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Google Posts Jelly Bean Platform Highlights, Here is a List of Our Favorites

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Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, is now official and will become available in July. The first devices to receive it will be the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and XOOM, if you aren’t counting the Nexus 7 (our hands-on) which is already running it. After announcing it today at Google I/O, the Android team has posted the platform highlights, so that we can get a refresher of all of the new features. 

Faster, Smoother, and More Responsive

Jelly Bean will be the most impressive version of Android yet if we are talking about it on a performance level. They added triple buffering in the graphics pipeline, extended vsync timing, and tossed in some crazy intuitive touch responsiveness tech. They are calling this set of improvements Project Butter.

Expandable Notifications

One of the more visually impressive additions to Jelly Bean are the new expandable notifications. In Android 4.1, apps can be built to take advantage of a new notifications builder that lets them display more info than ever. Using a two fingered swipe, you can expand or collapse them or even perform actions directly without ever entering another app. Think of the new notifications as something no other platform has even come close to matching.

Voice Search and Google Now

The Google team introduced the world to their revamped voice search today, along with a new product called Google Now. You could call it their answer to Siri if you’d like, but really, this isn’t necessarily trying to go in that direction. Google just wants you to be able to search for things and receive answers back. That’s what the new voice search does, but to beef it up, they added voice playback and are trying to make it smarter than ever by having it recommend options depending on the time of day, location, or from previous searches.

With Google Now, they are taking Search and making it more visual. The results you receive back from doing searches arrive as cards that have been built based on your search history. There are cards for weather, calendars, navigation routes you take often, sports scores from your favorite teams, and more. It has a beautiful UI and is definitely something to keep your eye on.

Resizable Widgets

Resizable widgets have been in Android for a while now, but not like this. In Jelly Bean, you can drag a widget onto another home screen, and depending on where you want to place it, Android will adjust your screen to make room for it. Also, if you try to drop a widget onto a home screen, but the widget is bigger than the amount of space you have available, JB will resize the widget to fit without any extra work from you.

High-resolution Contact Photos

Yep, you are reading that correctly. In Jelly Bean, you can now use 720×720 resolution photos in your contacts. From the way it sounds, Gmail or other apps won’t overwrite them either. Hooray for pretty pictures again.

Android Beam

Google announced two new functionalities for their NFC-based Android Beam this morning. The first allows you to share photos and videos with another device, similarly to what you can do with the Galaxy S3. The other new feature makes connecting to NFC-ready Bluetooth devices easier than ever. Simply tap your NFC phone to them and you are connected.

Android Browser

The browser in Android 4.1 will provide a better HTML5 video experience, improved rendering speed, improved text input, better Javascript performance, and more.

Network Bandwidth Management

Ice Cream Sandwich brought us data management, however, Jelly Bean has improved upon that to be much more accurate. Apps can now query the the data meter to see if a user should attempt to download something of substance that may push them over a limit.

Audio Tweaks

There is an entire section dedicated to all of the audio tweaks that have been added to Jelly Bean. We are talking multichannel audio, better USB audio for docks, and audio chaining.

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This is only the tip of the iceberg with Jelly Bean. We recommend that you check out the full Jelly Bean highlights list to see everything that has been included. We know that some were thinking the jump from 4.0 to 4.1 would be minimal, but as we said before, that is a foolish way to look at it. This update is major.

  • ChrisTraeger1

    For those less fortunate.

    AWWWWWWW YEEEEEEEEEAHHHHHHHHHHH YOU JELLY BRO???!??

  • Jackson

    Pre order done

  • Eric

    Been using ParanoidAndroid 1.1 for a while now. Don’t like the new look of Jellybean tablet’s. Think I’ll stick with Paranoid for a while longer…

    • Eric

      Just read that the dev will start working on a JB/tablet ICS hybrid rom as soon as the source code is released (if that hasn’t already happened). There are features of JB that interest me, but I’m disappointed with the tablet UI mostly, I understand trying to have a more uniform look between the tablets and phone UI’s, but I’d have like to have seen them bring the phone UI to more of a tablet layout rather than bring the tablet UI to more of a ICS phone layout…

  • Raven

    Is Jellybean 4.1 going to have the concept of profiles
    so that you can sign on from different gmail addresses and get
    completely different home layouts so that 2 people could easily share a
    tablet?

  • Amenemhat1

    Great, I rom-ed CM9 RC1 last night to my G-Nex and now I find out that I will be moving back to stock for JB 4.1 goodness!

  • http://twitter.com/eagleseye David Joyal

    I love it how when Apple thinks they are just about catching up with Android, Google goes and leapfrogs them!

  • bogy25

    I think this is great (Jelly Bean) but I have not gotten ICS yet! Geez!

  • Alexander Garcia

    PSA… If you’ve purchased a Verizon Galaxy Nexus, you will not see JB on your device until December 2012. GSM G-Nex all day every day baby!

    • PC_Tool

      PSA: Bull.

      I’m running 4.1 on my VZW G’Nex right now.

    • HTC1

      yes but how you like that network your on? If your not on verizon you don’t have a phone!!!!! so yes you have JB but you can’t make any calls from it…..haha
      Sorry but it’s Verizon or nothing. Had/tried them all and nothing even comes close.

    • Michael G

      I have a VZW G-Nex and have been rocking 4.1 for the past two days. So I have the most updated Android OS AND the better network. Fail for the GSM G-Nex. lol (Verizon is still evil though. lol)

  • Nexus Baby!

    not a fan of the Grey looking search bar, I am a fan of the search bar in ICS, looking forward to the rest of JB though.

  • Towelie420

    Okay, so even though the Thunderbolt is completely unlocked, bootloader s-off, it still does not have ice cream sandwich even by way of custom rom. The reason why is because of the LTE radios, also known as “RIL” code which has to play nice with whatever version of android it is tied to. Since an ICS build for the Thunderbolt hasn’t even been leaked yet, they have no ICS RIL to bake into a custom ICS rom.
    Will this be the same thing with the galaxy nexus? Because if verizon takes their good old time to release/leak a build of JellyBean for the GalNex, there will be no JB RIL available. Will they just make an ICS radio work with Jellybean? What problems will this present?
    Please correct me if I am incorrect here….

  • jquest68

    please don’t tell me that “jellybean” is going to have those nasty looking icons from “ICS”. those icons really sucks. Like I mentioned before with ICS, the icons are horrible and it doesn’t blend well with the ICS UI. Metro icons matches perfect with the UI. why don’t they try something like that? Again, its super HD amoled the icons does not even look sharp. I going back to the Blackberry, lol. just kidding. But seriously why don’t they come up with a different set of icons?

  • CurtisNic

    sooo…when am i getting froyo?