Google officially announced the Android mobile operating system version 4.1, which is named Jelly Bean, at the conference Google I / O 2012 in San Francisco, United States, Wednesday (06/27/2012). Jelly Bean was announced two weeks after Apple announced its mobile operating system IOS version 6.
Jelly Bean has many updates from the previous Android, version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. In a brief demonstration, Google showcased some of the features in the Jelly Bean. The following new features:
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is going to be quick and saves battery
As Dave Burke, Engineering Director puts it, Android Jellybean is going to be "buttery smooth". Android 4.1 has been updated to be "fast, fluid and smooth", using Project Butter.
We could get into technical details of Triple Buffering (GPU/CPU and Display in sync), improved frame rates (60fps across the devices) and touch anticipation, but in essence: this translates into a faster, smoother user experience.
Using Touch Input Boost, Android 4.1 boosts the CPU so that loading times are faster, and therefore uses less battery power.
Updates to Google Play also mean that now app updates are smarter. Rather than downloading and installing the whole installation file, apps only install changed elements, making them on average 66% smaller.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean looks and plays nice
As the heart of the Android experience, it would be unfair if the homescreen had been ignored. Thankfully, it hasn't. Moving widgets between different homescreens is now more intuitive, with apps and widgets moving out of the way to accommodate. Apps also move around when resizing widgets.
As with every Android iteration, there comes another keyboard. Android 4.1 brings over a new adaptive keyboard that learns your typing and can predict the next word before you've typed it.
Jellybean also brings a new Arabic font, and 18 new languages including Persian, Hindi and Thai. Support for blind users is also improved, with gesture support, and Bluetooth supported for external Braille devices
Previously being the preserve of those with fast data connections, Google have shrunk the data for the Voice package so it fits on your individual Android devices too. It currently only supports US English, but local packages are in the works.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean camera
Another update in the new iteration of Android is to the camera app. Whilst Android 4.0 brought fast image capturing, 4.1 takes this further.
Image capture is smoother, but it is in the photo review where the major changes lie. Pinching brings a photo strip of all taken photos, with the swipe to delete making it easier to quickly remove unwanted images.
Don't worry though, there is an undo button making its way to the interface as well, so even if you accidentally scrub out that picture of a cat you once saw, it's not gone for good.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean loves NFC
Android Beam now comes with the ability to send photos and videos to other NFC enabled devices, and allows instant pairing with NFC enabled Bluetooth devices.
Google is obvioulsy impressed with this functionality, although we're not sure how that handling of videos and photos is going to be handled - we saw hide nor hair of Wi-Fi Direct compatibility on the Google Nexus 7, so it seems media will be sent via Bluetooth.
This means much slower download speeds - odd given the Samsung Galaxy S3 can manage the same NFC trick but do it all at a miuch higher transfer rate.
Jellybean Notifications are far more interactive
Notifications now provide more information, as well as becoming actionable. This means that a missed call notification allows you to immediately call back, calendar apps allow you to email everyone going or you can like/+1 other notifications right from your notification bar.
They also become expandable, with the top notification automatically being larger and showing more information, or by swiping down the screen with two fingers to enlarge something specific.
Google's recently launched Knowledge Graph feature on standard Google search has become mobile. A new clean simple UI provides "cards" of information showing you quick info, such as weather forecasts. Swiping away the cards brings up a full web search.
Using the improved voice typing feature (part of the new Google Now line-up in the browser), voice searching is quicker and more intuitive. Asking who the Prime minister of Japan is brings up a card, and speaks to you telling you its Yoshihiko Noda. Alternatively you can ask it to show pictures, starting an image search.
Jellybean knows you
It sounds scary, but Jellybean learns about you using Google Now. Using your search and location history, as well as appointments in your calendar, your device becomes more interactive.
With a swipe up from the bottom of the screen, Google Now will keep you updated on your favourite sports teams, provide weather and travel details, such as traffic data or when the next bus is. It can even tell you when to leave to get to your appointment on time.
Android iterations traditionally come with a new device, and Jellybean heralds the Asus Nexus 7, a 7 inch tablet with 1280x800 resolution screen, front facing camera, NFC, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, as well as providing 9 hours of video or 300 hours of standby time.
It is also the first device to launch with Chrome as the standard browser.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean release date
OTA updates are scheduled to be pushed out mid-July, however this is initially to Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S devices.
The good news for everyone else? Google has announced the Android Platform Development Kit, which means manufacturers and chipset vendors will be working with the search giant up to three months before each release of Android in the future - so waiting for each new iteration could be a thing of the past.