In summer 2015, Samsung gave its Galaxy Tab 4 users a nice surprise: An upgrade to version 5.1.1 of Android, better known as Lollipop. As of this writing, version 5.1.1 is the very latest version of Android released by Google. There are several important usability and feature changes in Lollipop, and this article takes you through changes in your Home screen, apps and widgets, the Notifications screen, and the Settings screen.
If your Tab 4 is running Android 4.4, or KitKat, your Tab 4 will check for updates automatically and will show the download process in the Software Update window that appears on the screen. Once the Tab 4 has downloaded the update, the Software Update screen appears as shown in Figure 1. Before you install, tap the Scheduled Software Updates check box at the top of the screen so you install all app updates for Lollipop during the Lollipop installation process.
Figure 1. After you tap the Scheduled Software Updates check box, a green check mark appears in the check box and information about software updates appears on the screen.
Begin installation by tapping the Install button at the bottom of the screen. The Scheduled Software Updates window pops up with the current date and time (see Figure 2) in case you want to schedule the installation at some time in the future.
Figure 2. If you decide against updating the system, tap Cancel in the Scheduled Software Updates window.
For this article, I’ll tap OK in the window to begin the installation process. The Scheduled Software Updates window appears on the screen so you can immediately start installation by tapping Install, or you can just wait for 30 seconds for installation to start. Another pop-up window appears that asks you to tap OK to begin installation, but you don’t need to do anything because the system will restart after a few seconds.
Viewing the Home Screens and the Updated Recent Apps Screen
After the Tab 4 installs Lollipop, you can open the Lock screen as you did in KitKat. Then you see that the two Home screens and the Quick Briefing screen look about the same as they did in KitKat (see Figure 3).
Figure 3. The updated main Home screen with the weather widget at the top of the screen.
The more dramatic change is within the Recent Apps screen. Tap the Recent touch button to view the Recent Apps screen shown in Figure 4. 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. App tiles are stacked one on top of the other.
Figure 4. The most recent app you opened appears at the bottom of the list, which is the Google+ 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 by tapping the Recent touch button. At the right side of the tile menu bar you see the Split Screen icon that looks like one box stacked on top of another as shown in Figure 5. Tap the Split Screen icon for the app you want to appear in the top half of the screen, which in this example is the Chrome app.
Figure 5. The Split Screen icon for the Chrome app appears at the right side of the Chrome tile’s menu bar that appears at the top of the tile.
The Chrome app appears at the top half of the screen and the bottom half of the screen tells you there are no frequently used applications in split screen view. Within the bottom half of the screen, swipe from right to left to view the apps that you can use in split screen view (see Figure 6).
Figure 6. You can choose from one of 10 apps to view in the bottom half of the screen.
Tap the app you want to view in the bottom half of the screen. For this example, I’ll tap Maps. The Google Maps app appears in the bottom half of the screen (see Figure 7). The Google Maps app is highlighted with a blue box around it.
Figure 7. The Chrome app appears in the top half of the screen and the Google Maps app appears in the bottom half of the screen.
A white button appears in the center of the screen so you can manipulate the highlighted app. For example, you can tap, hold, and drag up and down to change the size of the highlighted Google Maps screen in Figure 7. You can also tap the white button to open a menu bar shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8. The menu bar appears in the center of the screen above the highlighted Google Maps app.
The menu contains four icons, from left to right:
- Tap the Swap icon to swap the positions of the two apps. In this example, if you tap the Swap icon, the Google Maps icon will move to the top half of the screen and Chrome will move to the bottom half.
- Tap the Copy icon to copy text or an image between the currently open app and the other open app. If the app to which you’re copying text or an image doesn’t support the copy feature, then when you try to paste the text or image to the app you’ll see a pop-up menu at the bottom of the screen that says, “Not supported.”
- Tap the Full Screen icon to close Split Screen view and display the highlighted app on the entire screen.
- Tap the Close icon to close the highlighted app and display the other app on the entire screen.
Highlight the app in the top half of the screen by tapping anywhere within the app that appears in the top half of the screen, which is Chrome in this example. The white button still appears in the center of the screen, but now you can change the size of the Chrome window by tapping, holding, and dragging the button or tap the button to view the menu for the Chrome app.
If you want to close both apps at the same time, tap the Recent touch button. As you see in Figure 9, the Task Manager and Close All menu options appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen. Close all the open apps by tapping Close All.
Figure 9. The black menu bar at the bottom of the screen shows the Close All option at the right side of the menu bar.
Viewing the Updated Apps
Tap the Apps icon in the lower right corner of the Home screen to view the revised Apps screen. The first page of the Apps screen shows a few apps missing from the bottom row of apps; only the Play Books app icon is in that row. Don’t fret, because the app icons that you saw in the first page of apps in KitKat have only been moved to the second page.
Also, if you didn’t upgrade the Samsung Apps app in KitKat, you’ll notice in Lollipop that the Samsung Apps app has been replaced with the new Galaxy Apps app. You can still tap the Galaxy Apps icon to shop for apps optimized for your Tab 4 with Lollipop.
Swipe from right to left to open the second page of apps shown in Figure 10. The Alarm, Music, and World Clock icons, which appeared in the first page of the Apps screen in KitKat, now appear at the bottom of the second page in Lollipop.
Figure 10. The bottom half of the second page in the Apps screen has a different arrangement than what you saw in KitKat.
There are two new icons at the bottom of the page: The Docs app icon allows you to set up and access your Google Docs account for sharing documents, and the Hancom Office Updater so you can install all the components of Hancom Office including Hword (word processing), Hcell (spreadsheet), and Hshow (presentations).
You may also notice that the only app 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 4.
Checking Out New Widgets
The Lollipop upgrade changed how you access the Widgets screen and also brought some changes to widgets you can add to a Home screen. Open the Widgets screen by tapping and holding on the Recent touch button (or on a blank space within the main or second Home screen) for a second or two. Then tap Widgets as shown in Figure 11.
Figure 11. The Widgets icon appears in the lower-right corner of the screen.
When you open the Widgets screen, you see that there are now five pages of widgets instead of seven in KitKat (see Figure 12) because Lollipop has placed several similar widgets, such as the Calendar widgets, into groups. Tap each group name to open the widgets within the group in a pop-up window; tap the Back touch button to close the pop-up window.
Figure 12. A row of five Widgets screen page buttons appears at the bottom of the screen from the first page button on the left, which is highlighted, to the fifth page button on the right.
The following is a list of widgets and widget groups you’ll find on each of the five widget pages.
- Active Applications
- The Calendar group, which contains the Calendar (Mini Today), Calendar Month 6 x 6, and Calendar Month 3 x 3 widgets
- The Chrome group, which contains the Bookmark and Bookmark widgets
- Docs New Document; this widget allows you to create a new Google Docs document from a Home screen
- The Drive group, which contains the Drive, Drive Scan, and Drive Shortcut widgets
- Dropbox Folder
- Dual Clock (Digital)
- Galaxy Apps; this widget appears by default on the second Home screen
- The Gmail group, which contains the Gmail and Gmail Label widgets
- The Google App group, which contains the Google App and Google Now widgets; the Google App widget was called Google Search in KitKat
- The Google Play Books group, which contains the Book and Google Play Books widgets
- The Google Play Music Group, which contains the Google Play Music 3 x 1, Google Play Music 1 x 1, and Music Playlist widgets
- Google Play Newsstand
- The Google Play Store group, which contains the Play—My Library, Play Recommendations, and Play Store widgets
- The Google+ group, which contains the Google+ Posts and Google+ User Locations widgets
- Hancom Office
- Picture Frame
- S Bookmarks
- Samsung WatchON
- User Manual
- Weather; this widget appears by default on the main Home screen
So what are the differences between the widgets offered in KitKat and Lollipop? Lollipop has deleted the YouTube and Magazine Here & Now widgets and has added the Docs New Document, Samsung WatchON, and User Manual widgets. In sum, Lollipop gives you a total of 41 widgets as compared to 40 in KitKat.
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 13, 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 13. 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 most of the major new features in Lollipop so you can enjoy exploring your new operating system on the Tab 4. The biggest change you’ll notice in your daily use of Lollipop is the Notifications screen, but discussing the new Notifications screen requires a separate article. You can learn more about the new Notifications screen by reading the article “Using the Lollipop Notifications Screen on the Galaxy Tab 4” on the Que Publishing website (http://www.quepublishing.com).