Google announces Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Google announced Jelly Bean, also known as Android 4.1, on Wednesday. The shiny new operating system brings new features such as a speedier interface, a new Camera app, offline voice typing, significantly improved notifications, a Siri-like voice search, Google Now and more. Here are the features we’ve enjoyed using the most so far.
One of the big focuses of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is to make the user interface both fast and smooth. There is supposedly going to be a much higher frame rate with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and triple buffering will make the whole experience a much smoother one. Google is calling these improvements Project Butter because of how smooth the experience is.
Android 4.1 includes auto-resizing of widgets, a predictive keyboard that will allow for easier typing, and it will also feature offline Voice Typing which is a pretty big feature for those that use their Voice to type on their phone or tablet.
Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean includes a lot of new features and Google started off by talking about something called, Project Butter. Apparently, this is what helped Google make the latest version of Android super smooth and feel much responsive than ever before. Google mentioned that they have optimized the system wide frame rate to 60 frames per second and also included VSync which enables triple buffering providing a much consistent frame rendering and touch responsiveness.
There is good news for all the widget enthusiasts as Android 4.1 Jelly Bean supports automatic resizing and icon arrangement in respect to when moving a widget to a different panel or resizing a widget. Deleting widgets and shortcuts from home screens is as simple as holding and flicking them to the top. Further Android 4.1 will feature an improved typing experience using a new predictive algorithm, similar to that on SwiftKey for Android.
Voice typing has been dramatically improved as it now allows users to make use of the tool without the need of a data connection. Google mentioned that they have drastically reduced its size and now comes included in the operating system. The new keyboard also supports a total of 18 other languages including Hindi, Hebrew and Arabic.
There are further improvements in the Accessibility tool as Android now completely supports Braille input making it more useful for the blind.
Another improvement makes the camera app much faster while reviewing photographs. It also allows users to easily delete images simply by swiping them away towards the top. Android Beam supports the ability to share videos and photos using NFC at a higher speed and the device can also connect to various NFC enabled accessories almost instantly.
One of the major new changes is mighty visible in notifications and Google has now made it even easier to complete various tasks directly from the notifications dropdown. The notification on the top automatically expands to give the user further options or a user can manually expand a notification by a two finger down swipe. An expanded notification displays further options allowing users to do a lot more from the notifications panel, e.g. a missed call notification will expand and give users two options – call back or send message and you select the one you want. This apparently was also shown in action with third-party applications like Foursquare and TuneIn Radio, many will soon follow.
Apart from the new notifications the most important update includes Google search which brings a new sophisticated search experience to Android. The new search will also use Google’s Knowledge Graph and provide card based search results and the normal Google search results can be accessed simply by swiping the card to the left. The new Voice search update now understands normal speech just like Apple’s Siri and Google has promised further improvements to this in the future. The power of the best search engine, Google’s Knowledge Graph and speech recognition is a great combination and we eagerly waiting to see where heads in the future and also what Apple has planned on its new device.
That is now all as using all the powerful tools from Google, the company has further launched an amazing new assistant or a robust task manager which also learns from your choices and search queries. This new tool is called Google Now which is yet another key feature of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Google Now uses your search history, location and calendar to give you relevant information – be it about making it to meeting on time, just some new restaurants you might like in your current vicinity, updates about your favorite sports team and its on-going match or the latest status of your flight ticket you booked yesterday. All this happens without you reminding the device to do so and it is really awesome to watch it in action. For your convenience we have added a brief video below taking you through all the new features introduced in Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update.
The Jelly Bean update will first come to the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Motorola Xoom sometime in mid July as an over-the-air update. The Google Nexus 7 is a new tablet device which Google announced at Google I/O and it will be the first device to ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.