Happy New Year to everyone! I realize that it’s 2013 and the holidays have passed. At some point, all the partying gets to the mind, and it’s time for a return to the normal, everyday routine. For some of you, however, the holidays are still here. You’ve got nothing but time on your hands and another week out of work or school to spare. If so, you should spend the time getting to know more about Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean). This is particularly true for those US Cellular Galaxy S3 owners who just grabbed their Jelly Bean update less than two weeks ago.
In the time I’ve had with the new Android 4.1 update, I’ve noticed a few differences between the new OS and the former Android 4.0.4 update. One of the changes in Android 4.1 that you will notice is that the calendar, once an icon on your home screen (it still is), has now become a part of the weather widget. If you have the weather widget on your home screen, you will now see the small calendar icon with the month and date on it in the upper left-hand corner. I do not know why this was added, but it may have been added in order to help owners see the date better when staring at their phones.
Another feature Google has embedded within the Android 4.1. update is to integrate your direct message and direct call widgets into the contact list. When you go to your contacts, you can now swipe left to send a text and swipe right to dial the number. Some people will appreciate this feature because they are used to going into their contacts and finding the person they want to call. Others, however, are used to selecting their direct call and direct message widgets from their main pages when dialing or sending a text message.
Last but not least comes your News Feed application on your lock screen. You can choose to put a news ticker on your device’s lock screen, but you have to choose between either the news or Facebook. If you are not that avid of a Facebook fan and do not care to stay up with the latest info from your Facebook RSS feeds, you will want to select the news and then a topic of news that you are most interested in. There are 14 topics to choose from:
- Top Stories
- Most Popular
Other options in your News Feed widget include selecting the language by which you will read the news and an “auto refresh” function. Should you choose the auto refresh function, it will take up portions of your data plan each time there is an automatic refresh. It is probably best to refresh the news manually and save your data plan for a rainy day. If you are an international business traveler and would like to read the news in another language in another country, you have the option available to change your news language.
There are many other new features in Android 4.1.1 that you should enjoy. If you have time to sit around the house, get to know your smartphone – and discover why it’s called a smart phone.