Today, Google announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at their annual I/O developers conference. While Jelly Bean isn’t the huge upgrade to the OS that we experienced with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, it’s still a significant update with several key elements. Android 4.1 will be available on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Nexus S and Motorola Xoom as an OTA update and will come preloaded on the Nexus 7 Tablet in mid-July. Let’s take a closer look at all the features announced at the event.
Google is pushing “Project Butter” starting with Jelly Bean. This is an effort to make Android faster and more fluid with improved performance – essentially, a lag free experience with buttery graphics, better response time and silky transitions. Jelly Bean boosts your device’s CPU when touching the screen and turns it down when it’s not being touched in order to conserve battery life. You can see the difference is speed and fluidity in the video above which compares Jelly Bean to Ice Cream Sandwich.
The notifications shade now offers more robust features. If you missed a call, you can call them back instantly. If you happen to be late for a meeting, you can quickly email everyone to let them know with canned responses. Notifications are also expandable and collapsible, which allows you to dive deeper into updates you care about most, like emails or photos displayed from Google+.
Google Now delivers the right information at just the right time. It automatically delivers personalized and relevant information throughout the day through Cards, like today’s forecast in the morning, how much traffic to expect before you get to work, your favorite team’s score during a game, or when the next train will arrive at the platform you’re standing on. These cards can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, and each one can be swiped away as well. Google Now is getting started with 10 different cards: traffic, public transit, next appointment, flights, sports, weather, translation, currency, and places. Check out the video below to learn more.
In Jelly Bean, widgets on your homescreen are more practical. As you personalize your device by placing widgets on the screen, everything around it automatically moves to make room. Also, if a widget is too large to fit next to other shortcuts, it will automatically re-size to better accommodate the screen real estate.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean expands the usability of the camera. Viewing and managing photos just got easier with the integration of the photo gallery with the camera application. Just swipe over from camera to filmstrip view to instantly view the photos you just took. You can just as easily swipe away the images you want to discard and undo any changes in case you made a mistake.
According to Google, Android’s dictionaries are now more accurate and relevant on Jelly Bean. The language model adapts over time and the keyboard can guess what the next word will be before you even started typing it. Voice typing can also be used offline, without a data connection now! This will keep the experience smooth as well as lag-free since you don’t have to worry about connectivity issues.
Android Beam on Jelly Bean now allows you to easily share photos and videos with a simple tap of two NFC-enabled Android devices back-to-back. This is in addition to sharing contacts, web pages, YouTube videos, directions, and apps. You can also instantly pair your phone/tablet to Bluetooth-enabled devices (headsets, speakers).
The Google Search widget has been redesigned with a new look, faster performance and more natural Voice capabilities. Search results will be listed in a richer, more detailed manner, allowing users to get answers and browse search results quicker. Google has also added a Siri or S-Voice-like companion, powered by Knowledge Graph, that speaks back when you ask a question.
Google has finally put all rumors to rest by announcing the Nexus 7 Tablet from Asus. It’s powered by the all new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system, Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and comes at an affordable price-point at just $200-250, depending on choice of storage. Learn more about it here.