Google Announces Android 4.1 Jelly Bean – Smoother, Faster, And With A Great Notification System

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Boom! Google just announced the next version of Android – v4.1, named Jelly Bean. Although it seems like a minor update, it’s quite a good one. I’ll make note of all those little additions below, but one thing – cannot wait for it! I’ve never been this excited about Android before, and it now seems like all my major annoyances with the OS have been taken careof. Great job, Google.  Here’s all you need to know about Jelly Bean.

Galaxy Nexus Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

  1. Project Butter – experience Android like you have never before. Google has put in a lot of effort to make the UI smoother, faster. And yes, I’ve seen the difference. Ice Cream Sandwich is faster than Gingerbread, even on old hardware. And by old, I mean really old. With Jelly Bean, Google introduced Triple Buffering in the graphics pipeline. If that’s too technical for you – it means you’ll experience a consistent frame rate = consistency in UI speed. I hope this means lags on Android are a history.
  2. Widgets will re-size automatically if they’re too big for the current home-screen.
  3. Improved keyboard and prediction engine. And, even if you’re offline, Voice input will now work! Only in the US, for now, but I’m sure it’ll come soon to other markets. This is a good feature, if you talk to your phone often enough.
  4. 18 new input languages added, with support for Arabic and Hebrew improved.
  5. External Braille input.
  6. New Android Beam features: share photo or video by tapping.
  7. Improved Camera app – you can now view your clicked photos faster. All you need to do is swipe to the right. Pinch in to view a film strip. Ala Windows Phone.
  8. Notifications get a good overhaul – you can now customize how notifications appear. They’re actionable, expandable and collapsible. Google+ photos show up in the Notifications, and you can snooze events from with the notifications. Not only that, you can email guests as well. Very cool stuff.
  9. Search receives a good overhaul. The UI is much nicer now, and is much more accurate, thanks to Knowledge Graph. Though Voice Search is still one-way train? Now it speaks back to you, and again, because of Knowledge Graph.
  10. Google Now – Goog uses your search history, calendar and more (that’s vague. I wonder what else they use) to guess what you may want, and accordingly, it will prompt you with information like Transit, Flight schedules, Sports and other stuff. Again, I think this works only in the US, currently. But it does sound quite good, if you’re willing to part with your privacy.

The Preview SDK is available over at d.android.comand the hardware partners will be getting the Platform Development Kit (PDK) two-three months before the release of Jelly Bean. Some of them, in fact, have already got Jelly Bean love from Google (bet it’s Sony, Samsung and HTC). What should this mean? Quick Jelly Bean updates, hopefully.

Google said that the Nexus S, Xoom tablet, and the Galaxy Nexus will be getting this update OTA (over the air) by mid-July. That’s exciting, but on the other hand, there was not a word about the update for other devices. Of course, that depends on the OEMs.. well let’s hope that they release updates on time. After all, Jelly Bean isn’t as big an update when you consider how big a jump it was from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich.

Jelly Bean in action, below!