By Akansha Srivastava | Jun 29, 2012 10:36 AM EDT
Android maker Google has announced the latest version of its operating system - Android 4.1, nicknamed Jelly Bean.
At its Google I/O developer's conference on June 27, the Mountain View company unveiled Android 4.1, which it claimed will be faster and more fluid than the previous OS version, Ice Cream Sandwich.
Google informed that Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will be distributed as an over-the-air update from mid-July. The new OS will come pre-installed in the Google-branded, Asus-made Nexus 7 tablet. Older devices such as the Galaxy Nexus, the Motorola Xoom and the Nexus S will also get the update in mid-July.
Other device manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, and Sony Mobile will get the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean SDK in mid-July too, meaning owners of high-end phones like the Galaxy S3 and HTC One X will face a significant wait to get their hands on the update. The SDK for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is already available for developers through developer.android.com.
Here's a look at the top features of the new Android mobile operating system in terms of improvement and performance.
The first development brought by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is the boost in the overall responsiveness of the user-interface. For that Google has introduced a new innovative technology, namely Project Butter, which is Google's attempt to make the entire UI "fast, fluid and smooth." It will include triple buffering in the graphics pipeline, to ensure consistent frame rates with interface animations.
To demonstrate the same, Google showed off two Galaxy Nexus devices side by side, using Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich OS. The demonstration, which was captured by a slow motion camera, highlighted how much smoother and faster Android 4.1 was when transitioning between apps and in terms of navigation.
The next new spectacular feature in Jelly Bean is Google Now, which the company describes on its official blog as "redesigned search from the ground up."
Google Now, when activated will deliver the users right information at the right time automatically. For example, if the user says, "traffic," it will look at the user's usual commute to work and show the alternative routes if there is a lot of traffic. It will also give updates on the scores of the user's favorite sports teams automatically, and provide information on the status of flights, if traveling.
Offline Voice Typing
Android users have been able to use Voice Typing for a while now, but Google is introducing this feature in Jelly Bean without the need for a network connection.
With this, users would be able to dictate their message or text even in new offline typing mode and the text would automatically appear on the screen. So far, it only supports the English language but it would soon be available with other languages.
Further, Android 4.1 has improved Arabic and Hebrew language support, while 18 new languages are being added, including Persian.
Home-Screen Widgets and Notifications
Android users for a long time had issues with adding new widgets to homescreen. In the past it was a trouble to move widgets to a crowded home-screen, but in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the OS will automatically move other widgets to a free home-screen or re-size the current widgets to fit in the widgets.
Icons will rearrange themselves around the widget and if a user wants to delete a widget, then they can simply swipe it up and away. On the other end, the notifications tray has also been updated, now giving the ability to jump straight into an app directly. For example, if the user sees a notification of a missed call, they can now call-back from inside the Notification pull-down menu.
Users now will also be able to see the content of new emails right in the notification menu, meaning one can dismiss the notification if it is not important. Google has claimed that the notifications in Jelly Bean are "actionable, they expand and collapse, and they're customizable."
Jelly Bean will also allow the users to share photos by tapping two phones together, using NFC technology. The current version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich has limited ability to share data through NFC. Hence it was not that successful among users. However, the Android 4.1, Android Beam makes it easier to share images, videos and other payloads.
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