First - you don't have any proper styling tools. I like the styling tools the original Softimage Hair has - this is one of the biggest pros of it.
Furthermore, you cannot generate strands at rendertime with ICE - you have to generate and simulate all of your hair in the scene, which
results in massive performance loss.
well, if 'render time' means entire strand generated by renderer, Let's say, something like King Konger for 3delight
, nothing in out-of-the-box SI can do that. It's only about viewport display, and ICE equivalent of 'render XSI hair in viewport' is 'particle display' property, automatically attached to any ICE point cloud.
Of course, would be great to have XGen implementation in Softimage, but.... definition of 'artists friendly' by Disney... does it means the same from forum life, 'I want it simple, even on the price of poor final result, even I can't show anything well done with that simple', I don't think so. I'm pretty sure, Maya users will have chance to enjoy the complexity.
Regarding Kristinka Hair, as it is already mentioned in first post, usually I have some free time during June or July. So , for this year, general plan is:
1: refining of existing stuff, simpler and more efficient interface here and there, a few new nodes. Let's say, version 3.1 or so ( current is 3.0).
2: tutorial. Nothing spectacular, more like all exact steps to get some particular hairdo.