If the rumor can be trusted (and it is usually can be trusted), Galaxy Note will get Jelly Bean 4.2 update this year as well. Even better news for Galaxy Note 2 owners, Key Lime Pie (aka, Android 5.0) update will very likely be available for your Note 2. Well done Samsung!. Now Samsung is only second to Google in providing an update for their Android handsets.
Last November, we list top 10 expected features in this Jelly Bean update for Galaxy note. After testing the update recently, we found all features mentioned except Airview were included in this update.
Some of these new features and improvements are part of Jelly Bean update, for example, Google Now and popup browser. Some are Samsung’s extension or exclusive apps, for example, multi-window, Paper Artist, and easy clip.
In this post, I will share with you 12 must-try new features in this Jelly Bean 4.1 update in your Galaxy Note. All these features are already available in Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 8.0 and Galaxy Note 10.1. So, if you own Galaxy Note 2, Note 8.0 or Note 10.1, you can also try all these features out of the box.
1. Google Now (part of Jelly Bean)
Google Now is the killer feature of Jelly Bean. It was officially unveiled in Google I/O 2012. With Google now, you become the master, not the slave of your smartphones. Google Now essentially digs all your info in your Google accounts, then predicts what info you may need before you ask. The info is presented in “cards”, which are presented once you start Google Now. In Jelly Bean 4.2, more cards will be available.
Of course, you can also use Google Now as knowledge navigator: simple ask questions, Google Now gives you results in natural language. It works far better (not so arguable) than Siri in iPhones.
To launch Google Now, you can long press menu (left) key. You can also long press the Home button, then choose “g”. For Note 10.1, press the Home button (software, as there are no physical buttons) then swipe up.
2. Blocking mode
You can mute incoming calls, sound and notifications if the blocking mode is turned on. Just like DnD in iOS 6, you can configure the timing and add an exception list.
Just like DnD on iOS 6, Blocking mode has an exception list where you can add some contacts that won’t be affected by its restrictions.
Blocking mode can be activated/deactivated from the notification panel. You can also activate/deactivate it, or customize it (e.g., set schedule, or add exception list) from settings–blocking mode.
You can run two apps side by side when the multi-window is turned on. At this time, only selected apps support this feature. In the right side of your phone, there will be a blue multi-window panel handle, from which you can pull out the panel containing all supported apps. Simply drag two apps one by one, each app will take half of the screen.
When in multi-window mode, you can re-size each app, or make one of the apps take the full screen. But what you cannot do is to overlap these apps as in Q Slide in Optimus G. Q Slide is similar to popup (browser, video, note) in Galaxy Note mentioned below.
Multi-window can be activated/deactivated from notification panel (by default). You can also activate/deactivate it from settings–display.
4. Popup browser (part of Jelly Bean)
Popup browser allows you to open a link in a popup window. You can move the popup browser on the screen, but you cannot re-size it (at least we did not figure out how to do it), or push it back unless you close it. Of course, you can tap the button in the top left corner to maximize it. This essentially changes the popup browser to the in-stock one.
This popup browser is part of Jelly Bean and there is no corresponding app for it. The only way to invoke it is to open a link in an app (except in other browsers) and then the system will give you the option to use popup browser or any other browsers. Of course, you can make it (or any other browsers) default if you want. Then you will not see the options window. If you want to get this options window back, you have to clear the defaults for the browser chosen in applications manager.
There are two other popup apps you may already know. One is the popup note (it is called quick memo in Ginger Bread, and ICS). At any time, you can press down the S Pen button, and double tap the screen, a pop-up note will be available. This is very useful when you want to write down something during a call. You can re-size the window and move it around.
Another one is popup video play debuted in the ICS update in some regions as explained in this post. The in-stock video player can be re-sized and move around. You can also switch to other apps and keep the video playing.
5. Offline voice typing (part of Jelly Bean)
The new embedded speech recognizer lets you use Voice Typing even when you don’t have an Internet connection. You need download about a 15MB file for each language. Of course, this offline version is not as good as the cloud version, but it is surely usable.
You can change the settings from Settings–Language and input–Google voice typing.
6. Expandable notifications and controllable notifications from apps (part of Jelly Bean)
The notification panel can now expand to show you more info, for example, a portion of your incoming email, rather than just the number of emails waiting for you in the inbox. Moreover. notifications from the same application will be grouped together, and the first item is automatically expanded. You can pinch notifications to expand or collapse them.
Another nice feature related to the notification is that you can disable notifications from any apps. In the Settings–Applications manager, you can disable notification for any apps. You can also identify the apps by long tap the notification. Then you can disable the notifications for this app if the notifications are annoying, but you need to keep this app.
7. Easy clip
Press down the S Pen button, draw any closed shapes on the screen. The closed region can then be used as an image in other apps. You can paste this clipped image to the scrapbook, to S Note, to email, to Facebook… This is very handy for saving or sharing.
8. Contextual filename for your photos
When GPS tagging is on, you can adjust the file name based on contextual information such as your current GPS location. You can also add weather tag, person and date of course. Before shooting photos, you can go to camera settings to enable GPS tag and contextual filename. Once in the gallery (the in-stock one), you can add more tags after tapping the menu key..
9. Photo Note
You can simply put handwriting notes on the back of your photos! You can access this function from the Gallery app. Once a photo is loaded, tap the menu key, you can then select photo note to write on the back of the photo.
Similarly, you can also add frames to your photos as well. You can also write something anywhere on the photo or the frame. The framed photos will then be saved in /storage/sdcard0/pictures/photo frame folder. So a new photo (re-sized and in PNG format) is saved, and you can use this framed photo on other systems. This is different from photo note, which is only readable for Samsung’s Android phones.
10. Paper Artist
Paper Artist is an app exclusively developed for Samsung (by JFDP-Labs). It was first introduced in Galaxy Note 2. Paper Artist essentially is an image editor, but with very special tools and effects. With this app, your Note turns you into an artist, at least you will get this feeling.
You can launch this app just as other apps. Alternatively, you can access this app from your gallery. Tap the menu key when a photo is opened, select edit, and an option for Paper Artist will be available.
11. Improved S Note
S Note is simply getting better in this update. More contextual options are added and it likes the S Note in Note 2. Another notable new feature is added sketch effects for any images in your S Note.
12. Page buddy
Page buddy essentially displays contextual popup widget depending on the accessories connected or removed. For example, when a headset is inserted, a page with a music player widget and video player widget will pop out. You can enable or disable this function from Settings–Display-Page buddy.
Unfortunately, unlike the page buddy in Note 2, there is no S Pen page, because Galaxy Note does not have a sensor to detect the removing of S Pen.
Of course, there are many other new features, for example, re-sizable widget, Smart Stay, Handwriting email and S Planner, configurable notification panel, ChatON and group play. Most Google apps were also optimized for Jelly Bean.
Any questions on Jelly Bean update for your Galaxy Note? Or any questions on these features in your Galaxy Note , Note 2 and Note 10.1? Please post in the comments section below. You can also start a discussion in our discussion forum.