Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Tab 2 tablets get Android 4.1 update, new features

Samsung has officially updated its Galaxy Tab 2 tablets and the Note 10.1 to Android 4.1. New features (especially for the Note 10.1) abound.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Writing gets better with the latest Android update. Josh Miller/CNET

Today Samsung announced that its Galaxy Tab 2 tablets and Galaxy Note 10.1 would receive Android 4.1 Jelly Bean updates. Samsung, rather than including only cosmetic or back-end changes that you'll never actually see, has added a number of useful-sounding (that's a Youtube video link if you'd rather not read any further) features.

Most of the new features, like improved S Pen support, look to only be compatible with the Note 10.1, not the Tab 2 tablets. This update is so far only available for the Wi-Fi versions of the tablets.

A Samsung rep detailed what should be the biggest takeaways from the update. I've outlined them directly below, but keep reading if you seek more detail. I've not yet had a chance to test these out, so this is all according to Samsung:

-Improved side-by-side apps: Before you could run only two side-by-side apps. Now you can run as many windowed, resizable, and cascading apps at once as you can fit on the screen.

-No more lag when switching between windows.

-Improved S Pen support: Hovering the pen in apps like calendar, Web browser, and e-mail now previews information.

Cascade View: Users can freely resize, move, and pin selected applications in multiple views, running them simultaneously or while operating the home screen.

Air View: With the S Pen, users can quickly preview content without having to open it. Users can preview video while scrubbing, preview e-mail attachments without opening, and preview photos without opening the album.

Quick Command: With Quick Command, you can quickly activate applications and services that are used most often, by writing command shortcuts using customized and preset S Pen strokes.

Enhanced Handwriting: Users can send personalized handwritten notes and memos via e-mail, as well as hand-write directly in the S Planner.

Enhanced S Note: S Note now features additional ready-to-use templates; allows users to add effects to their digital content with Idea Sketch; and enables the insertion of video directly into not only Note templates but also other templates. Users can also launch S Note directly from the home screen for added convenience.

Easy Clip: Allows users to select and clip content to save, paste, or share in seconds.

Photo Note: Add personalized handwritten notes on the back of your photos.

Paper Artist: Users can enliven sketches or content with different color or pencil styles, and Paper Artist also has over 30 artistic effects that can be applied to images or media. Users can also draw or write onto the content and share it with others.

A smarter S Pen: The S Pen now allows users to select writing or color modes at the touch of a button, or unlock the home screen simply by removing the S Pen.

Admittedly, it's been a few months since I've used the Note 10.1, so I can't actually speak to how useful (or dramatic) these changes are. However, if there are any Galaxy Note 10.1 owners out there willing to share, I'd love to get your impressions in the comments.

Corrected, 9:45 a.m. PT: The Tab models being updated are in the Tab 2 series.

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