Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Announced 'Project Butter, Gesture Mode, Improved Text Input, Search, Camera App, Notifications' and More - Jelly Bean Mascot on Google HQ Lawn - Behind the Scenes Video

At the Google I/O conference at Moscone West in San Francisco, Hugo Barra, product management director of Android, talked about the latest version of Google's mobile operating system Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Barra also revealed that "Android now has 400 million device activations and is adding 1 million per day -- i.e. 12 new Android […]

Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean announced at Google I/O

At the Google I/O conference at Moscone West in San Francisco, Hugo Barra, product management director of Android, talked about the latest version of Google's mobile operating system Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Barra also revealed that "Android now has 400 million device activations and is adding 1 million per day -- i.e. 12 new Android devices every second." That's up from the 100 million number that Google announced last year around the same time.

Barra, also revealed that Google is now shipping 1 million NFC-enabled Android devices every week.

As a result, Android Beam, which was introduced with Ice Cream Sandwich, is getting some cool new features, including the ability to share video by way of NFC as well as the chance to pair phones to other devices just by tapping it.

Barra also pointed out Android's growth in developing countries like Brazil and India where it is more affordable and accessible compared to other smartphone platforms.

Here the Jelly Bean features:

  • Project Butter, make the Jelly Bean experience (naturally) "buttery smooth." The Android team did so by bumping up Jelly Bean's framerate to 60 FPS, and implemented vsync and triple buffering to tighten up the experience. Developers also have access to a new tool called "Systrace: in the Jelly Bean SDK that displays what the rendering engine is up to."
  • Imporved Text input: The keyboard is smarter and more accurate, and can predict your next word. With regard to voice typing - users no longer need to have a solid network connection to make the feature work, as the speech interpretor lives directly on the device. And voice typing is faster, working even when you don't have a data connection. Only U.S. English will be supported for now.
  • Bi-directional text support: Android 4.1 helps you to reach more users through support for for bi-directional text in TextView and EditText elements. And they're looking to add 18 new input languages.

    android 4.1 jelly bean improved text input

  • Gesture mode: New APIs for accessibility services let you handle gestures and manage accessibility focus. Now you can traverse any element on the screen using gestures, accessories, you name it.
  • Google Now: New in Jelly Bean is feature that gets you just the right information at just the right time. It tells you today's weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, or your favorite team's score as they're playing. There's no digging required: cards appear at the moment you need them most.
  • Updated Camera app with a much faster way to review photos. Now users can pinch to enter a film strip view for faster perusal.
  • Android Beam: In Android 4.1, Android Beam makes it easier to share images, videos, or other payloads by leveraging Bluetooth for the data transfer via NFC, as well as the ability to pair with an NFC-enabled Bluetooth device just by tapping it.
  • Expandable notifications: Android 4.1 brings a major update to the Android notifications framework. Apps can now display larger, richer notifications to users that can be expanded and collapsed with a pinch. Users can now take actions directly from the notification shade, and notifications support new types of content, including photos.
  • Revamped Googler mobile search: Google redesigned search from the ground up, with a new user interface and faster, more natural Voice Search. You can type your query or simply ask Google a question. Google can speak back to you, delivering a precise answer, powered by the Knowledge Graph, if it knows one, in addition to a list of search results.

    Searching from the Google bar brings up handsome white cards that display information culled using the Knowledge Graph. Swiping away those response "cards" reveals regular search results.

  • Google Now: New in Jelly Bean is feature that gets you just the right information at just the right time. It tells you today's weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, or your favorite team's score as they're playing. There's no digging required: cards appear at the moment you need them most.

    Google demonstrated how Google Now might assist them in the course of a regular day. The feature, accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the homescreen.

    Google showed off an example of a flight search, which would later pop up a card that appeared with flight alerts and delays as they occurred in real-time. In another example, Google learned what sports teams you liked based on your search history and could then alert you to upcoming games and scores. In another, you could see suggested places to eat or shop as you walked down the street.

    Google Now been referred to as a "Siri killer," mainly because:

    • First of all, Google Now will remind you about appointments, and then it can use your travel preferences (like the fact that you prefer to take mass transit rather than drive) and real-time data to tell you exactly when you need to leave so that you arrive on time.
    • Second, Google Now knows that the demonstrator is a Giants fan, so it brings up a card reminding him about an upcoming game.
    • Third, when it's lunchtime, Google Now can suggest some nearby restaurants and allows the user to make reservations.
    • Fourth, Google Now knows about your travel plans, so it can notify you about upcoming flights, as well as delays to those flights. In the on-stage demo, Google Now saw that a flight had been delayed, so it told the demonstrator that he would have time for his normal lunchtime workout.

    Google Now, the smart personal search assistant has now come online on its own landing page.

  • Media codec access: Provides low-level access to platform hardware and software codecs.
  • Wi-Fi Direct service discoverability: New API provides pre-associated service discovery letting apps get more information from nearby devices about the services they support, before they attempt to connect.
  • Network bandwidth management: New API provides ability to detect metered networks, including tethering to a mobile hotspot.

Google will begin their over-the-air updates to the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and Motorola Xoom in the middle of July, and will also release Jelly Bean to open source.

The Jelly Bean SDK is available today to developers.

For a complete overview of new APIs in Jelly Bean, you can read the API highlights document.

Watch the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in this video below:

android 4.1 jelly bean mascot at mountain view hq

Google has also erected a giant Android 4.1 Jelly Bean mascot at its Mountain View headquarters front lawn of the Android building.

Created by Giovanni Calabrese of Themendous, the statue is a large, clear jar, fitted with the proper Android accoutrements, filled to the brim with 9-inch jelly beans.

According to Calabrese, there are over 180 jelly beans and each took six minutes to make, not including the hard plastic covering and painting. To help with time, the team also made a large jelly bean insert rather than making hundreds more to fill out the center part of the jar.

The project took one week to complete before shipping the parts to Google's Mountain View headquarters.

jelly bean android 4.1 mascot at mountain view lawn

Adobe has announced that the Flash player app won't support Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). Adobe will continue to provide updates for the existing users, but starting from August 16 the Flash player app will no longer be available for new users in the Google Play Store.

An obvious consequence is that "there will be no certified implementations of Flash Player for Android 4.1," so no Android Jelly Bean device will bundle the Flash player.

"Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed. Devices that do not have Flash Player already installed are increasingly likely to be incompatible with Flash Player and will no longer be able to install it from the Google Play Store after August 15th," informs Adobe.

Google Sound Search Widget (Google Ears) in Android 4.1 Jelly BeanGoogle also added a widget that lets you find the name of a song you're listening to. Just like Shazam or SoundHound, except that the widget links to Google Play, so you can quickly buy the song if you're in the US.

The widget dubbed "Sound Search," displays a message when using it, is "What's this song?". The internal codename for the app seems to be "Google Ears".

Here's the Sound Search widget in action: