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Ice Cream Sandwich for the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX hands-on

Ice Cream Sandwich for the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX hands-on
From the looks of it all, Motorola needed Google to unveil Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in order for them to finally upgrade its beloved Motorola DROID RAZR smartphones to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Back last fall when the Motorola DROID RAZR was announced, it was mentioned at the time that a future software upgrade would eventually bring the Android 2.3 Gingerbread powered device to Android 4.0. Nearly 6 months later, both the Motorola DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX are finally seeing the long time coming software update.

No doubt it’s late to the game, but nevertheless, we’re able to evaluate its presentation against some the other customized Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich experiences out there. Naturally, Samsung’s TouchWiz Nature UX and HTC Sense 4.0 come to mind instantly bearing a drastic departure from the vanilla experience of Android 4.0, but with Motorola’s take, it seems to dispel all aspects of MOTOBLUR. Instead, it simply appears cleaner and less cartoony, which isn’t a bad thing since it’s close to the stock experience. With that folks, let’s take a closer look at what the new software brings to the table to anxious DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX owners out there.




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posted on 01 Jul 2012, 17:25 1

1. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


i'm sure it was mostly Verizon that kept this because the leaks from even a few months ago felt ready to go but oh well, it's here now, i'm sure everyone that's getting this is LOVING it so now we can all wait for some JB.

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 21:52

11. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5571; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Count me as one of the happy campers. I have been using ICS for a little more than 24 hours. E-mail integration is way improved over 2.3.6. With 2.3.6, the e-mail client would hang and not receive pushed e-mails (even from gmail.com...). It got to the point where every day, I would start the day off with a hard reset (power down followed by power up). So far, ICS on my RAZR is getting all of the e-mails.

The only meh would be with the stock sms app - composing a text message results in displaying white text on a black background. Apparently my eyes don't see white on black as well as black on white. I have tried to reset the text display to black on white, but so far, no joy. Any solution would be appreciated.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 00:30 1

17. Femto (Posts: 61; Member since: 21 Mar 2012)


No problem. Use Handcent SMS instead of the stock messaging application. Then, you can set the font and the background colors to whatever colirs you would like; including black text on a white background.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 00:37

18. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5571; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Thanks for the suggestion. I was looking at third party SMS apps on the Play store. What is special about Handcent versus the other SMS apps? There seem to be about 4 apps that are rated 4.5+ and they seem relatively similar. How to choose A vs. B vs. C vs. D?

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 01:07

21. Femto (Posts: 61; Member since: 21 Mar 2012)


Honestly, I've only tried Handcent and Chomp. It was close to 3 years ago, which is probably why I don't remember what it was that I didn't like on Chomp. I have been a loyal Handcent user since. It is incredibly customizable. I've been so happy with it that I had never felt the need to shop around for something else. I would just recommend giving it a shot. The fonts, font sizes, font colors, incoming and outgoing text backgrounds/bubbles, as well as the general backgrounds are all customizable in terms of appearance and color. Color choices are infinite. Notification appearances and manner of notification are customizable, as well. Customizable photos of yourself and your contacts can be set to appear in the text string. There are also numerous animated and non-animated attachments that you can play with if you are so inclined. AND it's all free. like I said, I would give it a shot and if there's something you feel is missing and you cannot unearth it within the settings, then you are always free to try another app. I would just say that this seems to be a very good one.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 02:00

25. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


i remember seeing a comment on a youtube video that if you set HandsetSMS as your default that it'll even replace the default sms app shortcut on the lock screen. o:

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 03:52

29. Twashbush (Posts: 47; Member since: 08 Jun 2011)


You can change the SMS and the camera app on the unlock screen you just have to go to manage apps and disable the stock app and it will then replace it on the unlock with whatever replacement app you have for said function.

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 21:52 2

12. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


I'm hungry for my Jellybeans

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 01:12

22. Femto (Posts: 61; Member since: 21 Mar 2012)


I was feeling pretty pumped to get my galaxy S3 that I have pre-ordered. That was until I saw jellybean running on a galaxy nexus. I think I am going to cancel my galaxy S3 order and go with the jellybean nexus. Any guess as to when we will be able to run jellybean custom ROMs on the galaxy S3, Razr Maxx, or even the droid incredible 4G? With jellybean I am wondering if even phones with inferior hardware can perform well and smoothly. Sort of the way Windows phones can survive and even perform admirably with mediocre hardware. Any thoughts?

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 03:19

28. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


just stick with your SIII. there's already JB ROMs floating around for it. if not, then you could always go for the upcoming Droid Razr HD. C:

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 08:07

32. Femto (Posts: 61; Member since: 21 Mar 2012)


Correct me if I'm wrong, but a far as I've seen the nexus is the only phone that has a fully functioning jellybean ROM currently. The GS3's running JB that i've seen have some significant bugs an limitations. I'd rather run it on a phone with superior hardware (GS3), but I don't think that's an good option until these bugs are straightened out. Hopefully soon.

The new voice features (offline capabilities and improved search) plus the results of project butter make it tough for me to go with a phone not running JB.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 11:39

36. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


well with the development backbone that the SIII has that will just be a matter of weeks, maybe even days. getting a Nexus just for JB at this point would not be able to justify itselfif you're okay with flashimg custom ROMs.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 14:45

40. Femto (Posts: 61; Member since: 21 Mar 2012)


Valid points, as usual, Ser. I'm feeling a little too excited about JB to wait. So, I'm probably going to go with the nexus until a fully-functional JB ROM is available on the GS3. eBay will love me for it :) Thanks, for the input.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 15:23

41. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


yeah, if money is no thing definitely get a Nexus as a backup. i might would do the same thing. anytime sir. c:

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 17:35

2. nyuvo (Posts: 72; Member since: 10 May 2012)


Probably the best ICS manufacturer skin I have seen. Perhaps there is influence due to the merger with Google?

Regardless, until I see Motorola actually update their phones better than they have in the past I'm definitely considering other manufacturers for my next phone.

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 18:49

4. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


nah, there's been leaks of this since before that went through. the first leak came out like 3 months ago.

just how have they done badly compared to everyone else? xD

posted on 04 Jul 2012, 03:32

43. nyuvo (Posts: 72; Member since: 10 May 2012)


It's all personal opinion of course, but Samsung and HTC overlays just don't do it for me.. I like the stock ICS set up. Could be a totally different opinion for you or anyone else tho and that is the beauty of android.

You get slightly different looking Manufacturer overlays which cater to all sorts of people.

posted on 04 Jul 2012, 12:26

44. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


oh no, i agree with you about it being the best. i was talking about the influence Google had on it.

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 18:23

3. mike91t (Posts: 3; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)


Actually the camera has been changed. The ability to take stills while shooting video is a nice one.

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 21:55

14. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


yeah but i hate that it is slow and has no rotation!

The preview app from the camera is terrible! Pinch-to-zoom is gross in that app!
I think the camera app needs lots of work! The actual camera isn't really good in the first place.

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 21:58

15. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


it might be done with the HD since it has a larger 13MP Camera apparently. o:

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 18:53

5. Yummy (Posts: 117; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


Looks very clean!

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 05:16

31. vitosever (banned) (Posts: 16; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


The gallery is just a bad copy of Apples Cover Flow.

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 20:20 2

6. mercorp (Posts: 967; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)


but wheres jb?

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 21:54 1

13. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5571; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


JB isn't available for even the Nexus. Hopefully Google's ownership of Moto results in a quicker release schedule for JB to the RAZR. Although VZW also plays a part in the release roll-out....

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 20:43 1

7. mas11 (Posts: 1028; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


My DROID 4 feels left out

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 21:39

10. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


it shouldn't for too long.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 00:43

19. mas11 (Posts: 1028; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


I'm betting a month maxx. I'm just disappointed they didn't release it at the same time as the RAZRs.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 10:20

33. cthunder (Posts: 104; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


And what is too long? JB will probably be out before we get our update.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 11:41

37. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


like 2 months maximum. i doubt it. they are so far along with the ICS update that they'l probably just push it so they'll have that while they wait for JB.

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 21:33

8. doubleD (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Dec 2010)


I'm a little disappointed Motorola removed several widgets I used daily. News feed widget, Social Networking widget, Universal Inbox, seperate Wifi/GPS/etc widgets, and 3D transition effects on the favorites widget..

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 21:39 1

9. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


well too many people were complaining about the Blur aspects sooo oh well. the universal inbox is still present though.

posted on 01 Jul 2012, 22:03 1

16. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Yeah, I would agree.

They have no reason to take away what you can't get back. If they got rid of pre-installed apps, fine by me, because you can get them back.
These kinds of things, not okay, you can't get them back, and "3rd party" apps usually don't cut it.

Anyways, do you like the new notifications bar? All of the icons are now so small, it's insane! And did anyone notice that the screen is now actually BRIGHTER at 100% and DARKER at 0%? Anyone notice that? No joke, I tested it!

Also, I wish that the unlock screen was like 40% unlock, 20% for each other thing so it is easier to just swipe right across like before!

The new keyboard wasn't mentioned, and its great, SwiftKey has NOTHING on that! For some reason, SwiftKey is SOOO small at full size!

The new app drawer is lag free now (yay) but adding widgets is a little wierd. Does anyone else get the icon-only widgets display when long pressing to add one? It shows the icon, but not the text, if you press it, it shows up!... wierd... any work around?

Thanks to Motorola, Google, and (last + least) Verizon!

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 00:55 1

20. molsky (Posts: 12; Member since: 10 Feb 2011)


Speed has greatly improved with this update...browser benchmarks are notably faster and you can tell when you press something on a webpage that delay has been greatly decreased. Speech to text is amazing! This is very close to a pure google experience probably because Google bought rights to Motorola's patents. This is the way to go..no need to put these huge overlays like motoblur or touchwiz etc which will really just slow the phone down and cause more freezing...

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 01:42 2

23. mas11 (Posts: 1028; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


Definitely the best Android skin, Touchwiz and Sense can't compare.

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 01:48 1

24. Jimstar (Posts: 259; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


ARGH that gallery app. of all the things for them to keep...

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 02:03

26. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


yeah, that could definitely be a 4.1 project of theirs tbh..
xD

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 02:56

27. rudlie (Posts: 182; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


Nowhere for JB :)

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 04:22

30. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5554; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


oh and guys, don't forget to try out Webtop 3.0 which can now be started by just using an HDMI connection on a comaptible monitor. o:

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 11:02

34. mtajulmuluk (Posts: 18; Member since: 15 Jun 2012)


Waiting this update for GSMversion

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 11:59

38. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Its here as well... or should be

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 11:03

35. mtajulmuluk (Posts: 18; Member since: 15 Jun 2012)


Waiting this update for GSM version

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 12:11

39. iami67 (Posts: 318; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Anyone else notice you cant do app2sd any more even with app2sd apps that are third party. The maxx give you two choices the phones 8gig memory or the 2 gig memory that was designated for apps. The old software let me change internal memory to my card the new software doesnt. big fail. Plus i get lag on a bunch of games now which is wierd since now they all have to be saved to phone and there was no lag when my games were saved on card. Anyone know how to get apps2sd lol

posted on 02 Jul 2012, 18:09

42. ATLayle (Posts: 2; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)


The one thing I have noticed the most is the lag of the touch screen. I am not impressed with my DROID RAZR, I have owened it now for well over a month just got the ICS update and still not impressed. I will be going to HTC the only down fall with HTC tho is FoxFi does not work as well on it.

posted on 07 Jul 2012, 18:29

45. flambouyant (Posts: 1; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


I already hated my razr maxx because it drops 4g constantly along with having terrible audio. I had to permanently switch my phone to 3g (and I'm surrounded by people on other 4g devices with no problem) in order to keep a constant stream of data. I accepted the ice cream sandwich update two days ago hoping it would clear this up. It appears to have helped a bit but why in the world would the next big thing take one swipe actions (like unlocking the device) and turn it into two? That is absolutely dumb. Also the phone button used to contain Contacts as well as history and other call info. Now I have to close the phone app and open the contacts app separately. Again just a stupid division of something. The onscreen keyboard is much slower to accept my input now as well and it seems to have lost the intuitive nature that it had with gingerbread. I now completely despise my phone. I'm going back to my old droid x 3g and being done with it.

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