When the Galaxy Tab S was released in June 2014, both models didn’t come with the Android 5.0 operating system (which Google calls Lollipop). Instead, the Tab S came with Android 4.4, better known as KitKat, installed.
This came as a bit of a surprise to both users and the computing media since Android 5.0 was available when the Tab S was released. What’s more, the Tab S was promoted by Samsung as the most advanced Android tablet on the market but didn’t have the most advanced version of Android installed. Users had to wait until spring 2015 for Samsung to offer the Lollipop update to users of both Tab S models.
Now that Lollipop is available on the Tab S, you can use this article to supplement the knowledge in My Samsung Galaxy Tab S. There are several important usability and feature changes from KitKat, and this article takes you through changes and updates to your Home screen, apps and widgets, the Notifications screen, and the Settings screen.
This article presumes you have downloaded and installed Lollipop on your Tab S. Note that if you performed a factory data reset while running KitKat, Lollipop was installed on your Tab S during the reinstallation process.
Viewing the Home Screens and the Updated Recent Apps Screen
The two Home screens and the Quick Briefing screen look about the same as they did in KitKat. However, on the main Home screen you will notice that the fonts in the Weather widget are a bit different and the Remote PC and Netflix icons doesn’t appear (see Figure 1). These icons don’t appear because after you update Android to Lollipop, the Tab S automatically updates Netflix and the Remote PC apps to their Lollipop-compatible versions. During the update process, the Tab S removes the app icons from the main Home screen.
Figure 1. The updated main Home screen with the missing Netflix and Remote PC app icons.
The more dramatic change comes in the Recent Apps screen. Tap the Recent touch button to view the Recent Apps screen shown in Figure 2. The Task Manager and Close All menu options still appear at the bottom right corner of the screen as they did in KitKat. However, each open app is now open in a separate tile on the screen. Each app tile is stacked on top of each other.
Figure 2. The most recent app you opened appears at the bottom of the list, which is the Google Play Store app in this example.
The app tile shows an image of the screen as it appeared when you tapped the Recent touch button. Tap on the app tile in the list to open the app on the entire screen and perform tasks within that app.
You can close an app in one of two ways. The first way is by tapping and holding on the app tile and then swiping the tile to the left or right. You can also tap the Close button in the upper right corner of the tile. Close all the tiles by tapping Close All in the lower-right corner of the screen.
Displaying Two Apps on the Same Screen
In Lollipop you can open two apps and display both apps on the screen. You can do this within any Home or app screen by tapping and holding on the right edge of the screen and then swiping from right to left. Within the Multi-Window Tray that appears (see Figure 3), swipe up and down in the Tray to view all the apps you can open. When you find an app, tap the app icon. The app appears on the screen.
Figure 3. The Multi-Window Tray appears on the right side of the screen.
Next, open the Multi-Window Tray and tap a second app icon. The second app you opened appears at the bottom half of the screen as shown in Figure 4. You can close one or both apps by tapping the Recent touch button and then closing one or both apps as described earlier in this article.
Figure 4. The Internet app appears in the top half of the screen and the Play Store app appears in the bottom half of the screen.
Viewing the Updated Apps
Tap the Apps icon in the lower right corner of the Home screen to view the revised Apps screen. The Apps screen in KitKat had three pages of apps, but in Lollipop there are only two pages.
The only change you see on the first page of apps is the Peel Smart Remote icon shown in Figure 5. The Peel Smart Remote app was also in KitKat, but in KitKat you had your choice of using Peel Smart Remote or Samsung WatchON for controlling your TV and managing your TV watching experience on the Tab S. In Lollipop, WatchON is no longer available as a pre-installed app. (You can still download WatchON from the Google Play Store if you want.)
Figure 5. The first page of the Apps screen includes the Peel Smart Remote icon within the fourth row of apps.
Note that the Remote PC app icon is also on the first page of the Apps screen if you want to use the app.
Swipe from right to left to open the second page of apps shown in Figure 6. The Netflix icon appears at the bottom of the screen so you can still open and use the Netflix app to watch movies and videos on your Tab S.
Figure 6. The bottom of the second page in the Apps screen has a different arrangement than what you saw in KitKat.
The only app that’s missing from this Apps screen page in Lollipop is ChatON, which is no longer produced by Samsung. You can still use Google Hangouts to chat online with others on your Tab S.
Checking Out New Widgets
The Lollipop upgrade also brought some changes to widgets you can add to a Home screen. When you open the Widgets screen, the widgets on page 1 are the same as they were in KitKat. However, on page 2, the Google Search group of widgets you saw in KitKat has been renamed Google App in Lollipop. The new Google App group appears in the middle of the screen (see Figure 7) and contains the Google App and Google Now widgets; the former used to be called Google Search in KitKat.
Figure 7. The Google App group appears between the Gmail and Google Play Books widget groups.
Page 3 of the Widgets screen contains the most changes. The Samsung WatchON widget was available in KitKat, but now that the WatchON app isn’t pre-installed on Lollipop the WatchON widget no longer appears on Page 3.
Samsung replaced the WatchON widget with the Picture Frame widget shown in Figure 8. The Picture Frame widget allows you to view one picture or a slideshow of pictures stored on your Tab S. What’s more, the Milk widget in KitKat has been renamed Samsung Milk Music in Lollipop.
Figure 8. The Picture Frame and SideSync 3.0 widgets appear on the right side of the screen.
As with KitKat, only the Weather widget appears on Page 4 of the Widgets screen in Lollipop.
Using the Notifications Screen
The biggest change you’ll notice in your daily use of Lollipop is the Notifications screen. You can still access the Notifications screen by tapping and holding on the top edge of the screen and then swiping down. However, in Lollipop the screen you were viewing (the example in Figure 9 uses the main Home screen) darkens around the Notification screen to draw your attention to the Notification screen features.
Figure 9. The Notifications screen is bright on top of a darkened Home screen.
The menu icons, settings buttons, and screen brightness slider appear in the blue menu bar at the top of the screen. A dark blue button bar underneath the menu bar contains buttons for the S Finder and Samsung Quick Connect services.
Each notification appears as a white tile and notifications are ordered with the most recent notification at the top of the list and the oldest notification at the bottom. If there are too many notifications that fit on the screen, swipe up and down on the screen within the list to view the remaining notifications.
You’ll learn more about using the Notifications screen in the article “Using the Lollipop Notifications Screen on the Galaxy Tab S” on the Que Publishing website (http://www.quepublishing.com).
An Updated Settings Screen
The Lollipop update also brings a new look and a few functionality changes to the Settings screen. When you open the Settings screen shown in Figure 10, you see the color scheme has changed to blue and white with the setting category tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of the screen. The tabs are the same and appear in the same order within the menu bar as in KitKat.
Figure 10. The selected settings tab appears in yellow within the menu bar and the Menu icon appears in the upper-right corner of the screen.
The list of settings within each category tab is also the same as in KitKat. However, some features have been reordered. For example, in the Wi-Fi settings list in KitKat you were able to scan for new Wi-Fi networks by tapping Scan in the menu bar. In Lollipop, you scan for new Wi-Fi networks by tapping the Menu icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and then tapping Scan in the pop-up menu that appears.
The Menu icon isn’t available with all settings, but if you want to change a setting and you can’t find it on the screen, tap the Menu icon and see if the setting is available within the pop-up menu.
That concludes our quick tour of the major new features in Lollipop. Enjoy using this new version of Android on your Galaxy Tab S to be even more productive every day.