Android Jelly Bean 4.1 New Feature Highlights

by: Derek RossJune 27, 2012

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.

Enhanced Accessibility

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.

Expandable Notifications

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

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.

  • AndroidBrian

    I was hoping for a option to delete multiple text messages (batch mode). And a clear all function for recent apps.

    • IamTheFij

      Any third party app will let you.

      Try Go SMS and Apex Launcher.

      The ability to replace defaults is the other great thing about Android.

      • AndroidBrian

        I’m actually using Apex launcher currently. I like the stock SMS app and don’t want to use a replacement SMS. I use SMS pop up and that’s all I need. Google stock launcher is so close to being perfect. I use apex but I rather not.

    • MasterMuffin

      hmmmm… my sgs3 can do all those things and I bet that there must be other phones that can do it to……

      • AndroidBrian

        Yeah every other phone I’ve got my hands on can peform the functions i listed. That why I was expecting to see them fix it. I think they will. The features aren’t anything to write home about so maybe they implemented
        these changes just didn’t discuss it in the 4.1 presentation because they didn’t find it significant enough. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    • Anon

      I can delete multiple texts on my GNex with Jelly Bean. Hold down one text until it highlights blue and shows the “delete” option and then simply click on each text you want to delete. Once you’ve chosen all the ones you want, then hit the delete button.

  • gmaninvan

    What I want is for, if I dismiss a text in the notification drawer to have it automatically marked as read in the text message app. Such a simple thing, not sure why it isn’t there.

    • Uren Patel

      because users (like me) might want to dismiss the notification but still have the item unread in the app so that I can get to it later…

      • gmaninvan

        Why can’t you just leave the item in your notifications then? That is what I do when I need to deal with something later.

        • Joey

          That is what YOU do, but not what other people might do.

          The best solution would be an option in settings, “Mark read if notification is dismissed.” That would let you do what you want, and others to do what they want.

          • gmaninvan

            That would work. I wouldn’t be against that but, by dismissing it are you not marking it as read? I would imagine you are likely in the minority of people. I think most people would rather be able to mark something as read without having to open the app.

          • Joey

            “by dismissing it are you not marking it as read?” Not necessarily. Some people, maybe they want a clean notification bar. There’s no saying why someone would want to dismiss the notification, but not mark the message itself as read.

            And I never said that I was one of the ones that did it. Just playing devil’s advocate.

          • gmaninvan

            I hear ya. You have to plan for everyone. I just can’t see anyone wanting that.

          • Cesar

            I also do that sometimes (dismiss the notification but still want to keep the message unread). A configuration option for this would be nice though

  • Nexus

    HTC sensation flagship and Samsung galaxy s2 flagship won’t be getting the update or will it? really confused… They are powerful enough,isn’t it?
    This blog says it may :

    • Harshit

      There is still no official word out about which all devices would get the update except those announced by Google itself at the launch event (Motorola Xoom, etc). As far as power and hardware requirement is concerned, the two devices you mentioned are surely capable of getting the update but nothing can be said unless there is a official verdict out.
      Please visit my blog at
      I will notify my followers when any news comes out.
      Thank You!

  • Harshit

    Android 4.1 is surely much better than its competitors (ios 6, Windows Phone 8). I have explained all its features at
    Hope you like it. If you think that it is a good post and Blog is really good, do share this link with others.
    Thank You!

  • trigger

    Does anyone know, will the wifi direct finally work on Galaxy Nexus?

    • Nivek099

      Yes it does. I am using it now. I have not found anything that doesnt work after updating. (So far)

  • Navethan Thambipillai

    S-voice is the same ting as Google now. Works with only ics. Search for s-voice signed apk

  • Kevin Durant

    I thought his name said Derrick Rose.

    • derekross

      Who’s that? ;)

  • Mayur

    when its came for samsung galaxy ace….

    • AndroidBrian

      That’s cool. I’m hoping the official 4.1 release will allow me to do that.

  • 21221

    my GS2 works fine the way it is, don’t need JB at this time. if it ain’t broken…


      You haven’t used JB yet have you? It’s incredibly smooth.

  • zak

    will the galaxy s2 skyrocket get the update?

    • Skyrocket now is updated to 4.0.4 ICS via Kies…happened today.

      • the skyrocket may get 4.1…who knows. i’ll be getting an SIII :3

  • This Update is great and what is greater is that it is goin 2 be released 4 both my phones XPERIA S LT26i and Samsung Galaxy S2 GT-I9100 and also i liked that the arabic language will be there also the project butter i guess it will do a good job on this update Thanks Android Authority 4 this great informations :)

  • Grunt_at_the_Point

    My phone is the Samsung Galaxy SII, Epic Touch from Sprint. I’ve had the phone since September of 2011. Just received the upgrade to Andriod 4.0.4 today. I like it. Guess I will have to wait until I upgrade my phone at the end of my contract for the Jelly Bean upgrade. By then, another upgrade will have replaced the Jelly Bean upgrade. Whatever Samsung phone that replaces the Samsung Galaxy S3, I will purchase.

  • ye tun oo

    jelly bean concern with9100 or 9100T or G? at s2