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Samsung confirms Galaxy S2 Android 4.1 Jelly Bean upgrade

Samsung's native Korean division has formally announced that the last-generation Galaxy S2 Android smartphone is to receive a long-awaited upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - despite the impending launch of the Galaxy S4.

Designed as a replacement to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean offers a raft of improvements over its predecessor including a new software engine which provides a smoother and more responsive user interface, an updated notification system giving quick access to tasks such as emailing from a calendar notification or redialling a missed call, and a greatly improved predictive text engine. Additional new features in Jelly Bean, which first launched with Google's Nexus 4 handset, include the Siri-like Google Now voice-activated assistant system.

The update, Samsung's Korean arm has explained, will launch as a free over-the-air upgrade for all Galaxy S2 owners and bring with it all the new features of Android 4.1 along with a few Samsung-specific tweaks first introduced in the Galaxy S3 handset. These include Smart Stay, a system which uses the front-facing camera to keep the display active when you're looking at it, and the ability to play video while still browsing, texting or emailing.

Even this update is slightly behind the times, however, as the Google Nexus 4 has been upgraded to Android 4.2, which includes even more tweaks and enhancements along with features including a 360-degree panoramic photo mode.

Samsung has yet to provide a formal timescale for an international roll-out of the new operating system for the Galaxy S2.

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