The next iteration of Google’s mobile operating system has just been made official at Google I/O and will be known as Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It appears to be focussed on the user interface and Project Butter has been introduced.
- Project Butter combines vsync, triple buffering to offer much smoother frame rates. A high frame rate demonstration video was shown off comparing Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean and the new version was noticeable smoother. The OS will also guess where you will touch on the display. Power management has been improved.
- The process of adding widgets has been much improved; icons react to each other by aligning and resizing depending on its environment.
- Offline voice typing is present and the demonstration worked well. There will also be 18 new input languages, as well as better prediction on the keyboard. It will also learn your typing style – similar to Swiftkey.
- The camera application has been updated to review captured images very quickly and offers a new filmstrip view.
- Android Beam has been updated to quickly send photos or video by tapping phones together. Tapping can also be used to instantly pair Bluetooth devices.
- Notifications have been improved. They now show more information and are expandable. For exmaple Gmail notifications can expand to give a longer message preview.
- Because of the Google Knowledge Graph that was unveiled last month it allows for more advanced searches, it’s very Siri like and will be known as Google Now. Several demonstrations were shown and they all worked flawlessly, the female voice also sounds very natural. It can be accessed by going through the widget or swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
- Appointments in the calendar will now be supported with Google Navigation. It will tell you when to leave and how long it will take to get to your destination.
- Live sports scores – they already known your favourite teams because you’ve searched them on Google. You can even buy tickets to sports events using Google Now. There will also be flights, food and travel integration.
- “Google now will get more accurate over time,” and new cards will be added.
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will be available in mid-July for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Nexus S, as well as through the AOSP. The SDK is available today as a preview from developer.android.com.
- The PDK (platform development kit) will allow for OEMs to develop alongside Google. “It will be available to Android partners 2 to 3 months before before the platform’s release,” and should cut down on the amount of time users have to wait for OEM updates.
- There are now 600,000 applications in the Play Store and it just hit 20 billion installations – which probably means another app sale is coming soon. After in-app billing was first introduced, 50% of revenue now comes from it. Developer support is improved with improved analytics, Android training guides and application encryption.
- “Smart app updates” will allow you to only download the parts of the application that have been modified since the last update. These updates will be about a third of the entire application. It is handled automatically by Google and is supported on Android 2.3 Gingerbread or above.
- Movie purchasing is now available in the Play Store, as well as TV shows. It will launch today and features content from Disney and many others. Magazines are a new content medium available in the Play Store and popular magazines will come in 14 day free trials, alongside paid options.
- Content can now easily be recommended to you from the Play Store. There is also a song search widget similar to SoundHound.
- Google Chrome is now the standard browser in Jelly Bean. The YouTube application has also been redesigned for Android 4.1.
- Google Maps now supports offline maps, you are able to save the data for an entire city. You can also navigate the “see inside” images with the gyroscope.
- Google Currents now supports translation on-the-fly.
- A couple of game previews; Horn and Dead Trigger and both games look amazing for mobile games.
That’s about it from the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean section of the keynote and I have to say, I’m impressed and wasn’t expecting this many new features. If you missed it above the first devices will get Android 4.1 in mid-July.
KitGuru says: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean feels a lot more than just a incremental update.