It is Android update time once again. Google has unveiled the latest Android 4.1, Jelly Bean OS, and it does not sound like that big release, however this latest OS is actually one of the more exciting updates you have seen. The Android Ice Cream Sandwich has been released last October, and has only made its way onto ten per cent of devices, the majority of Android devices still runs on Gingerbread, and the rest on Froyo. The rollout of Ice Cream Sandwich by manufacturers has been abnormally slow, many devices have been promised an update sometime end of 2011, however they are still stuck with a version behind. If you really insist on having the latest OS at the earliest possible time then you need to invest in a Nexus device. These Google-sanctioned devices offer Android in its purest form, and the range has now been extended to tablets with the Google Nexus 7. Coming at a remarkably low price it looks like being the first Android tablet with real mass appeal.
Android 4.1 contains a number of brand new features that will improve the Android experience immeasurably, and will in time prove fundamental. With a greater emphasis on automation and intelligence, and a whole new strategy to kickstart the tablet market, Jelly Bean is one fantastic operating system.
Project Butter was the codename for Google’s effort to rid Android of any lag once and for all. With some clever optimization on how the hardware is used, the entire UI runs at a fixed 60 frames per second on fast enough phones-to make it buttery smooth and will have a major impact on the perceived speed of the device. The next welcome feature is support for smart app updates, meaning that when a app is updated you will only need to download the new bits rather than the entire apps from scratch, bringing real value to the automatic update feature at last.
Google has added the offline speech recognition to Android Jelly Bean, making the voice dictation system work even when your device lacks a data connection. With speech recognition available in the keyboard, search app and elsewhere, this could become a powerful feature for the future of the OS, so users will now no longer have to make sure they have a speedy data connection in order to make use of it.
The UI for the search feature in Android Jelly Bean has been improved, your search results are listed in their own individual ‘cards’ that offers more info than a basic listing. You can swipe them away when they are no longer needed.
The keyboard has been significantly improved in Android Jelly Bean. A new predictive engine is in place to learn what you type and how you type it, to the extent that it will be able to guess your next word.
Android Jelly Bean includes a ‘gesture mode’ for blind users to navigate the UI. There are 18 new input languages including right-to-left languages and a new Arabic font.
Android Jelly Bean will automatically resize icons and widgets to make room for your new widget, making them fit well on your home screen.
Android Jelly Bean offers a new photo viewing. A new filmstrip view lets you review and delete the photos you have just snapped without leaving the app.
Android Jelly Bean has upgraded Android Beam and enable it to share a much larger amount of content, and has the ability to pair with NFC-compatible Bluetooth devices with nothing more than a tap.
Google Now is the most important innovation built in to Android Jelly Bean, this new service is a mobile personalized search application, making use of four parts of your device including location, location history, web history and calendars in order to learn how you behave, where you are and what you want. It features a more automated and intelligent approach for delivering information. Google Now will check your calendar and location and give you directions to your next meeting. This based on your daily commute, it learn where you live and work. It also shows you bus and train times when you are arriving at the station.
Android Jelly Bean has been completely modified the new notifications system. They are now expandable and actionable, meaning you can expand the notification to see what they are without having to open the app. You can return a missed call instantly with a single click from the panel, Google+ also displays here, and third-party apps can take advantages of this system too.
The Nexus Q has been launched alongside Android Jelly Bean but it can work with older versions of Android too. It is a streaming gadget that plugs into speakers or a TV and streams content from compatible cloud services. It is powered by Android 4.0.4 and controlled remotely by an Android smartphone. You phone connects to the Q, any content you have got installed on it cannot be streamed to the device, so you have to upload it first.
The update to Google Maps that offer 3D maps and Google Maps offline support. Tap the Menu button and choose Make available offline, then use the pinch and zoom control to choose a region and download it.
YouTube comes with a new front page that enable you to explore new videos or view your subscribed channels. It is available on Android 2.3 devices and above.
The Chrome browser is now out of beta and available on the Google Nexus 7, which is the first device to come with it installed in place of the stock Android browser. Unfortunately, Chrome does not support Flash, and Adobe will not be producing a version of Flash for Jelly Bean at all.
Google stores comes with an update including new versions of Play Books and Play Movies. An additional store has also been added for Magazines.
Android Jelly Bean is undoubtedly appealing and one of most exciting updates to Android OS. The 4.1 version comes with rich features. When will you see it on your phone? Delivering Android Jelly Bean to existing ICS users will be a lot easier than the move from Android Gingerbread was. If you own a Galaxy Nexus or a Nexus S, then you may have already received your over-the-air update.