Recently Google confirmed that Android Jelly Bean is indeed on its way, adding new features and debuting alongside the new Nexus 7 tablet. The new OS version is set to arrive first with the Nexus 7, and will start to show up as an update on older handsets this July. So what exactly is different this time around?
One of the biggest changes is “Project Butter”, a new processing framework that is supposed to provide a smoother and more responsive experience out of Android. When a user touches on the screen, the new framework will make predictions such as where the user will tap next, pre-loading the action, which will save time and result in a seemingly faster experience. Jellybean also will deliver extra CPUS power when the screen is active, and tune it down when it is not- which should see an improvement in battery life.
Other features include an improved notification system, moving notifications away from an icon with a few lines of text, now allowing full-expanding notifications and removing the need to pen the application just to read a text or email. You can also respond to notifications without leaving the home screen.
Probably one of the most compelling changes though is Google Now. Think of it as Siri for Android, this new Voice Search application is both a search tool and a personal assistant that can answer common questions. Even more interestingly, is that Google Now will actually research and learn basic questions before you actually ask them, so it can respond to you much quicker. What do I mean by that? When you wake up, it will already have gathered information about what the weather is like, or if you are driving somewhere that it ‘knows’ has traffic congestion problems, it will alert you ahead of time.
While Jellybean (4.1) might not be as big of a jump as from 2.x to 4.0, or from 3.x to 4.0, it is still a worthy upgrade that has plenty of interesting features to add. Not only does it add better notifications, accessibility options, and Google Now, it also is much more optimized than Ice Cream Sandwich, which results in a much faster overall experience.