Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will be available in a few weeks. Besides the brand new Nexus 7 tablet, the first devices to receive the latest Android update from Google will be the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and the XOOM. Following Google’s mind boggling Keynote announcement at Google I/O today, the Android team posted the platform highlights, recapping all of Jelly Bean’s new features. Here are a few we are particularly excited about.
Faster, Smoother, More Responsive
Due to the success of Google’s “Project Butter”, the latest version of Android is just like the saying goes “as smooth as butter”. Jelly Bean is the most responsive and impressive version of Android to date coming with triple buffered graphics, extended vsync timing and intuitive touch that boosts your CPU at the next touch event to make sure lag is minimal.
Jelly Bean includes new API’s for accessibility features such as services that let you handle gestures and manage accessibility focus with on-screen navigation buttons. These can be handled by accessibility gestures, accessories, or other input methods. Applications that use the standard View components inherit support for these new features automatically without the need for developers to alter their code.
Support For International Users
Android 4.1 helps developers reach more users through support for bi-directional text. Apps can handle text editing in left to right or right to left scripts. Apps can also make sure of new included Arabic and Hebrew locales and fonts. If that isn’t enough, the platform now supports user-installable keymaps.
Android 4.1 brings a major update to Android notifications. Apps can now display larger, richer notifications to users that can be expanded and collapsed with a pinch. Notifications support new types of content, including photos, have configurable priority, and can even include multiple actions assigned to them.
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.
These are only a few of the features that come with Jelly Bean. For a full feature listing including subscriptions, we suggest you check out the full Jelly Bean feature list to see what’s all under the hood. Just because this is a “dot” release doesn’t mean it isn’t major. This is more than just API enhancements. This is a major update.