tablet with great specs and weight

    I think Mini Apps Tray is better than task switcher in stock Honeycomb

  43. Google nexus tablet ?

  44. They have to use a custom UI as the resolution won’t be 1280*800.

    You heard it hear first!

  45. @sibailey1 You can get this tablet with stock android if you root it and install a custom ROM that allows you to do so. I know it’s a hassle, but it’s better than nothing.

  46. whoops correction to the above, 1280*800 was confirmed by pocketnow

  47. I don’t mind custom UI as long as it is good like HTC Sense or that SPB awesomeness
    But if you’re not going to put some effort then don’t try to mess everything up.

  48. her we go again……why cant they leave the effing tablet the way it is! Honeycomb is beautiful. WE DONT NEED ANYING EFFING “enhancements” anymore! FREAKING A!!!!!!

  49. STock Android doesn’t mean fast updates. I had a plain vanilla Motorola Milestone and the milestone has just received its Froyo update. that also with glitches.

  50. Oooooh…. I read the title wrong. I thought it said: Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 8.9 to f&%* up Honeycomb

  51. I agree. Leave the UI alone. Just somebody please write some apps for honeycomb!

  52. All these folks complaining to Samsung (or whatever OEM) seem to be under the mistaken impression that they have any interest in what their customers would like. Marketing is supposed to make those decisions for you.

  53. I understand the concern about the UI. However, there are some limitations on Honeycomb that Samsung is trying to fix. 1st. on a device with only an 8.9″ screen and Honeycomb not using the entire screen to display desktop icon/widgets/shortcuts,etc.

    I read an article from someone who purchased the Motorola Xoom and put Launch Pro 3rd Party UI on it. because he hated that Honeycomb did not use all the screen real estate.

    I agree with him and think if the Manufacturer sees a need or a short coming and thinks it could help by provided a UI that off-sets that short coming then. More Power to Them. and if we don’t like it we can buy something else or root it like yamiyaiba said.

    I like the fact that Samsung is standing up to Apple and the iPad on form factor. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is on 8.6mm think with a 1Ghz Dual Core processor and should be LED backlit with a much higher contrast ratio than the xoom so the screen should look more like the iPad’s screen. WOW.

    Samsung was the first real player with Android to contest Apple and it seems to be the only real player now. (in light of At&T buying T-Mobile and may kill the G-Slate release)

    I cant wait to see the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9

    don’t forget Apple and Android are all running Linux Core. its the UI that makes the difference.

  54. I don’t mean to nitpick but iOS is based on Darwin which is based on NextSTEP which is in turn based on BSD, a variant of UNIX, not Linux.

  55. when google gives permission to OEM to modify UI, you guys should not crib about it when an OEM takes advantage of it, just buy a different tab/slate, if you don’t like OEM modifications, I am pretty sure XOOM is stock android.

  56. ugh i was hoping honeycomb+ would be the end to the extra UI layer. Samsung is especially bad at upgrading their UI for latest versions of android. It really does their customers a disservice. But in the end I don’t care much because I’m not and wont be a customer of their products, until they fix that.

    HTC FTW.

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