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Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS: Finer Details

As we predicted here, Google announced their new upgrade to the popular tablet and smartphone operating system Android during the annual I/O developer event on Wednesday.  Although the announcement came just a few days ago, end users will have to wait for at least a couple of months before they can have the OS in their devices because hardware manufacturers will have to customize the operating system for their devices.

Jelly Bean or Android 4.1 is an incremental update to ICS and not 5.0 as many expected.  The update makes the Ice Cream Sandwich smoother, more fluid and faster.  The most notable changes are in the UI including improved notifications, onscreen keyboard, voice typing, native camera application and widgets.  More importantly though, it brings a whole lot host developer changes listed on the Android developer site .  The changes give application creators more control and flexibility.  Here are what to expect with the update:

Camera and Gallery

There are tremendous improvements to the Ice Cream Sandwich camera and gallery applications.  The new Jelly Bean version comes with a simple deletion UI, a film strip mode and an undo button.


The new notifications menu in the Jellybean upgrade completely changes how the user interacts with the phone.  Notifications are more than just pieces of information but interactive, expandable and collapsible links.  Notifications on the Jelly Bean support image contents and up to 3 preset functions such as sharing and +1.  The display priority can be configured by the user.

Google Now

The competitor to Apple’s Siri finally comes with this Android update.  Google Now uses the Card interface and voice to simplify the searching for information, check for traffic, public transport, update the user and remind the user about events and appointments.

Widget Control

The Google experience is completely different in Jelly Bean.  The application widgets are now automatically resizable depending on where the user places them on the home screen, the size of the widgets, the space available on the home screen and how the developers reorient them.

Voice Typing and Search

The Offline Voice Typing comes with Android 4.1.  Previously, Google Speech Recognizer was available online only or on the device.  The current release will support US English only but more languages will be added with time.  The voice search has been improved to respond faster, have a greater accuracy as well as more natural.

Project Butter

Project Butter uses triple buffering and vsync timing to make Jelly Bean’s response as smooth as butter.  All refreshes and animations will be locked at 16 millisecond time.  According to Google, the responsiveness has been improved and can predict where the next touch will be.  CPU input will boost the responsiveness to ensure minimal latency in case of a time out.

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