Android 4.1 Jelly Bean brings Project Butter, offline speech recognition and more
Published on June 28th, 2012 | by sylv3rblade0
Google has officially announced the new version of it’s mobile operating system: Android 4.1 codenamed Jelly Bean.
This incremental update (note the versioning from 4.0 to 4.1) to Ice Cream Sandwich brings a boat load of new features which will no doubt be the envy of Android phone users who still haven’t gotten their ICS updates (Xperia Play, Xperia ION, LG Optimus Black, etc).
One of said features is “Project Butter”, which the company claims will improve graphical performance and touch responsiveness of the system overall. With Jelly Bean, Android is now v-synced at 60 frames a second, with triple-buffered graphics making the UI aptly termed, ‘butter smooth.’ To further improve responsiveness, Google has made changes to the Android Core so that applications can anticipate and react to where fingers the next time the screen is redrawn (currently it’s the other way around, lending to some “sluggishness” on touch response).
You can view the video demoing Project Butter’s results:
On the homescreen front, widget management has been enhanced to make customizing and organizing things a much better experience. Widgets will intelligently move out of the way when new widgets are added and resize themselves if they’re too large for the space available.
Text input has been improved by way of an increased dictionary for predictive typing as well as improved support for Arabic and Hebrew languages, and now includes support for Persian, Hindi, and Thai languages. Coupled with updates on the keyboard side are voice recognition enhancements. Whereas you had to have an internet connection available when using voice recognition in Ice Cream Sandwich (like when using S Voice), you can use now this feature even if you’re offline!
Android’s notifications also received an update and can now be made interactive (like allowing you to instantly respond to a missed call instead of launching the phone app). Notifications can now also be expanded for more information without having to open it’s source application. Also, no more need to fear Airpush ads as you can now long-press a notification to find out, disable and/or uninstall the app that made it ! [via Reddit]
Lastly, there’s Google Now, which aims to turn your phone into a useful and intelligent companion that is aware of where it is, what establishments of interest nearby, how to get to your next appointment, and keeps a handy list of real-time data that you’d probably want. Of course it’s only useful if you have an active internet connection but it does sound promising. To activate, you simply hold down on the home button, then swipe up, and you’ll be greeted by a series of cards which you can view, remove and interact with.
Now for the most important part, when will we get Jelly Bean on our phones?
Google has announced a new Platform Developer Kit (PDK) for OEMs which may help alleviate the delay of getting newer Android versions to existing phones that are already in the customers hands. As of the moment, only the Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom, and Nexus S are set to receive Jelly Bean mid-July via an OTA update. Developers can jump in on the Jelly Bean band wagon by getting the new SDK.