Jelly Bean can be defined as the update to Android’s Operating System, Android 4.1.
An interesting note about Android, all of the major Android updates have had alphabetized dessert themed code names. Jelly Bean follows Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and Ice Cream Sandwich.
This isn’t a new app. It’s a new method to iron out the problems with slow displays afflicting some Android phones and tablets. A new Nexus 7 will zip through anything because it’s got a quad core processor and powers though things with twice the processing speed as a Galaxy Nexus. Now the Galaxy Nexus isn’t an old or slow phone. It only seems like it isn’t going as fast because of unresponsive graphics in some instances.
Project Butter is designed to make those graphics look smooth as butter, hence the name. There are a few changes in how graphics display. Opening and closing an app will get a zooming action in Jelly Bean where they got a pinching action in Ice Cream Sandwich, but the average user will just notice the speed and smoothness of the display. Part of this is done by prioritizing processing power whenever you’re touching the screen and lowering it when you’re not.
Improved Keyboard Predictions
Android Jelly Bean adds smarter text prediction that can learn from your typing habits and starts to predict the next word even before you’ve typed it.
Receiving a notification alert is useful, but Jelly Bean allows you to do things like respond to a calendar event reminder with a reply to all attendees that you’re running late or instantly call someone back when you miss a call. You can also expand your email alerts to see whether or not it’s an important message rather than just seeing an alert that you’ve got new mail.
As of now these notification enhancements will only happen on Google apps, but Google may one day allow other app developers to hook into it, so you don’t have to keep clicking through to find out who added you on Instagram or friended you on Foursquare.
Better Quality Photos
Jelly Bean adds easier editing and sorting capabilities, eliminating the need to launch a separate gallery app from the camera app to sort through your photos. Now you can shoot photos and then quickly switch between camera and filmstrip view to go through the footage.
Widgets Are Smarter
While the resizable widgets are useful, it’s still way too easy to be told that there’s not enough room because the default size for your widget is too big. For now, widgets automatically shrink down to fit the available space, and any time you drag around a widget, the others move out of its way.
Google’s version of the Bump app. This means that two phones with NFC connections can send each other apps, videos, websites and more by tapping phones together. While this is nice, it does require two NFC phones running Jelly Bean.
This app shows the weather when you leave for work, the train schedule when you’re standing on the subway platform, the score of the game you didn’t even explicitly tell it you were interested in seeing, and the traffic conditions for your drive home from work.
Who Gets Jelly Bean?
As is the norm for Android upgrades, not all phones will or can be upgraded. Future phone and tablet releases, including the Nexus 7, will probably ship with some version of Jelly Bean pre-installed. Other deice makers have to decide whether or not rewriting their proprietary versions of the Android operating system is worth the trouble. Then there are also hardware constraints to consider. Some phones are just too old to run modern versions of Android. Most likely only popular and fairly recent phones will get the upgrade. So far, the only two confirmed upgrades will go to Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S phones, both of which are made by Samsung and sold by Google.