Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 To Feature An Android L Style Multitask Switcher

September 3, 2014 - Written By Nick Sutrich

Today is IFA 2014 in Berlin, and if you missed Samsung’s crazy presentation where they unveiled practically everything they are releasing for the rest of the year, then you missed out on a shed-load of things.  The biggest announcement of all was hyped up like crazy before the event, and of course being the first week of September we all knew it was going to be the next Galaxy Note phablet.  While Samsung announced not one but two new Galaxy Note phones, one of the big visual changes it showed off constantly were all the Android L-style menus, buttons and even the recents window throughout the presentation.

This led to some speculation that the Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge would launch with Android L, but alas it just looks like Samsung is prepping its user base to get used to a few new design elements found within Android L instead of packing the full-fledged OS in the phone out of the box.  Both phones run Android 4.4.4 KitKat, so here we’re looking at the recents window from Android L, which is a revolving carousel that spins vertically to reveal opened windows and apps instead of the current vertically-paginated view found on most Android devices out there.  While this is mostly just a visual change, the important functional change Google made with recents in Android L is that they opened up apps to display themselves more than once in the recents menu.  This allows apps, such as Chrome or another browser for instance, to display all open tabs in the recents window, effectively giving you seamless control over all open things on your phone.

As is usual with Samsung it’s not entirely the same layout as the one Google is using in Android L, and there’s a couple of reasons for that.  First off on the bottom of the screen you’ll see two buttons: task manager and clear all recents.  Task manager shows all open apps and services and basically gives you a dashboard-like overview of system resources used and lets a user quickly clear out the RAM if they’d like to.  While this feature is entirely unnecessary in Android these days, it gives some users comfort in thinking they have more control over their phones.  Close all recents is just a quick way to close all open apps so that things aren’t running in the background, a task not usually needed but sometimes handy.

Outside of that you’ll also find a little button in the top right of some app panes, denoting the new multi-window integration Samsung has added to make multi-window more accessible to users looking to use the feature.  It’s a handy way to pack this into the OS rather than having to remember to press and hold the back button, which never made sense anyway.  How quickly will Android L roll out to the Note 4 and Note Edge given these changes?  We’re assuming there won’t be much of a change there, but it does take away some of the new visual flare Android L uses, possibly tiding users over until Samsung can get the updates out for its newest devices.