Samsung Galaxy S2 TouchWiz 4.0 Special Features Demo [EXCLUSIVE]

March 25, 2011
61

Whilst at CTIA 2011 we were given the opportunity to take a peek at the fabulous new Samsung Galaxy S2 running with the excellent new version of Samsung's user interface overlay, TouchWiz 4.0. In the video you're about to watch, you'll see our good pal Philip Berne speaking about some of the new features coming in on the Samsung Galaxy S2 via the new version of TouchWiz featured on it. I'm sure you're aware that we're always a bit hesitant to work with manufacturer-added interfaces, instead relying on 3rd party people to give us what we want, but behold this: TouchWiz 4.0 seems like a really excellent addition to the history of Android and we can't WAIT to use it - it and all of its everloving gesture movements for great justice in interaction.

What we get to see here first is a feature that works in-browser only. Once you've got a webpage loaded up (we've got AndroidCommunity.com loaded up here,) you can zoom in and out by holding down on the screen with two fingers and moving your phone back and forth. Amazing! It'd never occurred to us, or at least me, that the same gear inside a phone that allows me to maneuver a starship in a game would work its way into controlling a web browser as well. Well played!

Next we moved on to some widget talk, seeing that there's some cool new "Live Tile" action going on, each of them movable with a long-press, each of them fitting together snug via a girding system that sets them up like a magazine. On top of that, the widgets drawer has been improved as well. You're able to activate a set after set of widgets by hitting menu - add - widgets: this leading you to a set of four icons along the bottom of your screen where your drawer would normally be, each screen scrolling back and forth with a sort of slide-bump action. Very slick, very much want this functionality in my ADW drawer options.

Then there's ANOTHER gesture-based control which you're basically going to have a conniption fit over - when you grab a widget from your widgets drawer and you want to drop it to one of your home panels, all you've got to do is hold down on it and move your phone from side to side, again, physically through the air. As you do so, the screens will scroll back and forth, allowing you to choose the one you want without swiping in the least! And this is only Gingerbread - again, can't wait until we get to see what they'll do with what Honeycomb has to offer.

Neato, yes? Take a peek at our hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S2 for a bit more general look at the phone and what you're going to get out of it!


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  • Lock it up

    oh lord. . . the things these companies come up with. . . .

    And people are throwing a fit over Google not releasing Honeycomb asap. . . I’m OK with them locking it down a lot more than it currently is.

    • http://androidcommunity.com/ Chris Burns

      whatever man, this is awesome. the best part about it is you dont have to use it, its just there if you’re interested

      • Lock it up

        You know, when I think about it a bit. . . it isn’t awesome at all and it really sucks!

        I really have only one phone and one tablet to choose if I want an Android device that I’m sure will get regular updates–Nexus S & Motorola Xoom. We’re even talking security updates not just upgrades.

        When I really think about that I might as well purchase an iOS device. F’ ME!

        That’s the problem with all this UI junk. They aren’t giving users a choice of having a device that will be directly updated via Google Vs a device that has their own proprietary UI and may never get updated let alone upgraded. Once they add that proprietary UI it’s really not far from an Apple iOS device. It’s much worse than Windows–at least there I can put a clean install on my computer rather easily as the drivers are all supplied by the hardware manufacturers without voiding my warranty and I can upgrade as long as my hardware supports the new OS.

        Sure, I can root, void my warranty, and put a custom ROM on it. . . that is, if it’s a phone being supported by the community and that support most likely won’t last that long either.

        So, the question comes. . . why in the hell aren’t the drivers for these devices being supplied to Google to allow users to go “vanilla Android” if they would like to do that without having to void their warranty? Why isn’t Google supplying users with a way to have a “clean install” of Android on their device?

        When I look at it this way I have to come to the conclusion that, other than Google’s devices, Android is just as locked down as any iOS device (depending on manufacturer, of course–some more so than other). That’s great! An open-source project that is allowed to be locked down to the level of an Apple iOS device. Un-freakin-believable!

        Honestly, I’ve never really sat and thought about it this way. THIS SUCKS! And their is nothing “open” about these devices! And that sucks because these are not cheap devices!

        Why in the hell can’t I get a clean install of Android on my device of choice without voiding my warranty?

        Am I missing something? Please let me know. . . I really hope I’m missing something here.

      • Anonymous

        Totally agree with you. That is why it is important to just go with a vanilla/stock android phone. I was excited about the SGS2, but there isn’t much developer community support for samsung phones, so I will be going with the LG G2X. Sure hardware wise maybe not quite as nice as the GS2, but a year from now I will be eating Ice Cream while the GS2 folks will still be eating their stale gingerbread…

      • http://androidcommunity.com/ Chris Burns

        Ice Cream or Ice Cream Sandwitch? Also I agree completely you should be able to install a clean Android without voiding, but I think there should be a built-in way to do it, too. It’s harsh that these companies can’t just compete via sending out the best hardware, instead trying to work software and hardware together into the best combination.

        Wait maybe I dont agree?

      • Lock it up

        Just because they slap on some UI elements doesn’t mean they are working the software and hardware together into the best combination. If that were true then the dev community wouldn’t be coming up with ROMs that work better ;)

        The Samsung Tab is a perfect example–flash a European ROM via the community on it and it’s silky smooth but Samsung’s implementation is slow and laggy.

        As I stated to enantiomer2000, I think my point is simply. . . at the very least at least, why can’t Google figure out a way to update the OS while still allowing companies to add their bits. Even if they don’t allow you to reinstall a stock Android version at least be able to update the OS for security and bug fixes.

        Right now it seems like Google wants to take the path of least support possible. They want to throw out the OS to other companies and then they are done with it–unless of course it’s the Google experience device.

        And by letting the hardware manufacturers do pretty much whatever they want to the OS it really isn’t Android anymore. It’s Samsung’s Touchwiz OS, Motorola’s MotoBlur OS, and HTC’s Sense OS. They just run Android apps and support the same set of APIs. Heck, BlackBerry isn’t going to be far off from that lol.

        I understand the “need” for differentiation and don’t really have a problem with that. I can see people really liking Sense, Touchwiz, or Motoblur and really enjoying the “enhancements” offered by those companies. However, Google is not keeping Android as an “open platform” by allowing these companies to add their layer of differentiation in a way that obstructs updates and support directly from the OS developer (Google)–maybe Google wants it that way so they don’t have to really support the OS.

        Also, I agree that we should be able to install “stock Android” without voiding the warranty. That just seems wrong. . . just as wrong as many of Apple’s policies with iOS.

        Google requires all partners of the OHA to follow certain guidelines of comparability, yet they have nothing in those guidelines to ensure that they can maintain updates for devices or that users can have a “stock Android” option. They could add such rules if they desire. I’m sure there are politics to all of it.

        I guess my mind thinks like this;
        Why doesn’t Google work with it’s OHA partners to have Android optimized for each device they want to put out–a stock Android for each device that is well optimized with the help of the hardware manufacturer. Then Google will have that “optimized” version on hand and available to users that want to use it. Allow an easy path to switch to “stock Android” via a site (or the market) without voiding your warranty. Then have the companies add their layer of differentiation on top of that optimized stock Android version and lock down the phone so that those added apps, widgets, etc. can’t be uninstalled unless you go the “stock Android” route noted above. We know that 99% of users will never root their device and flash the ROM.

        Doing it this way would allow Google to support the OS directly, give updates asap–we won’t have the type of malware/virus issue we had recently, while still allowing companies to differentiate and add their own user experience to the devices and yet allow users to go “Stock Android” if they choose–some of us think the hardware alone is enough differentiation and would buy it because of that alone.

        I don’t know. . . haven’t followed Android close enough to see if anyone has been asking Google about this type of setup and why they are going the non-support route instead and dumping it on the OEMs. Though for me at this point in time, if Android continues down this same path and Google doesn’t offer a wider range of Google experience form factors I think WebOS will be mighty tempting and hard to stay away from. Please realize non of this is coming from a “I hate Android” place. . . it’s just the opposite. I like it so much that I want to see all it’s possibilities and options available for users so it won’t be hindered by politics, bugs, slow updates, no upgrades, etc.

      • MG

        I completely agree with you on all points. We should set up a petition for this and get Google’s attention. I think that unfortunately Google has put almost all of the control over the platform onto the handset’s ability to have access to the Android market. When the Amazon Android Market comes out, what will happen then? From a developer standpoint I would like to see more compatibility, and security. It would be nice if I could develop an app and have it work seamlessly across all android devices. It can be infuriating at times.

      • Lock it up

        I’m thinking about putting up a one page web site dedicated solely to this topic. Maybe it will need to be a few pages. Just something outlining these topics where people that actually like Android can comment about it and give ideas for possible solutions, especially from devs–not a place for Android bashers to take cheap shots.

        I definitely agree with your other points. And what will happen to Android if another market becomes just as good?

        I’m very curious to hear what someone from Google’s Android team has to say about these things and why they are choosing the route they are on currently.

        Also, Erik makes a good point about modular updates to Linux. I personally don’t know enough about the programing to say anything. My comments are coming purely from an end user’s perspective who would love to see the open nature of Android trickle down to all end users through all devices and companies involved with it, not just the Google experience devices.

      • AnonGuy

        Google doesn’t care. I have a Vibrant, and we got our buggy semi-decently performing FroYo update, but this phone is done for updates and upgrades. It isn’t even a year old. I’m done with Samsung, and I’m done with Android. Already got a WP7 device months ago because two Android phones were enough. It’s not good enough to justify wasting money on phones and being put in a situation where I have to pay $500+ just to get a supported firmware update i.e. new phone.

        The Android OEMs operating on razor thin margins and forcing users to buy new phones is in their best interest. Releasing buggy-as-all-hell devices and making people buy new phones is in their best interest. Carriers holding back updates for 3-6 months until the user just says F it and gets a new phone is in their best interest.

        I’ll only get WP7, iOS, and WebOS phones from now on. Tired of being burned by this shit platform.

      • Lock it up

        I think your sentiments might become more the norm if this path is allowed to continue.

        I think the only thing I would disagree with in your statement is, “The Android OEMs operating on razor thin margins. . .” I’m not so sure they are. It seems like they are pricing these things pretty high even compared to Nokia and Apple and those two have the highest profit margins of smartphones.

        At least on the PC side when you get a new OS or new PC you know the OS will be supported for a number of years. Right now with Android we have no idea how long any device/OS will be supported and that does suck, and that will be more prevalent as we start getting these quad-core chips that are as powerful as laptops–really no reason to upgrade for years at that point.

        I really think this is a major mistake for Google & Android and it leaves a big hole for MS to step in with an OS that ties together smartphones, tablets, and desktops.

        The down side of iOS, WebOS, and BB are that they aren’t being licensed out to other companies and that will always keep them to a somewhat limited market share imo. . . but we will see.

      • Red5hark

        Youll get bored with WebOS updates just as quickly, im ditching a Pre+ for a GSII cos im tired of HP dithering so much they have killed the platform for its core users…its only die hards (that I was) that are holding there bowls out for more, but the ‘more’ will not come until xmas and by then it may well be too late.

        I love WebOS but it is currently stagnant, no other phones bar the Pre’s use it, the Apps just arnt there (5000 wtf, most sound bytes and books) and the hardware/software stock installation is way behind the functionality of everything else.

        its a shame really…so much potential, so little enthusiasm from the backers ie HP

      • MG

        I completely agree with you on all points. We should set up a petition for this and get Google’s attention. I think that unfortunately Google has put almost all of the control over the platform onto the handset’s ability to have access to the Android market. When the Amazon Android Market comes out, what will happen then? From a developer standpoint I would like to see more compatibility, and security. It would be nice if I could develop an app and have it work seamlessly across all android devices. It can be infuriating at times.

      • http://brakkee.org Erik

        They must

      • http://brakkee.org Erik

        They must have really broken something then because as I understand it, the OS is linux and linux perfectly allows for updates to individual packages. Certainly the base OS and android libraries could be updated independent of the UI. Are they not using one of the standard linux package management solutions such as RPM?

      • Anonymous

        The problem is that it is not just the UI anymore. A lot of people have been asking google for Cisco VPN so that they could use android at work. They can’t put that proprietary stuff in the open source OS they give out so it has to be done by the OEM’s.

      • Lock it up

        Thanks for the input.

        Yeah, I figured that the OEMs needs to lock it up to a point. That’s why I’m thinking that there ought to be an “optimized stock Android” for each (at least major) device from an OHA partner. And it makes sense with what you are saying that it would be impossible for Google to update Android modularly, correct?

        Maybe something in the market for your account that has an option, “convert your device to Stock Open Source Android.” With an explanation that this would convert the device to the open source Android and you would loose all the “extras” that come with the proprietary software from the OEM but then it would be on Google’s update path and not the OEM’s.

        So, each device would have two OS options;
        1. Stock Open Source Android – supported by Google and updated by Google
        2. OEM Android with all their “extras” – supported by OEM and updated by OEM

        Does that sound feasible to you?

        Thanks

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

        No developer community? Did you see the Galaxy S community on XDA? Its big! So stop talking bullshit.

        The funny part is, that you are saying there is no developer community support for the Samsung, but you do go an LG which doesnt even have a community.

        You are just making up stuff so you dont have to buy this phone.

      • Anonymous

        Just because it’s stock android doesn’t mean the oem will bother to upgrade the phone

      • Lock it up

        And that sucks because there are some very nice form factors.

        So, the conclusion is. . . if not a Google “product” then it really isn’t Android. It’s just a proprietary OS that can run Android apps (maybe lol). Which makes WebOS look really good. . . but again, limited form factors :( and apps lol.

        I guess my main point is. . . why can’t Google find a way to update the OS while allowing these companies to add their own bits? At the very least for patches and updates.

      • Yollo

        idiot….

      • Samdroid

        I heard that rooting dont void your warranty. But if you dont believe that and you brick your phone from rooting, use Odin to put it back to stock. If you cant get to d’load mode, use the usb hack. If that dont work, use your warranty because they cant tell that its rooted if its dead. I have a wierd feeling that you might be a closet iFag

  • Lock it up

    oh lord. . . the things these companies come up with. . . .

    And people are throwing a fit over Google not releasing Honeycomb asap. . . I’m OK with them locking it down a lot more than it currently is.

  • Anonymous

    You left out the most important feature: resizable widgets.

    • http://androidcommunity.com/ Chris Burns

      thats more well known, these are sort of “secrets” that aren’t well known quite yet. or they weren’t before we posted this thing right here.

    • http://androidcommunity.com/ Chris Burns

      thats more well known, these are sort of “secrets” that aren’t well known quite yet. or they weren’t before we posted this thing right here.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cjackxiii Oscar Martinez

    So instead of just moving your thumb your moving your whole arm? Thats innovation. Tiles look nice tho.

    • http://androidcommunity.com/ Chris Burns

      its a means to an end

  • http://www.samsunggalaxys2.nl/ Galaxy S2

    This video only asks for more… :P

  • paranoiddude

    What’s really going on is Samsung is harvesting thumbprints while getting enough angles for a 3D photo composition of users. World’s biggest identity theft scam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1368475013 Nasoh Sary

    tremendous! :{)

  • Loveichu

    does anyone know when the SGS2 is coming out in US??

    • Highdfdinardo

      probably end of may or beginning of june.

    • Haag

      Samsung officially stated that there will be no release until June

  • munk

    Samsung is delaying this too long that im staring to change my mind on buying this !!=|

  • http://koowie.com Koowie

    Very nice innovation. Pretty cool!

  • http://koowie.com Koowie

    Very nice innovation. Pretty cool!

  • Bstreet Mike

    This is going to be my first Android Phone . I’m trying to learn everything about this amazing phone.

    Moar.

  • Xcode

    what about the samsung infuse?

  • Xcode

    what about the samsung infuse?

  • droid79

    was really looking forward for the samsung galaxy s2, but im not waiting another 3 months for my upgrade or longer. im tired of the delays in phones recently. GS2 came out other parts of the world and not in the US till 3rd quarter, what a joke. ill be lookin for another phone for my upgrade.

  • http://www.biz-development.com laurusnobilis

    Galaxy S 2 looks fantastic. Although the predecessor was great too, the new one brings a lot of improvements. Samsung continues to maintain a very high standards and to fulfill the expectations.

  • http://twitter.com/sunnyskyevryday Skyler Hinckley

    Samsung continues to up the bar with the release of this product.. the predecessor was a great piece but lacked the speed and dynamic features to elevate it’s self to the level of the top notch HTC, Apple, RIM phones. I really enjoyed the Simple User interface and the overall feel of the phone. I wrote a small article about why I feel the Galaxy S2 will be such a major player in the cutthroat world that is wireless retail. http://www.productservicereview.com Let me know what you think and any questions just let me know. The only part I do not like about the ridiculous time table that Samsung has stated for USA release…

  • Anonymous

    Samsung Galaxy S2 comes with some really cool applications. found this blog-

     http://bestcontactmobilephone.blogspot.com/2011/05/samsung-galaxy-s2-some-useful-apps.html

  • Alanajack86

    Samsung Galaxy S2 is also coming with Great apps …………. Have a look http://www.facebook.com/notes/best-contract-mobile-phone/samsung-galaxy-s2-coming-with-great-apps/118288648257356

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arther-Casillas/100002439817275 Arther Casillas

    i agree, verizons boot loader and bloatware are gonna force me to jump on the iphone bandwagon. i will keep my droid global with all its  flaws until i see a pure  android experience or jump to a you carrier that does when my contract expires rooted fission and spd 3d shell. evertime i see a verizon phone its loaded with crap that puts a drag on the whole android experience. what set android apart from apple was open source and the og droid put them on the map years later verizon will do full circle why not they allready have the iphone and will kill the android limiting consumer options nd maximizeing profits. thats the name of the game. 

  • Pomerane

    @facebook-100002439817275:disqus as long as I can find ways around the bloatware ie rooting or loading a custom rom or at the very least hide them in the deep dark corners never to be used. I think iPhone will need a refresh including LTE support among other inevitable features but that is just my humble opinion. LTE won’t be fully rolled out for another couple years so I can see how anyone (including myself) would take that route (and I have considered it) The pressures telecoms such as verizon put on consumers is unfortunate but as you say it is the name of the game.the allowance to keep the unlimited data rather than forced into the tiered plans they are rolling and of course now the LTE being in my area are probably the only things holding me back from ditching the service entirely and seek wifi only means of communications which I have also contemplated off and on.

  • http://twitter.com/pdconner pdconner

    07/09/2011
    at 00:07

    I also bought the Samsung Galaxy S2 (unlocked) to replace my iphone 4.. Well
    sorta.. I had replaced the iphone 4 with a Samsung Infuse from ATT and it was
    600.00 total since I paid full price (Saving my upgrade for posible iphone 5)
    and I had issues with the Infuse just crapping out and so I took it back and
    paid 200 more to a vendor to get the Samsung Galaxy S2… The first one didnt work
    right sent it b ack (800.00) and got another one for the same price and it
    worked great and looks OMG Great but the speeds in my town (area of
    Indianapolis) suck.. they are all over the place and sometimes I dont even get
    signal like I did with the iPhone 4.. I called and they are willing to take it
    back also but I dont understand why the speeds suck.. I go to the ATT store and
    test an Infuse (in Anderons Indiana) and the speeds are about 5meg down and 1
    meg up.. I test my phone in the same location and they are about 2 meg down and
    1 up.. I walk out of the store or drive down the road and they are sometimes 1
    down and 1 up or 3 down and 1 up but always below 2. I am sick of this.. I am
    about to send it back and just go back to the iPhone 4 and I hate that thought..
    I wanted a BIG screen.. I would go with the infuse but I live Gingerbread and
    the touch wiz 4.. What should I do .. please let me know what you think please..
    Email me or reply here..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christian-Bongiorno/100000845545061 Christian Bongiorno

    Apple eat your heart out!

  • http://www.saholic.com/ Tarita k
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jesus-Lopez/100002210504205 Jesus Lopez

    The Samsung Galaxy S2 is going to be a great seller, I love
    that it comes with Android version 2.3 right out of the box, and has a dual
    core processor. The Samsung Galaxy S2 will go great with my employee Sling
    adapter that I recently got from DISH Network. With the Sling adapter, I can
    stream live and recorded TV to my Android device everywhere I have 3G coverage
    or WiFi. DISH is actually offering Sling adapters for free, if anyone is
    interested, there is info at http://bit.ly/iKbJ4Q.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hasan-Bebek/1127801873 Hasan Bebek

    Great…

  • Vrinda K

    ‎22nd Oct – Android’s 3rd B’day, Let’s wish!http://india-mobilewatch.blogspot.com/2011/10/happy-bday-android-phone.html

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stan-Faustino/100000114952790 Stan Faustino

    Found this custom rom from my SGS2, best rom ive used so far http://hd2windroid.blogspot.com/2011/11/romxxki49nov11hyperdroid-androidmeda.html

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  • mary greenwell

     

    Really Samsung Galaxy S 2 I9100 Noble Black gives a trendy
    look and it is very smooth and handy set to use , It has various features like 4.27-inch
    Touch screen, Android V2.3 OS, 8 Megapixel of primary camera and 2 megapixel of
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    is also reasonable(Rs. 29490),It is a good smratphone and become very popular
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  • lorraine

    hi all can anybody help me, ive got the samsung note, & i like to browse certain forums, which have webcams with them, ive tried about 3 browsers, & everything seems ok :ie signing in, but when it comes to putting remarks i find i can’t, i just get an orange line around the box, is there good browsers out there for android, & do i need one with flash with viewing webcams ? any help will be much appreciated. lori