December 16, 2012

What's wrong with the Jelly Bean update on Samsung Galaxy Tab 2?

I like the seven inch form factor when it comes to tablets. I always think it is better than the massive, difficult to hold ten inch tablets. Apple following the footpath of Samsung with their IPad Mini and Amazon with their Kindle Fire only reiterate the fact that seven inch is the best tablet form factor. That is exactly why I bought the first Galaxy Tab and later the Tab 2, the moment it was out on market.

When you talk about hardware, Tab 2 is superior to Tab 1. I can't imagine you can get better hardware on Tab 2 at half the price of Tab 1. But that's what Samsung has done. It is the software that was a disappointment.
After all the marketing hype around Ice cream Sandwich, the software is left wanting. ICS in some sense was a step backward from Gingerbread than a step forward. The most prominent of them being the text on the browser not arranging itself on zoom. You are reading something and you want to zoom as the letters are small. There was no way the text would rearrange when you zoom. Or the text would already be rearranged for a particular zoom level. Until Dolphin Beta came along with an automatic text rearrange feature on zoom, I had to struggle to read on browser. ICS on Tab 2 looked like it was designed only for landscape reading and I for one hate landscape reading. Why? Because since most paperback books for normal reading are in portrait, it is natural for you to expect the same from the tablet. You use a tablet for content consumption and the best content consumption designs are portrait.
I was hoping that the Jelly Bean update would take care of this problem. Yesterday evening, I got the Jelly Bean update notification on my Tab too and I downloaded it with too much of hope. I realized it was a mistake  I don't know who to blame, Samsung or Google  The Jelly Bean update was again a disappointment when it came to portrait viewing. They have not corrected the text readjustment flaw.
To add insult to injury, they seem to have made another horrible design decision. The App drawer on the top corner and the notification bar at the bottom was the best design decision when it came to ICS. Now, Jelly Bean update on Tab 2 has changed all that, wasting a lot of screen real estate with two bars on screen. There is a bar at the bottom for home button etc and a notification bar at the top. I am sure the Samsung or Google Engineer who made this decision was drunk when he did it and this is exactly why I respect Johny Ive when it comes to design.
They should learn it is all about where your fingers feel easy to go when you are reading. When it comes to notifications, your fingers feel it easy to go to the bottom of the page than top. That's the most natural way your fingers behave when you are immersed and tablet is about immersion.  But the Jelly Bean update just blew it!

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