Another Android update another sweet themed statue!
Google announced a while back that the successor to Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich will be 4.1, Jelly Bean. So whats new? Quite a bit it would seem, so have a read and let us fill you in on the details.
As of July 10th approximately 10% of the Ice Cream Sandwich capable devices actually had the new update. Whether this is to do with the carrier’s failing to roll out the update, or people not as aware as they should be, either way, Google obviously decided that another updated was needed sooner and so we have Jelly Bean.
Ok so pretty much all phones have this now and the Jelly Bean version looks much like your standard ICS affair, there is a secret though. Google has refined, re-written and smoothed out the predictive algorithm and it is scary accurate. It learns as you type and starts to make next word recommendations, pretty clever stuff, especially if it gets it right!
Offline Voice Dictation
If your feeling lazy and don’t feel like using your thumbs, why not use voice dictation instead. Google have incredibly managed to create a viable why of dictating to your phone and better still have enabled it to work in offline mode. So you can compile an email or a document via your voice to send later if you’re in an area with no signal or in airplane mode.
Google Now, Voice Search
So this is the main new feature to Jelly Bean. Simply hold down the ‘home’ key and swipe up. The best way to customize it? Be you. By searching for things that you would in everyday life, be it the weather, your next calendar appointment, local places to visit, public transport, it remembers. It remembers what you searched for when you were in that location and will push that information forward to you next time your there. It will tell you when your next appointment is, and where, and will tell you home long it will take to get there based on current traffic. It’s a very, very clever piece of software and I can’t wait to see it in action!
The home screen is still your standard Android screen, swiping left and right gives you other screens to put masses of widgets on and you can still drag your widgets where you want them, but now its just so much smoother, silkier, like butter dipped in Jesus.
Finally Google as given us offline maps. I personally use a Nokia Lumia 900 and the Nokia Drive app is simply one of the most accurate GPS systems I have ever used, but it’s very basic in its mapping detail. This is where Google maps should excel. Nearly every uses Google maps as their default go to map, and on phones its only recently that manufacturers have started using different maps, but Google is still king here.
The app itself is looks vibrant and works seamlessly with the navigation aspect of the app. The catch, downloading which maps you want. Like desktop Google maps you have the ability to zoom in and out, however only if you have downloaded that particular zoom level. In addition it would appear that at the moment you can only download 80mb of map even when connecting to wi-fi? Whats the point in that? How do you know if your going to need to zoom in before going somewhere you have never been before.
In contrast the Nokia Drive app is still superior, you can download the entirety of the US road maps for about 1.8GB. Sure it takes some memory, but it’ll be there working quite happily at any zoom level.
These are just a few of the main key features that Jelly Bean will bring to the market, there will also be better NFC support, Bluetooth and processor and battery improvements. It’s really a tweaked version of ICS with some additional features, but it should make what is already a nice OS into a very capable lasting one….until the next one at least anyway!