Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) Officially Announced; Coming in Mid-July
Well, kids. It looks like we have the answers to the questions many of you have been asking. Jelly Bean was just announced at Google I/O, and it looks like it’s going to be even more awesome than we had imagined. As we suspected, the new version will be Android 4.1, rather than 5.0. It will be available in the middle of July and should hit the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Nexus S and Motorola XOOM first. The operating system will come stock on the Nexus 7, the other big story for today so far.
So, what is it going to do, you ask? Well, Jelly Bean looks to be a pretty nice speed, performance and stability update, but it does have a few nice new features baked in, as well. Here’s a quick look at the next chapter of Android.
- Project Butter - Project Butter is a new processing framework for Android that makes it run much, much faster – up to 60fps, in fact. The CPU and graphics will now work together in harmony, with the latter being triple-buffered, meaning things like scrolling and transitions should be noticeably faster.
- Google Now - Google Now takes the new Google search, and adds a personal assistant feature. Accessible by clicking the Google search bar or by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, Google Now will auto-populate information in certain cards, like sports scores, and use previous searches, calendar events and your location to provide you with other smart information. The more you use it, the better it gets.
- Offline Voice Typing – Gone are the days of needing an Internet connection to use Voice Typing. Jelly Bean will be the first version of Android to alleviate this issue by allowing offline voice dictation. (It looks super functional too!)
- Major Notification System Overhaul – Notifications in Jelly Bean will be much improved from those found in previous versions. Notifications are now expandable. Basically, it’s like putting widgets into the notification bar. They auto expand and collapse, and there is a great deal of emphasis on functionality outside of the related applications. For example, Google+ notifications can show pictures, +1′s and more within the Android notification tray itself.
- Improved Voice Search - It’s not the big Majel announcement we were hoping for, but Google has been working hard to improve its voice search functionality. Jelly Bean will make voice searching much better and faster than any previous versions. Additionally, there’s now going to be 18 more input languages, from Hebrew to improved Arabic support.
- Improved Camera – With Jelly Bean, camera users can now pinch to see the camera and gallery side-by-side, so you can swipe to the photo you just took. Deleting a picture is as simple as swiping it off of your screen.
- New Android Beam Features - With Android 4.1, those gadgets will be able to transmit photos by tapping (similar to what we’ve seen with S Beam on the Galaxy S III) with an updated version of Android Beam, and pairing your smartphone with a set of Bluetooth speakers will require a simple bump, assuming the speakers are NFC-equipped as well.
Stay tuned, kids. We got plenty more news coming for you. It’s going to be a loooong day.