Android's latest update, the long-awaited Jellybean system, offers several improvements that makes Google's proprietary operating system run smoother and more efficiently across all platforms. Everything in the updated operating system is designed to make the Android experience better for the casual user, which has been a marketing canard pitched at Google's OS by competitor. Here are some of the major upgrades to Android 4.2 that users should be excited about.
Lock-screen Widgets - As always in the world of mobile technology, its usually such simple ideas that can tremendously boost productivity. The ability to set working app widgets on your lock screen removes several steps between users and their end goals. Simply swipe your lock screen widget to the left, and you are inside of it, working.
|Jellybeans and Butter|
Google Now - Google's time-sensitive, personal assistant program can access your gmail account to give you information that is relevant to your time and place, automatically. It can even give you entertainment recommendations based upon your personal preferences. Currency conversions, real-time translation of words from your home language to foreign tongues, and even location based dining and attraction recommendations offer a completely personalized user experience.
Quick Settings Menu – A quick settings menu makes it easier to adjust the intricacies of your mobile device without having to go to the actual settings menu. Change your key hardware settings from any screen on the launcher.
Increased Accessibility - With Jelly Bean, blind users can use "Gesture Mode" to reliably navigate the UI using touch and swipe gestures in combination with speech output.
Better Wireless Media Sharing - With Google's new Android Beam feature, you can now easily share your photos and videos. You can even instantly pair your Jellybean tablet or phone with Bluetooth headsets and speakers that support the Simple Securing Pairing standard by tapping the phone and peripherals together. Even more exciting is the new Miracast standard that fully mirrors your device and offers 1080p streaming. Google is hoping that this new protocol will eventually be a standard for wireless streaming media.
Off-line Voice Typing – Finally someone has decided to implement a voice typing application that works without any network or wi-fi coverage. All the data processing is done on the phone, so no data connection is needed.
In addition to all of these major changes, Google's "Project Butter" has made the overall Android experience smoother. Less lag times, less freezing, smoother animations, and more over-all user accessibility and control all work together to make the Jellybean experience a memorable one.
Jellybean represents a major leap forward for Android. As Google makes increasingly ambitious forays into the world of personal mobile technology with its Nexus line of products and deep implementation into various devices from Samsung and LG, it is important that the Android OS offers a standard optimized experience across all lines. Jellybeans is a huge step in that direction.
A contributor to Degree Jungle and an enthusiast of all things technology-related, K. Ruth has been writing about - and playing with - mobile technology in classrooms, offices and homes since 2002. He is particularly fascinated with how technology has blurred the lines between consumer and creator, and how it can be used to create a new reality for future generations.