If you are new to Android, updates generally come over the air – so no cords are needed. They are also named after desserts or sweets. This update is called Jelly Bean and will primarily be available for all Android 4G phones – just a basic rule of thumb if you are questioning if you will receive an update. For a full list click here. (Coming soon)
With Android 4.0 we saw the new holographic buttons and screens. We also saw the apps updated with more functionality and better multitasking. But Jelly Bean is all about enhancements. Andy is growing up and it’s all about being cool and smooth. This is no small update. All aspects of Android have been changed, so this will be a long article. This is what you can expect in Jelly Bean.
Project Butter – Faster and Smoother
At the foundation of Jelly Bean is Project Butter. Project Butter is a project from Google making Android phones faster and creating more smooth transitions. One of the complaints former iPhone people have is the lag that they “see” in the responsiveness of the phone. Project Butter a processing framework project was created to annihilate such talk.
For the geek in all of us here are the technical Aspects:
V-Sync timing – Very simply v-sync synchronizes your graphic card with actions on the screen. V-sync timing has been enhanced by extending the timing across all drawing and animation on Android.
Triple Buffering – works with v-sync in that there are three buffers that work in tandem (CPU, GPU and display) to create images in the background while sending one in the foreground. This also allows v-sync to stay “on”.
Touch Responsiveness – predicts where you will touch next on the screen and anticipates it.
Systrace – Allows developers to accurately see what’s happening on the system at any given moment. Therefore developers can “isolate rendering interruptions and other issues”.
If you didn’t try the Voice actions feature that was created in 2009 and continuously developed and are jealous of Siri: Google Now is the answer you seek. The beauty about Siri is the natural speech feature. Google Now is touted as your personal assistant and based on a card system and voice commands; compared to Siri it is faster, more accurate, and gives several sources for additional information. Its intuitive interface will tell you when your flight is and depending on your location what time you need to leave to make it there on time and the traffic that you may encounter. More
Integrated into Google Now but still a separate functionality Google search has been enhanced as well. New search result displays with more precise answers that work with more natural search queries. More. iPhone users will have a chance to sample some of Google Now’s features in the new search app coming to iOS. If you are on on an iPhone please download the Google search app and try the voice commands, I think you’ll like it. I suspect that iPhone users will use this more than Siri. I can’t help but laugh at that. Watch the Video here.
Still the best Alerts/Notification system around (android lets you see all your alerts at the top of the screen) Jelly Bean has upgraded the Notification bar. Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) brought a change in notifications that included: swiping to close, access to settings, and music controls to name a few. Jelly Bean now lets you take actions directly from the notifications bar. They also support new content types, photos, configurable priority, larger sizes and include multiple actions. As well notifications can be collapsed or expanded (by pinch zooming), larger clock, and cleaner fonts. Notifications from the same apps are grouped together. There are also pre-programmed responses for things like emails.
One of the unfamiliar functionalities of Android is its ability to help blind individuals use touch screens. With Jelly Bean this feature has been enhanced with Gesture Mode, Voice Commands and the TalkBack app (a screen reader for Android), KickBack (provides haptic feedback) and Soundback (provides audible feedback).
A recent development or addition to Google Music is Google Ears also known as Google Sound Search. Similar to SoundHound or Shazam it will be able to listen to music and lets you purchase the music straight from Google Play. For all you iTunes users that have not downloaded Google Music Manager to their home computers (thereby letting your iTunes music go into the Google cloud) will be glad to know that you after purchasing Music from Google Play you can download the Mp3 file straight to your computer to add to iTunes if you so choose. Google/Android is all about customization.
Android Beam takes you back to your old Palm V. By that I mean you can beam/share contacts, directions, videos, photos, webpages, Youtube videos and apps. Instead of having to align beams you simply put your device either back to back with another phone or pair with a Bluetooth device (headsets, speakers, laptops, etc.) by bringing your device near. It uses NFC (Near Field Communications) technology which is what you find at many stores and gas stations. NFC was first seen in Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). This will also work with Google Wallet when it is available for your phone.
New animation and functionality has been added to the camera. Android 4.0 added zero shutter lag for basically continuous camera shooting. But with Android 4.1 from the camera you can now view the gallery by swiping. Another function is pinching to zoom from the photo to get to the filmstrip. Lastly, you can delete photos by swiping up and there is a new undo feature.
Jelly Bean has implemented a new keyboard that of course has Auto Complete but also has a Contextual Analysis which will predict the next phrase or word. With the new offline voice input you can dictate commands without a data connection. Text Input via voice typing is now available offline and online.
Home Screen and Widgets
The Home screen and widgets have also improved. You can now resize widgets based on available space on the screen. It also automatically moves other icons when you place a widget on the home screen. You can remove apps and widgets by flicking them off the edge of the screen.
Apps will now have a special type of device encryption key for all paid apps to protect the assets within the device. When there is an update to an already existing app, the update will no longer download the whole APK () to replace the old app; instead it will only download the new portion of the APK. This will therefore download faster and require less space on your phone.
Calendar – new animations, create default quick responses, snooze upcoming event, etc.
GMAIL – Gmail view optimized for 7” tablets. New notifications give you a better preview of emails.
Gallery – new animations, pinch to zoom goes filmstrip mode
YouTube – New user interface and menu.
Google+ – New layout for tablets. New functionality in Events, Hangouts, and Party Mode.
Maps – Zagat reviews and Google Offers are now integrated. New offline support and indoor walking directions.
Chrome – New standard browser on Nexus 7. New layout and feel in “Other Devices” page.
Currents – New layouts, fluidity
Google Music – New playlist art based on album covers, new sound search widget
Google Books – New bookmarks, embedded video or audio plays directly from the book.
People – Higher resolution pics that pull straight from Google+. New 7” tablet layout. Ability to clear out frequently contacted list.
Phone – New notification to end a call, return a call and phone numbers.
Google Movies & TV Shows – Downloads can now be played offline
With a current 68% of the world’s smartphone shipments Android has to keep evolving. And Jelly Bean is just smooth like butter.
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