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Sony Tablet S finally gets the Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0.3

Two days back I saw notification on my Sony Tablet S. The notification said “System update available”. I immediately thought it could be Ice Cream Sandwich. And so it is. Actually I gave up that the Tablet S wouldn’t get update, especially after Sony announced it is hard to update the devices to Ice Cream Sandwich, and it was almost one moth over for the 2Q when Sony originally stated that the Tablet S would get at the end of 1Q (which was last week of March). And given the track record of Sony in updating its firmware (which is close to zero), I never really thought this would happen. But to defeat my thought process it came. It took nearly 4 minutes for it to download the update and another 5 minutes to install. My batter was at 33% when it downloaded. Then I had to charge it to at least 50% to get the update process go. The update is smooth and I didn’t encounter any issues. The only major change I saw us not having the customized look of all apps presentation. The only default mode is presented. Rest of the changes like switching between programs is also not Sony style, it is default style of ICS.

This update adds a good number of features such as new home screen actions (default to ICS), access to Google’s Chrome Browser, additional functionality to camera and video, face unlock using the camera to detect you, additional calculator, remote control for multi-tasking and direct access of files on SD Card instead of using File-Transfer which was part of Sony’s Honeycomb version of Android.

The improved web browser allows switching between desktop and mobile mode of a site and also allows you to store the sites to offline view. This could be useful while you are flying or losing Internet connectivity while traveling or other such scenarios.

The File management is also improved a bit, which allows you to edit and manage the pictures on the SD Card in addition to local storage allowing to transfer pictures from a PC or external camera to the tablet via SD card. The SD Card storage until now is used for offline file transfers, which is pretty much useless especially if you are carrying big videos and running out of internal storage.

The applets such as calculator, browser, remote control won’t take full screen and can be moved to a corner to save the real estate on the screen. This update is really a good improvement and makes Tablet S useful.

I found book reading experience on Sony Tablet S is really good when compared to many eBook readers. This update made tablet more useful in addition to my exclusive usage of it for reading eBooks.