Thoughts on Android 4.1 Jellybean

Last week at the Google I/O conference developers had the chance to have a first look at the Android 4.1 Jellybean release, which is scheduled to be delivered to consumers sometime in July. At I/O we got our hands on the all-new Nexus 7 tablet along with a Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone loaded with Jellybean, and we’d like to share the highlights of the new version:

Project Butter

The new version of Android is much more responsive thanks to “Project Butter.” With a 60 FPS framerate and triple buffering, the experience is vastly improved from Ice Cream Sandwich.

Voice Features

Voice Search and Voice Typing are looking good in Jellybean. The new voice search features allow users to ask questions and receive information, mostly from Wikipedia at this time. The voice typing feature is also improved, which is now accessible even when disconnected from all networks.

Google Now

This snazzy feature provides the user with “cards” featuring information such as current traffic conditions, weather, nearby places, information about their favorite sports teams and more. Google Now continually refines the types of cards it delivers based on your search history. The feature also delivers notifications that warn you if you’re going to be late for a meeting because of traffic conditions. We hope it continues to expand.

Updated Notifications

Notifications will now be expandable by using two-finger gestures, providing access to more information. You can also execute actions in the notification such as returning a text or a call. The experience is very intuitive.

Some other features include an improved camera app, “Beam” NFC sharing capabilities, animations, and predictive keyboard features. All in all it’s a great upgrade from Ice Cream Sandwich.

Going Forward

Although the new version of Android looks stellar, how many devices will actually receive the update? Not many it seems, since most Android devices aren’t even running Ice Cream Sandwich. Google will have to support more devices over time in order to resolve the issue. Be sure to look out for an upcoming post which takes a more in-depth look at device fragmentation.

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