Due to be released mid July, the newest version of Android will bring the most popular mobile phone operating system to maturity. While using it for a few weeks I can safely say that this is the best upgrade. Well since Ice Cream Sandwich anyway.
I could outline all the amazing new features on Jelly Bean (like the audio improvements), but I’ll focus on the parts people will be using day-to-day.
Speed and smoothness
I honestly couldn’t think my Galaxy Nexus could get any quicker, and after using a phone for a few weeks it does inevitably slow down, but Jelly Bean is absolutely flawless in it’s speed and snappiness. Apps load instantly, the launcher never jitters, the task manager opens immediately. This is the closest you’ll get to the fluidity of Windows Phone or iPhone (but with awesome power, obviously).
Google Now – Voice Commands
Holding down the home key reveals a menu and a link off to the Google Now app. From here you can search for absolutely anything by keyboard or voice.
The voice recognition has always been shoddy for me on every platform, but Google Now seems to recognise everything I say. It can do pretty much anything Siri does – get the weather, get sports results, make a note. But there are a few crucial differences.
- Maps and directions work outside the USA and are better since Android has the Google Navigation app (satnav)
- Google Search is deeply integrated and uses no third party services to retrieve data
- It chucks you information about your immediate location such as nearby train stations and restaurants. It even tells you how long it’ll take to get home taking into account traffic and your favourite transport method!
Improved Face-To-Unlock Security
Remember the hoo haa about Android’s face recognition unlocking when shown a photograph of it’s user? Gone those days! Now the unlocker must prove that they of this species with a simple blink.
The new look is very grown up. It’s now positioned over the top of the status bar. Whether you mind that or not is up to you. I personally haven’t found any problem with it.
Notifications are grouped and things like photographs can be inserted by an app.