Google confirms Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, set to arrive next month
Google revealed its next mobile operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, to launch its Google I/O developer conference Wednesday.
Jelly Bean features a redesigned search app with a new feature called Google Now that promises to make your smartphone more aware of what information you need in life. It also has a redesigned interface and an improved voice search function.
The next Android will be released in mid-July through over-the-air updates to the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and Motorola Xoom. The software development kit is available today as a developer preview.
Google Now is intended to provide users with information as they need it. Some examples demonstrated were Google updating users on how their favorites sports teams are doing, letting them know when the next bus is coming at a bus stop and telling them what time to leave and which route to take to reach an appointment on time.
With Jelly Bean, Google’s Voice Search has also been improved as it will work with Google’s recently announced Knowledge Graph. While the Voice Search will show typical Google search results, it will also try to provide smart answers too. For example, a demonstrator asked Voice Search who Japan’s prime minister was and an answer card showing Yoshihiko Noda appeared above other search results.
Voice Search now also supports more languages and better supports some of its current languages. And it can be used even if you are not connected to the Internet.
Along with search, Google also announced an improved camera app. The app lets you swipe between the photo you’ll take next and those you’ve shot recently.
Jelly Bean is also intended to function more quickly and smoothly, thanks to what Google called Project Butter, which increases Android’s frames per second and adds vsync and triple buffering to improve the experience.
Users can also rearrange widgets on Android’s home interface much more easily. If you move a widget, the apps around it will rearrange smartly. You can also wipe the widgets or apps off-screen to get rid of them.
Also improved are Android’s Notifications. Now users can expand Notifications to reveal more information without opening apps. You can make calls, comment on apps and do all sorts of functions without leaving Notifications.
Android Beam also received an update. Users can now send pictures and video, and they can connect to Bluetooth devices that support NFC by just tapping them.
Google also revealed that it would begin releasing platform developer kits to its device manufacturing partners months in advance to give them time to prepare for future operating system updates before they launch.