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Galaxy Note 2′s Multi-Window Feature is Impressive

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The Galaxy Note 2 will arrive at a carrier near you by mid-November. We know this because Samsung announced that all of the major U.S. carriers will have it by then, plus they have a press event scheduled for October 24 to hopefully make dates official. As we inch closer to that date though, we are starting to learn more about the software customizations that have been made to make this possibly, Samsung’s most impressive smartphone to date. 

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to sit down with Samsung and discuss the new S Pen, the new version of Pop-up Play, and some of the added features in the gallery. What they didn’t show me, was this new multi-window functionality that is highlighted in a launch video for the device in Korea.

You may recall a similar feature on the Galaxy Note 10.1, however, the multi-window feature on that tablet was incredibly limited. In fact, only 6 apps could take advantage of it. With this new version on the Note 2, it appears as if any app on your phone can work with it, but you can also resize the areas that you are using, and hot swap different apps between them.

To access this new feature, all you need to do is long press on the Back button and a semi-hidden menu will appear on the display. From there, you can use the S Pen to grab the menu, move it around until you find a preferred location, and then open it to decide which app you would like to use and in which space.

To see it in action, jump to the 2:04 mark in the top video. You can also see it live at the beginning of the video below.

I recommend that you watch both videos to get the full Galaxy Note 2 experience. Samsung is quickly showing how far ahead of the competition they are when it comes to custom software that is actually useful.

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Cheers R!

  • http://twitter.com/Dominick_7 Dominick S.

    I’ve been wanting a Galaxy Note 2 on Verizon for a long time and voted that I’d buy it on Verizon, but because they’re trying to force me to get rid of unlimited, I’m torn between having to buy it full retail at $700! Or go to TMobile or Sprint. Decisions decisions. Verizon is such a douchy company with the way they’re going about thing.. not only do they ignore their customers demands for the Note 1, just to see how it sells, but they finally are getting the Note 2, are trying to force you to get a measly 2gb share everything data plan, then by ignoring our anger over shared plans they announce it to be a success when no one had much of a choice otherwise. On top of that they put their ugly logo on the freaking button to remind you they pownd you.
    Anyone have any input on going to either TMobile or AT&T over Verizon? I may just suck it up and go with Verizon but what’s sad is in order to keep Unlimited data I can’t use a $50 Best Buy gift card, nor use the $30 NE2 credit, which when after the sale of my current phone would basically make the Note 2 free via using the discounted rate:/

  • jafuuf

    any one now if the gnu comes with multi window

  • Mario

    I bet that kid who sold his kidney for an iPad is feeling sort of dumb right now.

  • http://twitter.com/PaulRoberTaylor Paul Taylor

    I can’t get the multi window feature to work. Did it make it to the retail version?

  • jay_peter

    I honestly don’t find that impressive at all.

    • fadilkarim

      in your opinion, what phone can you find that has more features and power than this?

  • Alexander Ramos

    Well, what I can see on it is the future of TouchWiz…

  • http://twitter.com/spdivr1122 Stephen

    i know i cant be the only one still annoyed that there arent on screen navigation keys. im seriously not considering another phone until they start coming out with on screen nav keys.

  • shaka

    Incredible.

  • jab416171

    It really is incredible how far ahead Samsung is from everyone else.

    That ‘select the best face’ for the camera is pretty neat.

  • Phoene

    It’s great and all, but I’m still content with my nexus.

  • John Wildman

    Just not a fan of Samsung. Looks like another great device, but like the others, made with the cheapest materials available. Not really hating, I’d love one just as soon as they start building something more solid.

    • JazzoRenee

      My OG Galaxy S and S3 are from from cheap.

    • Mete ASLAN

      My SGS1 build with “cheap plastic” resisted many many falls, scratches… I assure it is solid and strong all the way! I want a new phone but it’s still working after 2 and a half years!

  • Aaron Decker

    So, when does someone over on XDA port the windowed mode to every other device??

  • http://twitter.com/JackMeoffski Jack Meoffski

    I’m getting mine this Tuesday!
    Hhahah suckers! hahahah poor people!

  • James Zwerling

    Can’t wait to own this beast!!! I only hope my droid x1 survives the wait!!!! it takes close to 30 seconds sometimes to load my text message inbox -____-

  • TheOiulkj

    Yea, I can’t watch a 7 minute commercial. Sorry.

    • Mete ASLAN

      It’s more than a commercial I strongly recommend (Unless you’re an apple fanboy and you fear loosing your faith watching it)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=75200646 Stephen Cox

    Welp, guess I better start saving now if I want one by the time they are 6 months old… oh, what I’ll do to keep unlimited…

  • Cool_Windows_Baby

    Why would I want to have to always pull out a “special pen” instead of just using my finger to instantly touch on the screen?

    “Stylus” use is for extremely SMALL screens… “Fingers” are for extremely BIG screens.

    • fadilkarim

      well for example, taking notes comes in real handy especially when your on a phone call! i like writing down my grocery lists, its just a nice feature to have. but you dont need it to use the phone.

  • Mchl496

    So shouldn’t this feature also be coming to the Galaxy S3?

  • joejoe5709

    I’ll have to wait for some reviews and hold it in my hand to know for sure, but this is pretty cool. I thought the original note was huge, but it’s really not much larger than my GNex. That said, I’m fine with my Nexus for now and I think when my upgrade is up next year I’ll be very interested in something like this. Either that or just buy a damn tablet. Lol.

    Multi-window is very very cool. I would use that very often! Are you listening Cyanogenmod? This would be a pretty tasty addition! I think that more phones these days should come with a stylus. Why not, right?

  • nightscout13

    WOW I am actually really interested! Now I have to get rid of my GS3 to get this phone….

    • Joshua

      Me too =(

  • http://profiles.google.com/cory.simpson Cory Simpson

    Anyone notice they advertised it at 4.1, but it was using S-Voice instead of Google Now? :-/

    • helbert Arkhurst

      it has both mate

      • http://profiles.google.com/cory.simpson Cory Simpson

        Good to know, thanks!

  • Steven Cornea

    if I had a busy life, I would get that phone….but mine is boring.

    • fadilkarim

      its time to get this and add some spice to your life;D

  • FAL_Fan

    Serious question, can you take a photo while recording? I have not seen this ability highlighted but that doesn’t mean that it cannot. Anyone know?

    • helbert Arkhurst

      of cos. it does everything the S3 does and more!

    • http://www.facebook.com/nadeemqasem Nadeem Qasem

      stock ics can do this

      • FAL_Fan

        Really? Cause I couldn’t do that with ICS and I’ve had aosp, cm9, aokp, and stock moto ICS…

  • FAL_Fan

    But can it read?

    • danygenio31

      Was that a south park reference?? XD

      • FAL_Fan

        Well done sir!

  • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

    This looks amazing, true multitasking at its best!

    But can we get these features on a NORMAL sized phone? The Note 2 looks stunning both hardware and software wise however the screen size kills it for me! Hopefully the next Galaxy S has these features in a somewhat normal sized device.

  • Allen Byrd

    THIS
    WILL
    BE
    MINE

  • S.Ober

    I own the S3 and I am now Jealous!

    • Aardvark99

      I demand this in the S3 JB update!

      • Itchy_Robot

        ditto!

  • socalrailroader

    From what I understand, the Note 10.1 will be getting these new updates too. Jelly Bean is coming to it soon as well.

    • JazzoRenee

      I’m getting myself the 10.1 for xmas

  • MatthewSimmons

    I want one. I also want the soundtrack for this AD, damn it was catchy!

  • Akashshr

    Ew actually, Samsung has tried to implement what they did with their Pre-android era phones, Give it an Ugly sidebar!!

    • ari_free

      totally missing the point…

  • fixxmyhead

    and most of u still hate touchwiz. u people are retarded touchwiz is good and full of features

    • yarrellray

      Touchwiz pimp slaps stock android all day long. And makes Htc sense, Lg skin, motoblur all useless..

      • fixxmyhead

        Yeah I also hate the other skins too. I tried cm 10 and it’s boring as hell . I went back to touchwiz

      • http://www.facebook.com/borgey401 Andrew Borges

        LOL Wait a second…. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say Touchwiz is better than vanilla Android…. All skins are god awful, back when Cupcake was current then yes things such as HTC Sense UI made Android 100% better. But, now that it has evolved into such a great OS there is absolutely no need for them.

      • squiddy20

        Says the dope who not even 5 months ago was going on and on about his “bitch slapping” Galaxy Nexus and how stock software was better than “crappy bloatware filled” Touchwiz and “bogged down” HTC Sense. Yeahhh…

        • yarrellray

          Squiddy20 stinks like elephant do do..

          • squiddy20

            I might have felt insulted if:
            1. This were coming from a 7 year old instead of a 50 year old.
            2. This hadn’t come a *month* after the original comment. Coming from the fool who claims to not be trolling and who supposedly has a life, this is just sad.
            Anything other uneducated nonsense you’d like to spew?

          • rayyarrellstinks

            Uh, so why don’t you have a note?
            You’ve been blabbing how this was a release day purchase for you…
            put up or shut up.

      • fadilkarim

        yeah especially with this phone! touchwiz IS WHAT MAKES THIS PHONE SPECIAL! all the downvoters must not understand that! its what makes this phone different with alll the features!

  • bungadudu

    WOW !

    Truly the next best thing!
    (can’t believed I watched the whole clip)

  • Karlos G

    Every time that i watch a video about the Note 2, i learn something new! This phone is fully loaded with any kind of features! I cant to have it on my hands!

  • http://uidezine.blogspot.com uidezine

    Count me in and hurry!
    My iPhone 4s is ready to go on ebay.

    • Aaron Decker

      Welcome to the dark side. Have a cookie :)

      • Jonbo298

        I think he should actually get some Jelly Bean’s ;)

        • JazzoRenee

          lololo

        • Aaron Decker

          Yes of course. How could I screw that up. lol

  • David

    Interesting. Lots of ideas there.
    Some of it strikes me as just a bunch of apps that you can get elsewhere.
    Interesting use of the stylus. Will be interesting to see if that catches on, or catches on enough to make it profitable for them. Relying on a stylus has been a bad idea for many years, but you never know if things have changed.
    Multiple windows looked interesting, especially in frames, The video in the middle of the page seemed useless.
    I wonder what their reliability is like. Using an S3, many of the neat sounding features didn’t work. Such as having S-voice wake up if I said a special word.

  • jldleo

    Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is a Galaxy Note II.

  • Izzy

    sooo port this to the Gs3, anyone agree?

    • http://www.facebook.com/troop.threeninetwo Troop Threeninetwo

      Not all features would transfer over to the S3, but it would be nice to see some of these on my S3 someday.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kirk-Ngo/1362282755 Kirk Ngo

    Really good AD. I really hope the Verizon version will have the wifi toggle button and will not have that stupid wifi auto connection thing on the GS 3. Please leave the note the way it is VERIZON. Don’t let Verizon Make any modifications to this phone. Need to step up Samsung and take charge. Please for me ad everyone else. Bloatware apps is okay but that’s it.

    • yarrellray

      You can rest assure that Verizon will plaster all that childish unnecessary branding on the Galaxy Note 2. Basically rendering the device useless from an elegance standpoint. I applaud Tmobile, Sprint, and At&t for leaving the device alone looking exactly like the international model. No US carrier name or nothing on the front or back of the device but Samsung which is exactly what it should be. Thankfully I tossed Verizon in the garbage can June so I don’t have to worry about Tmobile being the old ball.

  • Daniel

    OMG. Samsung Galaxy Note 2…will you marry me???

  • http://twitter.com/fritzo2162 DougZ

    Our phones are slowing growing back to the size of Gordon Gekko’s.

  • poseidon5213

    The first ad was amazing why doesnt Samsung have ads like this in America? That ad alone convinced me to buy the galaxy note 2

    • digitalicecream

      Really, you think the average consumer in the US will watch a nearly 8 minute ad on TV during primetime?

      • poseidon5213

        so basically since americans have short attention spans we cant have amazing ads like that

        • Gasaraki

          Yes

  • Waa Hoo

    Will the reception suck as bad as every other Samsung phone?

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Probably heh :P

      • DJyoSNOW

        “but does it make phone calls”

    • droidsung

      Note 1 has pretty good reception better than SGS2. Some analysts think it’s because of larger antenna in it. I think it makes sense. So, not too worried about reception on Note 2.

  • Brandon Heid

    Did anyone else notice that when they “typed” capricornus into the search box, no keyboard actually came up? Would it have covered up the bottom half of the window?

    • btod

      I noticed the same thing. At first I thought maybe google read the handwritting from the memo pad to do the search, but then I noticed that any other time in the video whenever there was typing involved, i never saw a keyboard come up.

      For ex: around 2:49 when the user is on facebook and responds to a text, he/she sends two texts and a keyboard never comes up.

      • michael arazan

        Voice to text maybe? Jellybean’s Voice to text function is about 90% better than the last one I used in ICS, minimal mistakes now which is awesome for paragraph long text or emails. I’m very impressed, I used to have to speak monotoned slowly with a quick pause between words to get it to accurately type form what I was saying, like speaking like a robot, or like the old speak and spells.

        • btod

          There’s no way to actually send a text or email via voice though, at least not that I know of. Whenever i use it i always have to go back to the keyboard to actually send it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/munfried Michael Unfried

            Remember, there are other options besides the on screen keyboard. Most modern phones will support a blue tooth keyboard and, with Android, you’ve even got the option of plunging in a USB keyboard/mouse.

  • Justin W

    That device looks incredibly large in the second video… I think I’d want to see it in person before I buy it.

    • Jay

      go to a store with the first note, its the same size but only a little bit taller.

    • Rob C

      The whole idea of a Phone with a large Screen is A LARGE SCREEN
      (assuming it has a powerful enough Processor to drive it) for Video,
      Maps, and other Graphic oriented functions (including Web + E-Reader).

      If you do not want a large Screen then buy a Phone with a smaller
      sized Screen. You can get a really tiny Phone if you want, it won’t
      have a large Screen but it will be tiny.

      You do not hear us complaining that tiny Phones don’t have a large
      Screen so why complain that Phones with a large Screen are not tiny ?

      WAIT for foldable Screens (or buy a dual-Screen Clamshell) if you wish.

  • http://www.gizmoninja.com/ Tabe

    Very cool feature, but that thing is way too big for a phone (IMO, obviously). Also, Touchwiz… meh… Waiting on the next Nexus(es)!

    • yarrellray

      The Galaxy Note 2 stomps any Nexus device. Stock android devices offer no features what so ever. The Galaxy Note 2 is in a league of it’s own. Matter of fact no Nexus will ever be better than the current Galaxy S3.

      • fixxmyhead

        Seriously cm10 would not even do it justice to this phone with all those neat features. Anyone willing to flash cm10 on this phone is stupid

        • http://www.facebook.com/nadeemqasem Nadeem Qasem

          i dont really agree with u

          • fixxmyhead

            U should cuz cm10 doesnt even offer half as many neat features otherwise u might as well get a nexus if u really want something stock

          • fadilkarim

            you would rather give up alllll the spen features, smart stay, smart rotation, pop up note, palm to screen capture, and everything JUST for stock android?

        • Mete ASLAN

          I agree. For example stock camera just ruins HTC OneX. I use CM10 on my original SGS but I don’t have anything else. Stock ROM on SGN2 is just a 5.5 inch Galaxy Nexus. Why the hell do I want it?

        • fadilkarim

          yeah i would never ever give up all those features no matter what!!!

      • http://www.gizmoninja.com/ Tabe

        That’s great that you’re a sucker for all of the bells and whistles that they add to the OS. More power to you. I prefer not to have all of these features pre-loaded on my phone, so I don’t judge which is better than which by gross feature set (as you appear to do). You enjoy your Touchwiz, I’ll enjoy my stock/roms, we’ll both be happy.

  • EatUrCrap

    iPhone’s all about simplicity.
    Android is all about being able to do as much as possible on your phone, love it.

    • capecodcarl

      What are you talking about, this phone looks and acts exactly like the iPhone 5 will act when iOS 7 comes out.

      • http://profiles.google.com/jubakuba Kit Tihonovich

        Hey down voters. He was joking. iOS7…You know…the future…Apple…stealing and such.

        • http://twitter.com/BlackBlizzNerd Ben Landwehr

          When some people see “iPhone” in an Android forum, they can’t always process the sarcasm due to their hatred Haha.

          • David

            Why the hatred? Samsung is the nastiest of companies.

          • Name

            Lol How can you say that when Apple is suing everybody.

      • truename

        lol

      • Name

        Samsung, the next big thing is already here.

    • dangolds

      Can you really attribute most of the incremental features you saw in that video to “android” though? That was pretty much all Samsung proprietary software they were showing off. Kind of seems like Samsung’s moving in a different direction and into something that’s separate and distinct from both Android and iOS. I am very curious to know what the impact of all that enhanced multi-tasking has on battery performance. Overall, I would never get this device because it’s too large for my taste and I’m not a big fan of the stylus (in no small part due to the fact that my handwriting is worse than a 2nd grader’s and I can’t draw anything to save my life). I can see why some might like it, but it still seems like a niche product. That said, it will sell well for Samsung because they’re the only ones actively serving the phablet market. Personally, I’ll stick with my GS3 and iPhone 5.

      • JoYu

        It works just like any capacitive screen with your fingers, you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.

      • niuguy

        Not sure why all the downvotes. He was making a valid point…not even a knock on Android. Samsung’s done a lot of work to the note to take advantage of the stylus and screen realestate.

      • fadilkarim

        No, you cannot completely attribute these to android, however, it is the beauty of android that PROMOTES innovation like this on its open sourced platform. Google designs its OS with innovation and lets other companies add even more innovation ontop of their innovation! the end result is beautiful- a true blend of functionality and ingenuity. i agree that the note 2 is a niche product. it isnt a bad thing that it is, but its for people who constantly consume content. and it does a heck of a job at it.

  • Daniel Maginnis

    You know what would be cool? On screen buttons so that you cold use the s pen on them instead of your finger.

    • Tommy Thompson

      Technically the only button you need to use your finger on is the home button…

      • Daniel Maginnis

        I don’t think that’s true at all as the guy in the video kept going to his finger to press back and had to reposition the pen in his hand to go back to the screen. I believe the s pen is resistive and the Navy buttons are capacitive. It would work if the pen were just a regular old capacative pen from belkin or something.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=577604831 Frank T Wang

          Just like the Note 1, there are pen gestures to trigger the capacitive buttons.

  • Superdroid

    I WANT ONE!!!!

  • perfectalpha

    My question is will that multi window features be available if I use a different launcher.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      That we do not know heh.

      • perfectalpha

        Hey, if you guys go to the NYC event, try it out if you can. Also, see if other apps work in there too. I saw quite a few, but a lot of them were kind of basic. I’d rather use chomp than the default messaging. Just saying…either way, I like this phone.

    • kwubba

      it is on the 10.1 note…but as Kellex said it’s only available in a small number of apps.

  • Tommy Thompson

    In the brief time you had with it, did it work better than on the Note 10.1? From the reviews they said it would take a second or two when using one and switching to the other…

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      I skipped the 10.1 because it was awful. What I do know is that the Note 2 is super impressive in performance.

      • Tommy Thompson

        I was referring to the dual-window tasking. Did you have to wait for the OS to switch the active app or were they both always active?

        • Sandellyo Kauba

          On Windows 7 two active applications are not ready for user input at the same time. The Note 10.1 has palm rejection as well so you do not mistakenly trigger the resting app with the other hand. Check your desktop to see if you can input onto two windows, apps, or even tabs for that matter at the same time. A bunch of reviewers are trying to sway people away from the Note 10.1, like they did for the Note 5.3. I have both and I love both. P.S. every product does not need to be compared to Apple products. Do your own research and buy what works for you.

          • Tommy Thompson

            I don’t think you are understanding my question……

      • kwubba

        Why is it considered awful? Quad core 2 gb RAM the pen..it’s replaced my Xoom and HTC flyer quickly.

      • Ibrahim Awwal

        Meh, I don’t understand reviewers paning the Note 10.1, I love mine. And I don’t see how it could possibly be any different on the Note 2 considering they have exactly the same hardware, and the Note 10.1 is getting a Jellybean update soon to give it feature parity with the Note 2. There will almost certainly be a short lag between switching apps for the first input just because that’s how Android works though.