Jumping on Jelly Bean: What the Latest Android Version Brings

Google has brought the latest update to its Android mobile device operating system—version 4.1 Jelly Bean—and it promises to improve upon the many well-received additions that its predecessor brought to Android-powered mobile phones and tablets.

Right now, there’s a big chance your phone or device isn’t running it—not unless you’ve got a Galaxy Nexus phone or a Nexus 7 tablet or you’ve painstakingly managed to flash a ROM. Still, it should only be a matter of time before you can enjoy this new version if your device qualifies for an upgrade, so let’s check out what’s new on Jelly Bean.

“Project Butter”

This was announced at the Google I/O conference coinciding with the launch of the Nexus 7. It makes use of the new features on Jelly Bean such as touch anticipation and graphics triple buffering to make getting around your device much faster. With this, the user interface becomes smoother and snappier to use.

In addition, layouts switch depending on the mobile device you’re using to optimize how the OS looks, which makes it easier on the eyes and eliminates some issues where fragmentation is concerned. Of course, once manufacturers start putting their own customizations and skins on the stock ROM, there will be differences once again.

Expandable Notifications

Notifications are important for Android users, but sometimes it’s not enough to see the application icon and a message that often gets broken because of length. Jelly Bean changes all that with smart notifications that can be expanded to see full text messages or e-mails, for example.

Keyboard Maps

Users can now install their own keyboard maps to facilitate their typing within the device. In addition, this is great for developers as Jelly Bean already comes with 27 international keymaps by default. There’s even one for the Dvorak simplified keyboard.

Bi-Directional Text

International Android users will also appreciate this. Apps will now be able to display their text in right-to-left orientations to accommodate several languages.

Resizing of Shortcuts and Widgets

Ever wanted to fit a certain widget on one of your home screens but found that there’s not enough space? Now you won’t have to go through that inconvenience again. Shortcuts and widgets can be automatically fitted onto home screens so you won’t have to shift, rearrange, and resize all your existing widgets just to accommodate a new one.

Other Notable Improvements

What’s an update for if not to improve the performance and existing functionality of an operating system. The other improvements that come with Jelly Bean include some tweaks for the default camera app as well as what is promised to be a much-improved voice search feature. Another addition is support for digital-to-analog converters via USB audio.

All Android users want Jelly Bean right here, right now, but of course there will always be the wait for official firmware and even ROMs for rooted ones. The perennial compatibility issues will arise: the camera doesn’t work for this or that model, the RingCentral app is buggy for another, your Kindle purchases won’t load in another, and so on. Eventually, though, everything will get smoothened out, just like it was with Gingerbread and even Ice Cream Sandwich.

It’s clear that Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is more of a polish for ICS, but there are also some things you’d appreciate that aren’t in 4.0 or in 2.3 Gingerbread. Once your device gets its update, there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy the snappy experience.

Image from droiddog.com