Android know-how: discovering Jelly Bean

Google has been hard at work improving its Android operating system (OS) over the years, and Android 4.1 (or Jelly Bean to its friends) powers the GALAXY Note II to higher levels of functionality.

The main improvement from Google is the integration of something called Project Butter – this allows the whole user interface to function even more fluidly under the finger (hence the slippery name).

However, we're not just talking about less lag time when using the phone here: the whole system has been turbo-charged to ensure you're not waiting for the things that matter when you need them most.

Waiting time will be reduced

For instance, flipping your phone to landscape mode used to mean a small wait before the screen rotated with you. But with Project Butter that experience has been markedly sped up, allowing you to watch movies or view web pages in landscape instantly.

 

Samsung has even added to this trick, using eye tracking technology. That means the Note II can tell if you're lying down and looking at the screen sideways, so what you’re looking at won't rotate when you don't need it to!

It might seem like a minor feature, but you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Other improvements from Project Butter include faster app changes and improved animations when flipping between your favourite programs. No longer will you be stuck looking at spinning icons when you could be checking your timetable or jumping back to the video you were watching!

Notifications, call backs, cards

The other huge change Android fans will notice (and newcomers will love) is the improved notification bar, giving you more of the information you need when you want it, without needing to head into apps to just read a quick text message. For a start, incoming text messages will pop up in full at the top of the screen, and messages, emails and missed calls will be right there for you to see as soon as you drag down the notification bar.

The call back feature is another seemingly small innovation that makes the Note II one of the most advanced smartphones on the market. With its large notification to let you know when you've missed a vital call, it gives you the simple option to call them back without needing to fire up the dialler, or anything else!

Under all this, you'll also see a number of 'cards', from which we get another advanced feature of Jelly Bean in the shape of Google Now. This intuitive feature learns from your actions, meaning that it can help let you know the important things, just as soon as you need them.

For instance, it will let you know when the weather changes outside, so you can pack a coat or ditch the umbrella. If you're near a cool new bar, your Note II will flag it up to you. And if you've let the phone know your Home and Work locations, you can even get information on public transport or delays on the roads, to make your daily commute as smooth as possible.

Google Now: customising your lifestyle

Google Now also connects with your calendar in a simple yet hugely effective way. If you've got an upcoming appointment with an address attached, your Note II will let you know when it's time to set off, even taking into account traffic delays to make sure you get there on time.

These cards are all customisable, so you only see the information that you want. If you want to be alerted to the nearest movies right now, but don't really care whether or not it's raining, your Note II can be tailored to the experience that you want.

And talking about customisation, with Jelly Bean it's never been easier to set up your homescreens in just the way you want. Not only are there a huge number of new widgets on offer (everything from direct access to the Google Play store for the latest in movies and books, to a feature that sets up the call volume just the way you like it), but it is also easier than ever before to put them in the places you want.

Simply select the widget you want, then drop it on the homescreen of your choice. If it doesn't look like it's going to fit, don't worry! The widget will resize itself on the screen, or automatically head to the nearest available space without losing functionality, so it's only ever a swipe away.

The same goes for icons, too. Drop an icon where you want it, and Android will jiggle everything around to accommodate your preference, saving you from a major rearrangement job.

So there you have it: the Samsung GALAXY Note II combined with the latest version of Android brings you everything you'd expect from a top-end smartphone and much more. to take your mobile life to the next, exciting level.

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