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S2 Jelly Bean upgrade

The other day one of my buds Sean posted on his facebook that his S2 got the Jelly Bean update. I checked mine for an over the air (OTA) update and it was not showing ready. So I connected up to Kies (Samsungs PC based tool) and it did say the update was available. No idea why the OTA was not. So I went ahead and proceeded. My firmware install failed which left me concerned I might have lost the phone. Fortunately Samsung through Kies included an Emergency recovery function. Even though I had to power off the device in the middle of the firmware update the device was still fine. I was impressed. In the end the issue turned out to be a bad micro USB cable. But it did point out a few things I did wrong. Here are some suggestions:

First don’t start a firmware update when you are time limited. 1/2 an hour maybe the amount of time to complete the firmware update if all goes well, but if you have to do something else like an emergency recovery you need to allow time for that. Second forward your phone before you start the process. That way you don’t miss calls while the update is in process. Third remove the SIM before you start the process. That way worse case you can slip it into another phone while you do the update. And lastly backup aps data. A number of aps have the ability to backup there setups, or there data. By saving them you won’t loose all the time and data if everything goes really badly.

Ok now onto the update. Once I got past the install woes I was greeted with a fresh new UI. The device looks and feels a lot more like an S3 now. Of course I always considered the S3 an S2.1 because in Canada we didn’t get the quad core. All homescreens were deleted and had to be re-setup. Not sure if this was because of my woes or if this happened to everyone.

Overall the device feels even more smooth, slick and responsive. Everything is a little more instantaneous. Which is saying a lot because it already was a smooth device. They have also added some nice animations to things like homescreen and ap menu changes.

Bluetooth tethering is still around and for me it is more stable. On Ice Cream Sandwich this use to disconnect frequently. It still turns off bluetooth tethering after each reboot. No idea why they insist on doing this. My Ford Sync bluetooth connection still does not support reading the text messages off the phone and still doesn’t show the song playing. Pooh. Reliability on the bluetooth seems about the same as before. Sometimes it just doesn’t connect.

AllShare (Samsung’s DLNA ap) is gone and they have now integrated the DLNA features into the music, video and gallery aps. I think this is a good step forward.

WIFI direct is still here (yay) and works fine.

The bottom icon bars are now customizable (they weren’t on ICS) which is a welcome improvement. And these can even be folders! Folders work smoother in that they open only to the size they need to rather than the whole screen as it did before.

The calendar ap is MUCH nicer than before. The music ap now includes a freshened UI and a folder view.

There is no mirror cast support. This seems to be common for this not to be included.

Google Now is oddly missing and can’t be added. Personally I have found Google Now to be a total yawner so I’m not too bothered by this omission.
Update: I found google now. It’s in a different place than on the Nexus. Press and hold the home button. Then you will see a little Google g there in the middle. Press it and there you go Google Now. I’m still unimpressed by it 🙂

SamsungDive now includes support for the S2, another welcome improvement! This includes find my device, ring my device, the ability to remotely call forward (in case you forgot your phone at home), complete remote wiping etc. Wow. This is a welcome add! You need to add your Samsung account (or register one if you haven’t already) for this to work.

The lock screen can now be a lot more customizable including support for weather, news ticker, owner info and more. Another welcome improvement.

HDMI has not really changed much. It detects the HDMI cable, announces it does but doesn’t change the screen rotation to landscape. Hopefully this is a little more reliable. In the past it would take a reboot to get HDMI working.

Overall this is a superb upgrade. I applaud Samsung for continuing to support this fabulous device. The S2 is currently one of my favortie phones to date!

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February 23, 2013 - Posted by | Android

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