If there’s one thing smartphone users love, it’s updates to a newer version of their operating system. In late June Google announced the next incremental update to their Android operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Amid cheers from the attendees at Google’s I/O conference, the new features of Jelly Bean were introduced.
Here’s an overview of Jelly Bean’s new features.
- Location based help. Google aims to make your phone smarter with this feature. Using location services like GPS, your phone will update you with relevant information. For example, you’re going to a meeting, using your phone’s GPS, your phone will keep you up-to-date with traffic reports and suggest quicker roots. This could be a useful service for users who have to travel a lot.
- Faster interface. Dubbed Project Butter, Google touts an update to the user interface that makes it “smooth as butter.” Essentially using your phone will be a smoother and faster experience compared with older versions. They even noted that less battery power will be used due to a new feature that guesses where you’ll click next.
- More intuitive home screen. The home screen - the place where all your icons are - has had a bit of an adjustment as well. Previously, you had to make space for new apps and widgets. With Jelly Bean you place one on your screen, and the others will be rearranged so it can fit. Beyond that, If you don’t want an app on your screen, simply flick it off.
- Voice search engine. One of the most promising smartphone features of the past few years is using your voice to interact with your phone. Apple popularized the trend with Siri, now Google has introduced a similar service, and improved it. When you search for something, the result will be returned in a card, swiping to the right will show the full search result. Beyond that, you’ll also be able to use your voice for typing, even if you’re offline.
- Better notifications. Notifications on the Android have been upgraded, with more information and live updates being introduced. Receive an email, pull down the notification page and be able to reply to it directly, no need to open the mail app. Another cool feature is with the calendar notification. If you’re running late, bring up the notification and email all attendees a canned response, all without opening calendar or email.
Google noted it should be available by OTA (Over The Air) updates for Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Motorola Xoom sometime in the middle of July, and for other phones by the end of 2012. If you’d like to learn more about how an Android device will fit into your organization, please call us.
As of July 10, 2012, Jelly Bean has entered Open Source, which means it’s finished and phone companies and developers can access it to begin to modify it to meet their needs.