Hands on with Samsung’s TouchWiz UX, the first custom Honeycomb UI

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When we sat down with Samsung yesterday to check out the new Galaxy Tab 8.9 and the improved and thinner Galaxy Tab 10, we were alerted that its TouchWiz UX user interface is the first custom UI on top of Android 3.0 Honeycomb. While it won’t ship on any of the Galaxy Tab family of tablets right away, Samsung does plan to issue an update that applies TouchWiz UX down the road a bit — in fact the new UI should wind up on all of the Galaxy Tab tablets in the near future. Samsung’s UI adds a bunch of features on top of Honeycomb, so hit the jump and we’ll go through some of them together — and don’t forget to check out our photo gallery!

The first noticeable feature in TouchWiz UX is that Samsung has ported over a number of widgets such as calendar, gallery, address book, a music player and more, which can all be dragged around the homescreen like separate little windows. Similarly, there’s a favorite mini-apps section that can be pulled up from the bottom of the screen to quickly launch your favorite and most used applications. If you want to resize an application, like Weather for example, simply long press on it and then pull at the edges. A new weather app, which displays more information, will then appear on the homescreen. Even cooler, you can create little snapshots of your bookmarks on your homescreen that quickly launch to the full page when tapped. Another feature lets you manage widgets on your homescreen by providing a list of them all, as well as a snapshot of each one of your five homescreens. Simply drag a widget to any one of them to apply it. We also liked Samsung’s Social Hub service in TouchWiz UX, which makes it easy to manage and quickly access all of your social networking applications.

There’s certainly a lot to love about stock Android 3.0 Honeycomb, but we wanted to give you a glimpse of the new user interfaces that will be pushed out to some of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab units in the future. The TouchWiz UX may not be for everyone, but we think a lot of people are really going to enjoy it.

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