Well that was quick. Just a couple of days after it emerged that Samsung had shipped many international Galaxy Note 2 devices without the much-touted "multi-window" ability, a new software update is going out that enables the feature. Multi-window allows Note 2 owners to long-press the back button and bring up a menu allowing them to split their screen between two fully-fledged Android applications. Essentially, it's full multitasking on a mobile device with two apps in view and usable at the same time, which is pretty awesome.

Right now, not all Android apps are supported, but the multi-window feature isn't just limited to Samsung apps like it is on the Note 10.1. Multi-window on the Note 2 supports a wide range of Google apps, including Gmail, YouTube, Chrome and Talk. Third-party offerings like the official Twitter app are supported too, though many others are not.

Today's update to version XXALIJ1 also comes with a new baseband version and Google Chrome.

If you've picked up a Galaxy Note 2 in the past week, you should see an update notification waiting for you this morning. If not, head to Settings > About device > Software update to get started. In the meantime, be sure to check out our quick hands-on demo video above.

More: Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

 
There are 40 comments

hermond says:

Nice to know that Samsung is reacting so fast lately.
Now, Alex, are you going to update your review? You mention this as a problem in 2 or 3 places there, even in the big negative CONS comparison.
Cheers.

naudan says:

This better be coming to the note 10.1 soon!!!! Samung ftw.

DaGODFather says:

Samsung, you're impressing me everyday! Well done!

AndroidUK says:

If you have rooted your Note II. you cannot update via OTA. Such owners will need to get the new ROM from somewhere like Sammobile or XDA and update manually using Odin.

krytek13 says:

Who's your source for this news? You didn't credit anybody. You should credit SamMobile, who broke this news because you got it from them only. No?

Alex Dobie says:

We don't need to credit anyone if we get an update notification on our phone and then decide to write a story about it :)

No doubt others will be seeing the same notification and writing their own stories later today.

krytek13 says:

Ah okay... normally you guys use an image showing the software update screen from the phone (with Lloyd in background somewhere) and all that, which wasn't here, so thought you took it from SamMobile.

Guess I need a cup of coffee!

Asterisk says:

Isn't is just a DOUBLE screen and not really a multi?..

mssca says:

Just curious, is this will be available for GS III in the future?

Shadowriver says:

I think the screen is too small to show apps like that in usable state

Suntan says:

Ballox. They are the same resolution. Hold the GSIII a couple inches closer to your face... bada-bing, same size screen.

-Suntan

Shadowriver says:

It's not about resolution, but touch surface. Not to mention apps made beyound 2.1 are screen density dependent and will look the same no same size of screen no matter what resolution.

prlundberg says:

Each screen would still be larger than my old Blackberry screen, and that was certainly usable.

Nazty111 says:

^^^ This! I'm not usually jealous of other phones, but this needs to be on the s3. iIalways felt it was lacking something in the multitasking department. this feature helps a lot! iIdon't see why it wouldn't be on the s3.It's big and powerful enough.

Shadowriver says:

Imo this is best idea Samsung ever had with Android (thru it might be "inspiration" from Win8), but i would like to see this as officalAndroid feature (except that ugly way to make background video :p), without that this will stay exclusive to samsung apps

jam4775 says:

They might have took it from Windows 8 but at least they give you the option to adjust the screens to almost any ratio between the two. Windows 8 gives you two choices.

mike340t says:

Man I can totally use this as I pay all my bills using my banking app and email app, using the home button to switch between the two repeatedly until all bills are paid.. Having both on the same screen would be awesome.

jam4775 says:

I was thinking the same thing when I saw this... I use EasyMoney to balance my account and it sucks to switch back and forth the browser and EasyMoney to balance everything.

slopokdave says:

Love EasyMoney!!!

randall2580 says:

I know the original GNote is going to be updated with some of the features of the GNote 2 - any chance we orignally users get this? I would love it if we could I don't get an update until next year and will be jonesing for this.

OceanView says:

This phone is so badass, Samsung is innovating with every new phone they bring to the market while Apple brings out 3D maps that does not even work accurately. LOL
Samsung FTW!

rap1 says:

That is so awesome. I didn't realize the Note II would do it with other apps than the Sammy ones. This would be really awesome on a tablet where you could put the tablet in landscape and essentially run two phone size apps in portrait side by side.

k1ing says:

You can actually do that on the Note 10.1. It's really awesome and practical.

prlundberg says:

Hey look, the first successful Windows Phone!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Magnus#AC says:

This is simply awesome. What's not awesome is that we don't yet have this phone on Tmobile USA

AnnDroid says:

Samsung is making me a believer. I swore I would never get another Samsung phone after the Captivate (ATT Galaxy S). That phone's GPS didn't work for me, so I returned it within the first 30 days. 9 months later they fixed it. Could you imagine using a phone that's navigation didn't work?

vinny jr says:

Innovation++, Samsung is the innovation leader without a doubt. That is bad ass software. The Note 2 is without any doubt the most intriguing device made today. This is a phone for anyone, I am going to use this as my every day phone and I own the SGS3, SG2 and the Rezound. This new Note has a great feel in your hand, must try it out before you make your decision.
Great Job Alex, you always do a great job.

WhoMe says:

I just upgraded to a S3 in July and before that I had a Rezound that I had upgraded to in March......I cant keep doing this. That being said this video has got the cogs in my brain turning; 3 upgrades in one year. Maaaaybe.GAH NO...well maybe.

rd_nest says:

One should check the battery test from GSMarena.

http://blog.gsmarena.com/samsung-galaxy-note-ii-battery-life-test-is-com...

This is like 50% more compared to GS3 (JB update) result.

serpa4 says:

Sweet, 5HD movies worth of battery life, just like the new HTC DNA...wait, it's only 11gb phone and no mSD. Wait, that is 2-3 HD movies, na...it only has a 2020 battery.

serpa4 says:

Sweet, 5HD movies worth of battery life, just like the new HTC DNA...wait, it's only 11gb phone and no mSD. Wait, that is 2-3 HD movies, na...it only has a 2020 battery.

Talk about a game changing device this is nothing short of groundbreaking. If this was ONLY on one carrier here in the states this would be the device people would be switching for. Thank god nobody will have to do that. I have always said Samsung is KING of Software and all the related features that appear on the market. Nobody beats any of Samsung's software enhancements this simply pisses all over any stock Android experience 100%.The features in the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 are the perfect example as to why not only you buy Samsung but you stick to skinned android devices not stock. I love my Galaxy S3 it's boss but the Galaxy Note 2 will be a day one purchase for me without question. No device arriving to market in the next 180 days will be better than the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 mark that down fellas.

squiddy20 says:

"I have always said Samsung is KING of Software" No you haven't. Just a year ago you were running around screaming your head off about "Samsuck" and their crappy plastic "kids toys", while going on and on about how HTC was "king". Here's a link to an article you didn't even write (despite your name being cited as the author) proving my point: http://androidandme.com/2011/07/reviews/richard-yarrell-reviews-the-evo-3d/
In fact, here's a direct quote from one of your comments: "It’s no question that htc is tops and always will be". What a two faced liar.

OceanView says:

That's funny.
But at the same time, everyone can change their mind and with Samsung coming out with such great tech, can you blame him for changing his mind?
Hope he has the balls to say that he was wrong.

adinofaries says:

Lol

Noted. You are so totally and absolutely 100% correct. I have been using GN2 for about 3 days and it has been hands down the best Android experience I have ever had. And I have used some custom roms in the past that have simply amazed me (shout out to BigFau over at XDA for AEON infuse rom : )... Surely had this phone only been available on one carrier, that carrier would have gotten a gazillion "defectors".... Once you spend 5 minutes with this phone, (provided you have a drop of Android-savvy) it is impossible not to be amazed It's like Samsung crack. ...one hit & your hooked..lol

ArtVandelay says:

So will this take place of the standard ICS/JB multitasking where the windows are all scrollable vertically?

aussiebum says:

Hey guys I'm in Hong Kong and I got the N7100 a few days ago. I just received an OTA update to XXALIH which other blogs are saying includes multi window but it doesn't seem to work for me. Any suggestions? Cheers!

ahlofan says:

Hey I'm having the same problem too. I got mine from smartone, u figure yet?

Ed Penney says:

I wonder if there’s a way to determine what carrier provides the most timely and consistent updates? AT&T seems to do a lot of updates, which keeps them relevant while building its 4GLTE network. I've got it here in New York and it helps my graphics design work tremendously when it comes to sending large files.