All you need to know about Android Jelly Bean 4.1

Faizan Nizami

Google’s new Android OS update is sweet enough to tingle your tech tooth once again. The new kid on the block is Jelly Bean (Android v4.1) that introduces a shinning, smooth interface, an offline voice type option, new Camera app, a new and improved notifications bar, Google Now, a voice search (phew) and a lot more. We’ve got some features you might be interested in when you get the Jelly Bean update.

Project Butter

At the Google I/O developers conference we heard a lot about “Project Butter”. And, after much conviction, we’re pretty sure it has little to do with milk and milk products. Though, it is definitely a type of flavour enhancer.

Project Butter has everything to do with the UI, more frame rates, tweaks and touch prediction capabilities and better touch sync too. It even thinks where you’ll want to touch the screen next!

However, it’s not yet clear how much game Project Butter brings into the play; Android does need a more seamless experience when it comes to the UI, especially when it comes to all the reports about Android and that oh-so-not-wanted lag.

Google Now

Try figuring out this one with just the name?!
Well, cutting it close you’d think it has to do with what you want/need/require right “now” and so you’re on the right track, almost.

Google Now is a predictive search engine that collects your data from search history and location and weather, oh and make sure you have prior permission granted to the application, and tries to predict what you might do next or want.

It tries to predict what you may require even before you know you wanted it, in theory.

Searching for tickets for that movie this weekend? It’ll tell you which theatre to book and which has better viewing. Use the internet to collect notes on that study paper? Google tells you all the research material that you may require and where you can collect it!

Offline Voice Type

Jelly Bean has some nifty features when it comes to using your phone, especially when you lack a strong enough mobile data or a Wi-Fi connection. Now you can dictate email, voice-to-text SMSs and search, all offline without an active internet connection.

So, is it worth it? Yes. Does it have what it takes to work? Yes, indeed. We’re looking at a saving grace when it comes to the new offline voice recognition system here. Even with a slower data connection you need not worry about all the voice searches you think aren’t possible, the offline voice typing could just be the answer to all your voice input needs.

Notifications Bar

Your Android device’s notifications bar has had a change of clothes. It looks, feels more appealing, rich and something that Google has put in the right place. Your texts, emails, contacts can now expand and provide you with more details. Now you can text back, call the number you just missed or forward/reply to emails, all from the notifications bar.

This, in part, saves time from switching over to apps, calls, contacts and messages. Google Now also features in the new notifications tray.

It’s not meant to be a big change but a significant one — a change that hopes to make your Android experience a little more involving and yes, smooth.

Siri-like Voice Search

Remember S-Voice, Samsung’s take on Apple’s SIRI? Samsung’s voice search software on the Galaxy S 3? Well, if you do then it was one voice recognition software that didn’t leave much of a mark.

Google voice is now supported by Knowledge Graph. The answer you get is the answer it deems fit for your query search. It returns results with images, various other media, mini-map details; think SIRI with better answers.

Google voice search returns answers relevant to your questions, unlike SIRI which ends up searching the web if it can’t come up with something for you.

There are quite a few other changes that Jelly Bean brings to the Android OS. Some of them are:

-a better camera interface; changing and deleting photos is super easy
- with NFC, media sharing and setting up accessories is quite alright
-introduces ‘Compass Mode’ in maps
-better audio and video codec support
-app updating is preferential; only the part that needs updating gets updated

The Jelly Bean update is a trove of new innovations that are likely to define the next generation of mobile operating systems. On a more condescending note, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. Only two devices have the Jelly Bean as of now — Galaxy Nexus smartphone (unlocked) and Galaxy Nexus 7 tablet (Update - Google Nexus 7 also carries Android 4.1 Jelly Bean).

But with companies like HTC announcing the Jelly Bean update for its ONE series, this new treat could soon be available on a phone near you!

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