More and more users are getting the Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean 4.3 ) update for the Galaxy S4. You may wonder what the new features are, because there are almost no changes in the appearance.
In this post, I will share with you the top 10 new or improved features you will find after the Jelly Bean 4.3 update. Some features may be what you want; some may be not.
10. New: Samsung Wallet comes, even if you don’t like it
Samsung Wallet is now pre-installed after Jelly Bean 4.3 update for your Galaxy S4.
Do not confuse Samsung Wallet with Google Wallet. Samsung Wallet is not a digital wallet and you can’t use it for payment. In fact, Samsung Wallet works just like Apple’s Passbook for iOS: it wants to be a one-stop destination for all your tickets, loyalty cards, membership cards and coupons.
You can actually get this app from Google Play store if you own any of the other 4 support devices: Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S3, and Galaxy Note 3.
The review of this app is mixed. But overall, if you want something like passbook in iDevices, Samsung Wallet probably is a good option.
9. New: Samsung KNOX rules your Galaxy S4
Samsung KNOX is a container (something like virtual machine) for enterprise users. You now have two independent environments: personal (where you control everything and share whatever you want) and corporate (where your IT admins can set rules and access the data in the container).
For most consumers, this is probably not so useful. For some avid hackers, this can be disastrous because of the secure and trusted boot, which prevent rooting and flushing.
8. New: Galaxy Gear Support
Samsung Galaxy Gear is neither a matured nor an innovative gadget. But the options for a smartwatch in the market are still very limited. Some of you may get it at discounted price when purchasing the Galaxy Note 3. During the launch, Samsung made Gear be exclusive to Galaxy Note 3.
It seems the strategy is not successful. Now through Android 4.3 update, Samsung unlocks the Gear support to all Galaxy devices (with Jelly bean 4.3).
If you are still trying to figure out what you can do on your S4 through with Galaxy Gear. Verizon has a 3-page guide on Galaxy Gear support on S4 for you.
7. Updated Samsung Keyboard
Samsung keyboard is not the best one, but it is surely not the worst. The updated keyboard seems looks better and not so cluttered.
6. New: OpenGL ES 3.0 support
OpenGL Es 3.0 support was implemented in Android 4.3. But you need capable hardware (GPU) to utilize it.
For owners of Galaxy S4 with Qualcoom chips (all US models, or international models with model number GT- I9505), congratulations, you can enjoy the OpenGL ES 3.0. This will significantly improve the performance of graphics (especially for 3D games) .
For owners of Galaxy S4 without LTE (usually with model number GT-I9500), your S4 is NOT capable of supporting OpenGL 3.0. The Samsung Exynos Octa (5410) chip only supports E OpenGL ES 2.0. To be precisely, it is due to the GPU (SGX544MP3) used for this SoC. FYI, the Exynos Octa (5420) in Galaxy Note 3 does support OpenGL ES 3.0 because Samsung shifted to Mali-T628 MP6 (which supports OpenGL ES 3.0) for Exynos Octa 5420.
5. New: ANT+ Support
ANT+ is the wireless technology that allows your monitoring devices to talk to each other using the ultra low power wireless protocol (ANT) running on the 2.4 GHz band.
If you are involved in sports or fitness training, this could be very useful for you. You can connect your S4 to any cetified ANT+ sports, fitness and health sensors.
4. Enhanced Daydream
Daydream was introduced in Android 4.2. But many Galaxy S4 owners are not aware of it. Basically, it is a screensaver for your Galaxy S4. It displays useful and delightful information such as photo albums, news, time and date when idle or docked. You can configure the streams, e g., Colors, Flipboard, Photo Frame and Photo Table. In Jelly Bean 4.3, photo daydream is enhanced.
3. New: Reading Mode
Reading mode can automatically tweak display settings to protect your eyes based on ambient lighting conditions, especially in night. The adjustment is no longer limited to brightness (as auto-brightness). It also adjusts the tone of the display to make it easier to read for long periods.
You can select the apps that use this reading mode under Settings–Display-Reading mode (it may be different for different regions). For example, you can add Google Play Books or Amazon Kindle app to it.
Actually, Reading mode was first spotted in Galaxy Note 8.0. It seems in Android 4.3 update, it works far better than that in Note 8.0.
2. Improved TouchWiz Launcher
The No.1. complaint on Samsung’s Android devices is probably the bloated and sluggish TouchWiz. Users may want more fancy features. But a snappy interface is more desirable.
In this update, the skin (TouchWiz) is still bloated. But it is not so sluggish compared with S4 before the update.
1. New: TRIM Support
Most users noticed that smartphones and tablets are getting slower and slower over time. When you got it new, it is snappy. But after a few months, it is getting slower and slower. One of the major causes of such slowness is the garbage in the storage. When you delete a file from your phone storage (NAND flash), they are not deleted: they are just “marked” as deleted (therefore they are not accessible). The space is not collected back directly.
TRIM for SSD or NAND Flash is something similar to de-fragmentation and empty not-in-use disk space for a hard disk. In our Galaxy S4, TRIM will clean all garbage in the NAND flash storage and keep Galaxy S4 lean and mean over time. Android starts to support TRIM in Jelly Bean 4.3.