Not failing its track record of including new features of its own along with major OS updates for its phones, Samsung has in its Galaxy S3 updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Earlier in the year, Galaxy Note owners had updated to Android 4.0 which included a selection of new Samsung software enhancements called the “Premium Suite.”
Currently, the Jelly Bean hosts stock features like Google Now, the redesigned notification shade, and a host of extra TouchWiz goodies.
The Major Features in the New Update
Samsung has incorporated the redesigned notification shade into its Android 4.1 update for Samsung S3. The redesigned date and time section is present over the TouchWiz controls which remain beneath it.
Also supported are Jelly Bean’s new expandable notifications. For example, you can drag down on a message and view more information or have its snapshot taken.
Certain applications also allow button controls from the notification shade. Like screenshots get a “Share” button while, with Calendar notifications, you can snooze or dismiss them.
The Galaxy S3 will support file transfers through Jelly Bean’s built in Android Beam feature. Android Beam handles the file transfer using Bluetooth which makes for somewhat lower speeds.
The Galaxy S3 uses this feature as also S-Beam WiFi Direct together in the same box.
Jelly Bean incorporates Google Now feature which displays relevant messages live weather, calendar appointments, navigation data and sports scores.
On the Galaxy S3 is a new button on the bottom of the task switcher when you long press the home key, and this is what you tap to bring up the Google Now feature. The existing shortcut buttons remain on the screen in icon and without text form.
Easy Mode and Home Screen Launcher.
On the surface of things, the TouchWiz launcher doesn’t seem to have changed all that much, but Samsung has applied a few subtle changes here and there.
One of the major and significant changes is the ability to switch between two Home Screen modes. The first “basic” mode is from the earlier Android 4.0 ICS based software which consists of standard collections of icons and widgets.
In Jelly Bean of S3, there is an option to switch to the “easy” mode which shows a simpler home screen setup, designed for first-time smartphone users.
This mode automatically populates the home screens with large widgets showing favorites settings, apps and contacts and a handful of larger Samsung widgets.
Users can switch between the basic and easy modes through the mode control from the “settings” menu.
Some of the Jelly Bean home screen enhancements have been ported over, so icons can be bumped away making space for larger widgets.
Adding folders is a little more intuitive, using the “create folder” control at the top of the screen, to which you drag in the app. Folders are now displayed more clearly than before, while applications are displayed on a black and grey disk.
This mode is similar to iOS’s Do Not Disturb mode. In this, it is possible to turn off certain kinds of notifications or events permanently, or during specific hours, ideal if you don’t want to be interrupted by e-mail notifications and the associated noise and lights.
There is also the capability to block incoming calls or alarms or disable the LED indicator completely. Also, the dormant mode can be bypassed for calls from important members of friends and family members.
Notes and Other Applications
The S-Memo is upgraded to the S-Note Lite application. This allows for creating multimedia notes on the S3, incorporating texts, drawings, sounds, video and voice recordings.
With the Jelly Bean, a new Help system addresses the basic tasks of using the phone with a walkthrough approach. The current Help app covers learning basic functions like keys, the lock screen and notification area and notes on how to change important settings like WiFi, Bluetooth and ringtones.
Other Odds and Ends
It is now easier to tell when multiple events are overlapping thanks to the S-Planner overhaul. Jelly Bean also provides a simple interface to limit background data usage. The phone is incredibly fast on Android ICS and the Galaxy S3’s performance isn’t noticeably faster on with any of the official Jelly Bean builds. TouchWiz is still the dominant user experience.