Google, today at its annual I/O event, announced its latest version of Android. Dubbed Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the new Operating System brings a range of new features alongside faster and smoother performance over its predecessor (Ice Cream Sandwich). The new OS comes pre-loaded with Google’s Nexus 7 tablet.
So yeah, rumors were right and Jelly Bean does refer to Android 4.1 and not Android 5.0 as we would have expected. Well, before you get excited when this sweet Jelly Bean will hit your device, let’s take a quick run-down over its features and improvements.
1. Google Now
This feature leans heavily on Google searches. To be more specific, now Jelly Bean OS equipped phones will be able to actively help you based on your behavioral patterns. It will also be able to offer alternative routes and commuting information, commute duration, and it will even be able to calculate when to leave to get to your meetings in time alongside the updates on sports scores, flights, currency rates, etc.
2. Project Butter
Google now has finally fixed the problem for its lag related issues via Project Butter, which was notorious with Android since its lunch time. Bringing the faster performance, the Project Butter now will allow you to making the vsync of the screen at a constant 60 frames per second. It even goes as far as to anticipating where your finger is and start drawing from that point to make the UI appear even smoother.
3. Expanded Notifications
Notifications in the pull-down menu will now give out more information, and will be fully expandable, meaning you can do actions straight from the notifications menu. Got an incoming call? You can answer, ignore, or hang up right from the shade. New picture shared with you? In addition to a full-bleed view of the image you can comment or re-share right from the shade. Listening to music? Album art and music controls can be accessed, again, right from the shade.
4. Automatically Resizable App Widgets
App widgets can now automatically resize based on where the user drops them on the HomeScreen, now the icons will auto-rearrange around it.
5. Android Beam
Jelly Bean users now will be able to do more things with the Android Beam feature, including share images and videos between NFC devices by tapping them together. Furthermore, Jelly Bean devices will be able to connect via Bluetooth to third-party Braille devices.
6. Google Cloud Messaging for Android
Google Cloud Messaging service now will allow developers to get in touch with users via a short message data without having to rely on a proprietary solution.
Bringing a new UI and gestures, the Android Jelly Bean now lets pinch to zoom, left swipe for camera roll, pinch in to expand gallery. You can then quickly delete images by swiping them off the screen.
8. Voice Typing
Called Voice Typing, this new feature lets allow you to dictate whole paragraphs to your Jelly Bean phone and it will dutifully jot down what you say, even punctuation marks. Even better, Jelly Bean will place the tools needed to perform Voice Typing locally so you’ll be able to dictate offline and without a network connection. Jelly Bean now supports 18 extra languages including Hindi.
9. Voice Search
Google’s answer to Siri, called Voice Actions, the new feature looks to be much more robust. While Voice Actions will launch some apps and initiate texts, emails, and Web searches, Voice Search seems to be made to behave like a personal assistant, providing complete results in one central location.
10. Google Search
Giving a viable answer to Siri, the Google has doubled-down and this new feature is complete with natural voice input and spoken answers. Bringing relevant information right to the front, complete with pictures, source citations, and quite a bit more that will make searching fun, intuitive, relevant, and very helpful.
Jelly Bean Availability and Release Date
The new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will debut in mid-July with a developer SDK preview available right now on the Android Developers website. Some devices, including the Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom and Nexus S will get the upgrade automatically over the air (OTA). There’s also talk that Samsung will release another Galaxy S3 version equipped with Jelly Bean OS.
Google also announced a PDK for Android device makers. PDK stands for Platform Development Kit and it contains all the details needed by these companies to have Android devices running the latest Android version in stores as soon as possible. The Jelly Bean PDK has been available to certain OEMs for a few weeks now, and it will be available to everyone else starting today.