Android Jelly Bean – need to know

Google’s next evolution of its Android mobile OS is out of the jar… and it looks sweet, colourful and fast

Google’s unwrapped its latest software confectionary – dubbed Jelly Bean – and it’s smoother and slicker than any Android version yet.

Android Jelly Bean – smoother

What the Big G calls Project Butter aims to do away with Android lag for good by running operational tasks simultaneously, shaving precious milliseconds off transitions and launches.

Android Jelly Bean – interface

Jelly Bean’s also bringing some new tricks to the interface party, not least the ability to resize widgets to taste, automating the flow of other app icons on the same screen.

Android Jelly Bean – input

And there’s bad news for SwiftKey – Google’s improved the keyboard and shrunk its voice database so that you can use voice typing even when there’s no data connection (US English only).

Android Jelly Bean – camera app

Jelly Bean’s bringing instant picture reviewing to its camera app, too, and introducing Bluetooth pairing via Android Beam.

Android Jelly Bean – notifications

And it’s answering Apple’s Notification Centre with live notifications that allow you to make phone calls, read emails, view (and share) pictures and respond to calendar invites without leaving the notifications pull-down. You’ll also be able to collapse and expand notification panels with a two-finger swipe.

Android Jelly Bean – search

Search has been rewritten from the ground up to incorporate Knowledge Graph. It also uses the same data to respond to voice searches with voice answers. Very, very cool (and a bit scary).

Android Jelly Bean – release date

Jelly Bean’s going to be heading to core devices (Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom and Nexus S) in mid-July (that’s only a few weeks away), and it’s also offering up a PDK (product development kit) for hardware manufacturers, so hopefully the rest of us won’t have to wait too long for our upgrades.

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