Jun 27 AT 12:37 PM Dustin Earley 59 Comments

Jelly Bean: Google Now, Project Butter, enhanced notifications and more


Google has officially announced and detailed Jelly Bean, Android 4.1. And it’s better than we could have possibly imagined. There’s a ton of technical changes and new features that will keep Android ahead of the curve. Let’s take a look at what the update will include.

Jelly Bean will be smoother than any other Android version before it thanks to Project Butter. By using “triple buffered graphics,” Jelly Bean will feature faster and more consistent frame rates, creating a visually pleasing experience. Google used a super high speed camera to film animations on a stock Ice Cream Sandwich and stock Jelly Bean device. The difference was night and day.

Android already has the best notification system in mobile today. With Jelly Bean, it’s going to get even better. Notifications are going to be expandable andĀ collapsibleĀ in Jelly Bean, and they’ll feature developer customizable quick actions. For example, when you get a Four Square notification, you can expand it in the notification shade, and either like or comment on the notification without ever having to enter the app.

Voice input is about to get a whole lot better in Jelly Bean too. From here on out, Voice Typing will no longer require an Internet connection. It will only be available in US English at first, but it should expand before too long.

Google Now and the new Jelly Bean flavored enhanced Google search is hands down the most exciting feature to come out of I/O so far. When asking Google simple questions like what’s the weather, a card will pop up and tell you the weather. You can use Voice Typing to ask questions, and have the answers on cards read back to you. This is essentially Google’s answer to Siri. And it looks fantastic.

Google Now takes the new Google search, and adds a personal assistant feature. Accessible by clicking the Google search bar or by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, Google Now will auto-populate information in certain cards, like sports scores, and use previous searches, calendar events and your location to provide you with other smart information. The more you use it, the better it gets.

Jelly Bean will be hitting the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Motorola Xoom in mid-July.

We’ll be bringing you much more on Jelly Bean and the news out of I/O as the day rolls on. Stay tuned!

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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