New information has surfaced within the past week that leads us to believe that Samsung’s Galaxy S3, the darling of 2012 smartphones, will jump from Android 4.1.2 (Premium Suite Upgrade) to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean in October. Samsung will also bump up its Galaxy S4 will see the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update, which will be nothing more than incremental for GS4 users (whether an original GS4 user or a GS4 variant user: GS4 LTE-Advanced, GS4 Mini, GS4 Active, or GS4 Zoom).
With the new update coming for Galaxy S3 users, many want to know what to expect in the new update. There are many new things to look forward to if your most recent update on the GS3 was the Premium Suite Upgrade, and this article will pinpoint new features to be found in both Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
One thing you will notice that differs from your current Premium Suite Upgrade in Android 4.1.2 is the fact that you can now access toggles along with your settings. If you pull down your notification window from the top of the display, you will notice that there is a square icon next to the wheel icon. The wheel icon is present to give you quick access to your settings, but the square icon is there to give you access to toggles – new features in Android OS that make customization even easier than before. The square will take you to a page where your current toggles will be placed. If you want to change your toggles, click the pencil icon that’s beside the bullet list icon; you will then be taken to a page where you can adjust your screen brightness and select your toggles (also known as quick settings).
At your quick settings page, there are approximately 21 icons that you can select, everything from Wi-Fi access to Wi-Fi hotspot, S-Beam, NFC, multi-window mode, and airplane mode. Keep in mind that, since Samsung also modifies Android with its own TouchWiz UI and software, you are likely to have some features in Android 4.3 that may not be placed in the software delivered to Google devices. This is no different with HTC, for example.
The layout of your settings in Android 4.3 (by way of the Android 4.2.2 update that will be administered in Android 4.3 Jelly Bean) will have a somewhat different layout than that which currently exists in Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. While your network connections remain at the top, Samsung has changed its “wireless and network” section, renaming it “network connections.” Whereas there was only one section of settings, Samsung has created four tabs of setting sections to choose from. You no longer have all the settings on the same section, but in four sections. Some may think that this makes it harder to reach the settings that you want, but it’s a layout design choice that Samsung made.
As a result of Samsung’s new layout, your features (spread across a few pages) will be on new pages in the Android 4.3 update. As for your “Motions” section, it will be condensed to a few features on the device. Motions such as tilt to zoom, smart alert, direct call, pan to move, pan to browse, and shake to update have all been condensed in one word: “motion.” You can still perform palm motions such as “touch to mute” and “swipe to capture,” but these are now condensed under “palm motion.” New motions such as “Air Gesture” and “Air View” will have quick settings icons that you can access easily.
There is another section where you can find tapping and panning motions to zoom into an image: these can be found under the “Accessibility” section in Android 4.2.2 in the “magnification gestures” tab. Click on it and you can read what features Samsung offers there. You need only slide to the right at the top of the page to activate your magnification gestures. These motions were spread out in Android 4.1.2, so you may have to get used to the idea that these things are condensed in Android 4.2.2. Samsung may choose to condense these or not, but if the company should choose to condense these individual motions, you will have to search over two sub-sections in your settings section in order to find them.
Smart Screen Section
The smart screen section is a new addition that Samsung has added to Android 4.2.2. These features are a part of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 (and variants such as the GS4 Active), and these look to become part of Samsung’s Galaxy S3 as well – considering that face detection is already present in Android 4.1.2. The IR blaster may be at issue here, but I happen to believe that, if face detection is possible in Android 4.1.2, adding these new face detection features will not be too difficult for Samsung.
Smart stay and smart rotation are features of the GS3 already, so these will remain in the update. Samsung has never removed features with successive updates (as far as I know). Smart Pause and Smart Scroll are two new features that I can see transferring from the GS4 collection down to the GS3. Smart Pause allows you to have an automatic pause to a YouTube video, for instance, when you turn away from it. Smart Scroll allows you to tilt your head or move your eyes and have the page move from the top to the bottom automatically.
Both Smart Pause and Smart Scroll operate by way of the GS4’s front camera. This means that the same front camera present in the GS4 will operate in the GS3. If these features are tied to only the front camera, you can expect them in the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S3.
The Smart Screen options will be welcoming for those who want the latest and greatest of Android. After all, why are smartphones called “smart phones” in the first place if they can’t become smarter over time? Contra Moto X engineer Iqbal Arshad, however, Samsung’s GS4 has advanced Android capabilities in a way that Motorola/Google has not.
Lock Screen Options
Your lock screen settings will be transformed dramatically in Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. The Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean update will bring multiple widgets to your lock screen, which means you can now control most of your phone’s unique features the moment you arrive at your lock screen – without having to unlock your device and lose battery life due to screen processes. I have found that, when you play music from your lock screen instead of going into your actual screen, battery life is preserved and your battery lasts longer.
The lock screen on your GS3 currently has very few options: screen lock, and some other lock screen options such as news, clock, weather, ripple effect (or none), some wake-up commands, and quick camera access. Before we get too deep into these options, let’s start at the top. The screen security in Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean involves many of the screen lock features we’re used to in Android 4.1.2: swipe, face unlock, face and voice, pattern, PIN, password, and none. The one difference present in Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean versus Android 4.1.2 is that Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean now offers you a motion unlock option in your screen security. This means that you can now unlock your device with a flick of your wrist by holding the phone, placing your thumb on the screen, and flicking your wrist from right to left to unlock.
Now, back to the additional lock screen options in Android 4.1.2. These options are few, but Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes to the rescue. Now, you can substitute the ripple effect in Android 4.1.2 for a light effect (to unlock your phone), if you’d like.
Within the lock screen settings, you will see a section titled “lock screen widgets.” That’s right: your widgets, those that have become loveable to you, can now be accessed from your lock screen – without even unlocking your phone at all. You can place your favorite apps on your lock screen. If this doesn’t appeal to you, you can place your clock on the lock screen or a personal message. If you want to change your message at any time, you can select “edit personal information” to customize your personal message. Getting to customize your message on the front of your device is not necessarily new to the Galaxy S3, seeing that you can do this a little even in Android 4.1.2.
To do it in Android 4.1.2, you should go to lock screen under your settings, then select “owner information.” This feature allows you to enter your name, description, title, or some catchy phrase. You even have the choice to “show owner info on lock screen,” a reference to what Samsung provides in more detail in Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.
The difference between this feature and the personal message editing found in Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean is that current Android 4.1.2 feature to put your owner name and info on your lock screen goes beyond the lock screen in Android 4.2.2. In Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, you can actually place personal info, a name, or catchy phrase on your lock screen as well – but with font, time, date, and color customizations. You can change the time, date, and even the font and color of your personal message if you’d like. All of these changes are impossible in Android 4.1.2, but the owner information input feature paves the way for these customizations in Samsung’s Premium Suite Upgrade.
There are some voice controls Samsung offers in the Galaxy S3 experience in Android 4.1.2, such as the ability to wake up S-Voice with “hi, Galaxy,” followed by four commands you can program for S-Voice to perform. These things remain in Android 4.2.2, but S-Voice gains some voice control capabilities in the Galaxy S4 experience that we hope Samsung brings to GS3 users.
First on the list of S-Voice capabilities concerns the ability to reject or accept calls with the words “Reject” or “answer.” In the current GS3 experience, you can tell S-Voice to call someone, but there is no way to accept or reject the answer hands-free. Samsung takes care of this in the Android 4.2.2 update (and with the GS4).
Do you like getting up to the sound of an annoying alarm? Now, with S-Voice, you don’t have to get out of bed; simply say “stop” or “snooze,” and S-Voice will take care of it for you. If you want to snap a photo quickly without worrying about focusing the image before taking the picture, just say “cheese,” “smile,” or “capture,” and S-Voice will focus the camera for you before taking the photo. Last but not least, you can control the volume of your music (up or down) on the music player, not to mention whether you listen to one track, move to the next one, go back, pause, or play the music.
None of these new features are present on the GS3 as it currently stands in Android 4.1.2. S-Voice was a simple voice command in the GS3, but Samsung decided to make S-Voice smarter and a better voice command assistant in its GS4 experience. Now, I think that Samsung should name its voice command assistant (the same critique I’ve made against Google’s “Google Now”), but I still think that Samsung should be applauded for expanding S-Voice’s capabilities. I think that using “S” in front of the name of the app is a good way for Samsung to claim ownership over its own applications and phone features, but it doesn’t do justice to the fun that users want to have with Samsung’s applications.
Android 4.3: “An Even Sweeter Jelly Bean”
Android 4.0 was named “Ice Cream Sandwich” (or ICS), but Android 4.1 was named “Jelly Bean.” Google then progressed to Android 4.1.2, then Android 4.2, 4.2.2, and now Android 4.3. Each of these incremental updates was termed “Jelly Bean,” and Android 4.3 is no different – except that it is termed “an even sweeter Jelly Bean” for a reason.
Android 4.3 brings with a few main features, such as Open GL ES 3.0, Bluetooth Low Energy (or BLE), Restricted Profiles, and Google Keep (among others). Google Keep allows you to jot down notes and set reminders, while Bluetooth Low Energy helps conserve battery power while you connect your devices wirelessly using Bluetooth. Bluetooth can often work like LTE, being a wonderful feature but draining battery life terribly. Restricted Profiles allows you to share your tablet with your children and/or husband, while maintaining your own space on the tablet. You can have your own account, without worrying about your children and what they get into. You can also monitor what your children get into, restricting app access as well as game levels within apps.
Two of the other improvements to Jelly Bean that aren’t touted as much are the increased audio output sound (using Fraunhofer’s Surround Sound technology) and the implementation of the TRIM command for the Nexus 7 tablet (in particular). While Google’s Nexus 10 and Nexus 4 smartphone had great battery life, the Nexus 7’s battery life was extremely poor. I remember using the tablet for 4-5 hours, thinking that the tablet battery would die within another hour or two (if I was lucky). With Google’s implementation of the TRIM command on the Nexus 7, I now find that my 2012 Nexus 7 can now last 10-11 hours on a single charge – twice as much time as before! Additionally, in the photo below, I left my tablet on standby for 4 days and still had 67% battery life. How impressive!
What is the TRIM command? There seems to be no reason why the command is called “TRIM” (as it is not an acronym), but it is the name given to the process whereby data that was once used on the tablet is no longer used or needed. Once the system determines that certain types of data on the tablet are no longer needed and have no further purpose except to weigh down the device, the TRIM command does just that: it “trims” or cuts out the excess data that only serves to drain the tablet’s battery life.
These are just a few of the changes you’ll notice in Android 4.3, but Samsung may have some neat tricks of its own up its sleeve for your Android 4.3 update. At any rate, it’s going to be a massive one for GS3 users, but a small (yet good) one for Android 4.2.2 users. Since Android 4.4 KitKat has already been revealed as the next logical OS upgrade, we anxiously await all that Android 4.4 will bring. From what we know, Google looks to make it “available for everybody,” signifying that all Android smartphone users will have the latest update without waiting months for it.