The first keynote of Google I/O 2012 has just ended, and one of the most anticipated announcements was the next version of Android, Jelly Bean. As expected, it will be version number 4.1, an incremental release over Ice Cream Sandwich and incorporate many under-the-hood tweaks and front end polishing, as well as some cool new features.
Here’s a quick rundown of the major changes present in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean:
- Project Butter – Google has done a lot of tweaking to get Android to respond more quickly and fluidly.
- Widgets will resize automatically if you place them on a home screen without enough room.
- Camera app has been improved with faster picture taking and viewing, gestures to delete photos.
- Text input has been improved with better a dictionary, next word prediction and more.
- Voice input now no longer requires a data connection for speech-to-text typing.
- Android Beam has been improved and you can now pair NFC-enabled Bluetooth devices with a single tap
- Notifications are now “mini-widgets”, with more information right in the notification shade. There’s also actions in the notifications without having to actually launch an application such returning a call, or responding to a calendar reminder.
- Google Now – A system of giving you notifications based on your previous searches and locations, current location, and time. Have an appointment coming up and you’re across town? Your phone can now notify you when you have to leave to make your appointment on time.
- And the one thing everybody expected: Voice Search has been totally overhauled to compete with Apple’s Siri with rich responses to simple human voice queries.
Jelly Bean will start rolling out to the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and Motorola XOOM around mid-July, and the source code will be available in AOSP around the same time. The developer’s SDK for Jelly Bean is now available from the Android Developers site.
What do you think? Was it everything you expected, or more? Let us know if you can’t wait to get your hands on some Jelly Bean goodness! We’ll be sure to have some hand-on and a full walkthrough of all the features for you soon.
For more about new APIs and the development changes in Jelly Bean, check out the post at the Android Developers Blog.