Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet will start receiving an over-the-air update on Friday that will provide the TouchWiz UI and other new and improved features.
Lance WhitneyContributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Owners of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet will receive an update starting tomorrow that will deliver the TouchWiz UX interface and a host of other enhancements.
Sent OTA (over the air), the update package will include Samsung's revamped Media Hub service, Samsung Kies 2.0 support for PCs and Macs, and mobile features for the enterprise crowd.
The most notable feature of the update, the customizable TouchWiz interface, runs on top of Android 3.1 Honeycomb. Among its many options is a Live Panel, which offers home screen widgets that show you the latest news, weather, e-mail, social network updates, and more.
TouchWiz also kicks in a mini apps tray for fast access to the calendar, clock, calculator, task manager, and other frequently used items. The new clipboard lets users copy and paste images, Web pages, and other content from one place to another. And the Indicator Quick Panel allows quick control over the sound, brightness, and other settings.
The redesigned Media Hub provides access to more than 5,000 movies and TV shows, according to Samsung. Users pay for content once and can then share it all among five other Media Hub-connected tablets or smartphones. Using an HDMI dongle, Tab owners can also hook up their tablets to an HDTV.
Samsung Kies 2.0 will offer more options for sharing and synchronizing files from the tablet with both PCs and Macs. Tab users will be able to sync content wirelessly via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The latest update can synchronize contacts from Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo mail and use a library to store videos, music, and other hefty files.
Finally, IT administrators who manage the Tab at the workplace should appreciate the update's new enterprise features. The tablet will now offer full support for Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync version 14, include built-in encryption to protect important files, and offer the ability to connect to a corporate network via Cisco's Virtual Private Network (VPN) software.
Tab owners who want to grab the update as soon as it's available can set up a Samsung account through the company's Web site. You'll then receive e-mail notification telling you when your device can be upgraded and explaining how to do it.
Beyond offering a new update for the Tab 10.1, Samsung finally seems about ready to launch its 8.9-inch tablet. Amazon's U.K. site is now listing the smaller tablet as in stock on August 12, available for preorder now, and selling for 605.34 pounds ($988).
We've reached out to Samsung to ask when the new tablet might reach the shores of the U.S. and will update the story if we hear back.