Android 4.1 Jelly Bean officially introduced at Google I/OAlex Wagner - Senior News Editor
This won't come as much of a surprise to most, but today Google officially announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean during its Google I/O keynote. One of the first new Jelly Bean features that Google announced is Project Butter, which aims to help make moving through the UI smoother and faster. Jelly Bean will also feature a new method of moving icons and widgets around on the home screen. When a user decides to place a new widget on his or her home screen, the icons that are in the way of the new widget will automatically be pushed to a different part of the screen to make room for the new widget.
When it comes to input, Google says that its made dictionary and keyboard refinements in Jelly Bean, including predictive keyboard that the company says will know which words you'd like to enter next before you type them. Jelly Bean also features offline voice typing, meaning that you longer need a Wi-Fi or cellular connection to use your voice to type words.
Other improvements included in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean tweaks to the camera, Android Beam and notifications. The Camera app allows users to quickly access their images directly from the camera, and when viewing images it's now possible to simply swipe unwanted images away. Users can also undo their deletion and bring an image back. Android Beam will allow users to share photos and videos by tapping devices together, and in Jelly Bean it'll also be possible to pair an Android device with an NFC Bluetooth device with just a tap. Notifications can now be expanded in the notification window, and users can also respond to them from the window as well. For example, users can view a missed call notification and return that call, and also hang up, all from the window.
Google Search has gained quite a few new tricks with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The Search feature has a new UI and also includes voice search that'll features a new look for results that includes images. For example, Google asked who the prime minister of Japan was, and the search came back with what you see below. The third major Search enhancement in Jelly Bean is Google Now. Google Now takes into consideration things like your calendar and previous searches to try and show you information in your search that's more relevant to you. Google explained that Google Now can look at your calendar and learn when you have an appointment, and then it can tell you when to leave your home by calculating how long it'll take to walk to your bus and how long the bus ride will take. Google Now can also learn what it thinks your favorite sports teams are based on previous searches and give updates on how those teams are doing.
Other new announcements made by Google today include a Google+ tablet app that'll be available for Android today and iPad soon, new Google Play content including magazines, TV shows and movie sales, and smart app updates. Smart app updates will allow users to download only the parts of an application APK that've changed rather than forcing them to redownload the whole APK, and will also help to save bandwidth and battery life.
Finally, Google threw out several Android-related stats during its I/O keynote today. The company announced that there are now 1 million Android devices activated every day, and the total number of Android devices activated to date is up to 400 million. The Google Play Store, which is now home to 600,000 applications, serves up 1.5 billion app installs each month and has been the source of 20 billion app installs to date.
So when can you get your mitts on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean? Google will be rolling out over the air Jelly Bean updates to the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Motorola XOOM as well as to the open source in mid-July. Android developers can access the Jelly Bean SDK today.