The Samsung Galaxy Note phone/tablet hybrid device is about to receive a software update. And while it’s not Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (which should be arriving in a few months), it does bring a whole slew of improvements and enhancements, most of them quite visible to the end-user (unlike how things usually work with small updates).
So let’s dive in. First of all, the keyboard has gotten better. It now has five rows, with the number row being always shown. This is something that literally has no adverse effects on a screen as big as that on the Galaxy Note, and is a great time-saving idea for those who type a lot. Second, there’s a ‘one hand’ mode for the keyboard, which no longer occupies the whole width of the device, thus making it easier to use with, well, one hand.
A torch widget comes preinstalled now. So far, this function had to be activated through the Settings menu, which was somewhat inconvenient. The new widget even supports three different brightness levels for the torch, and you cycle through them by continuously tapping the widget.
From now on, you can set a different brightness level for the browser, which allows you to save some battery. Up until now, the same brightness level was used in all apps.
Regarding the lockscreen, there are a few changes. First of all, a line of text has been added to it telling you how to unlock it. Also, a few neat little arrows are now visible near the padlock icon, encouraging you to swipe to unlock. Finally, the amount of screen you have to move your finger through to unlock it has been reduced, since big moves on such a huge display aren’t that easy.
The Calendar app has also been updated. So far it always showed the date in the day/month/year format. Yet after this update the date format will change according to your phone’s language. So for example if you set your language to Korean it would be year/month/date.
All in all, these are very cool small improvements to the overall user experience on the Samsung Galaxy Note. This update has started rolling out across Europe.
The update will come over-the-air, so thankfully you won’t need to fiddle with Kies to install it. The download size is approximately 70 MB, so perhaps make sure you get the update file via Wi-Fi when you can. If you bought your device from your operator, then when you’ll receive the update (or if) pretty much depends on that company. If you have an unlocked unit though, you should see the update in the next few days if you haven’t already.