Google’s Android mobile operating system is without a doubt one of the most popular on the market today. In fact, it’s generally common knowledge that the mobile OS battle is being waged between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android with other platforms like Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 largely getting pushed to the rear. Due to this popularity, it’s no surprise that any new Androdi release is highly publicized.
If you’ve been paying attention, you may know that Google’s I/O 2012 event recently took place. Among the subjects touched on at the even was none other than the oft rumored and highly anticipated Android ‘Jelly Bean’ 4.1. While the update is not yet out, Google has been nice enough to give us a list of the latest and greatest features to be highlighted within the update.
First and foremost, Google is promising that Jelly Bean will be dramatically faster than previously releases. This is thanks to what Google is calling “Project Butter which provides triple buffered graphics, temporary CPU boosts when a touch is detected and more. In other words, expect Jelly Bean’s UI to be buttery smooth especially when compared to previous releases. Notifications is also an area of focus for Jelly Bean which Google has paid a great deal of attention to. According to the search engine mammoth, notifications will now be able to be expanded and collapsed with a simple pinch. Not only that, but they can now also display photographs and wealth of new content.
Widgets are next up which is one of the main features that Android holds over iOS. However, while widgets are quite popular in their current state there is definitely room for growth. It may not be much, but Google is saying that Jelly Bean will feature widgets that automatically resize based on where they are dropped on a home screen. This will make for a more seamless experience than prior versions which had
Resizeable App Widgets
Android 4.1 introduces improved App Widget functionality that can automatically resize, based on where the user drops them on the home screen, depending on the size, and the amount home screen real estate available. You can also supply separate landscape and portrait layouts for your widgets, which the system activates depending on your current screen rotation.
High Resolution Contact Photos
With Android 4.1, we cab finally store our contact photos at a whopping 720 x 720, allowing contact pictures to be truly beautiful. Apps can store and retrieve contact photos at that size or use any other size as needed.
Android Beam was introduced with ICS, but we haven’t seen a lot of uses for it. In Android 4.1, Android Beam makes it easier to share images, videos, or other payloads by leveraging Bluetooth for the data transfer. When the user triggers a transfer, Android Beam hands over from NFC to Bluetooth, making it easier to transfer and manage files between devices.
Smart App Updates
The latest feature of Google Play introduces a better way to receive application updates on your devices. When a developer publishes an app update, Google Play now only delivers the changes bits of the application rather then the entire APK. This makes app updates much lighter and easier on your network data. On average, a smart app update is about 1/3 the size of the full APK update.
Google Voice Search and Google Now
Google has drastically improved the default Voice Search functionality with Android 4.1. Dubbed Google Now, the new search functionality makes search much more visual such as displaying your results as cards for weather, navigation routes, sports scores, and more. This is much more than a virtual assistant.