As any Androidophile worth his or her open source salt will be aware, the Google I/O 2012 Developer’s Conference has been underway this week in San Francisco, showcasing the latest fresh innovations and updates from the brains of Brin and Page. Having already waved around the Nexus 7, Nexus Q and Project Glass with gleeful technological abandon, the latest version of Android OS Jelly Bean has now been unveiled too, offering devotees of ‘the people’s platform’ a whole raft of new and improved features.
Due for release in July, here’s a handful of the highlights we can look forward to soon…
A processing framework designed to speed up user interface responsiveness and graphics processing, Project (I Can’t Believe It’s Not) Butter will reduce latency, increase intuitiveness and make overall performance smoother, along with using ‘vsync timing’ for graphics drawing and animations to ensure constant frame rate and allow for a smoother, effortlessly intuitive operating environment.
Undeniably ingenious, potentially paranoia inducing, Google Now unifies, well, you, taking everything your device knows about you, combining it with everything you’ve previously asked of your device, and then displaying it in a series of easy access cards. The timing and route of your journey to work, your strange support of Stoke City FC, your flight details etc, will all be known and monitored to keep you up to date on all relevant information. In short, then, it’s everything the smartphone always promised it could do, but done automatically.
In general, predictive text always tends to be a little hit and miss; mainly miss. However, Jelly Bean 4.1’s new keyboard works on a process of sentence finishing – while annoying when people do it, type in a couple of words and, based on what you’ve started to say, Android kicks in with a few sentence structuring stabs at what you might be trying to convey.
A brilliant time and effort saving feature, our only fear is that people who already vocalise terms such as ‘LOL’ in general conversation will eventually just stop talking after two words and expect you to work out the rest.
Shouting down Siri with aplomb, the improved voice input on 4.1 has seen Google shrink its transcription software to allow it to be stored on the device itself, thus keeping it available for use even without a network connection. And Siri’s on the ropes…
Taking the syncing system and improving it immeasurably, with Jelly Bean 4.1 now Android owners can tap their device against any other NFC-enabled phone to instantly share photos and videos, or against any NFC-capable Bluetooth gizmo, such as headphones or speakers, to pair and play instantly.
Smoother, quicker, more responsive and feature-packed, we’ll keep you informed as to the actual July release date. In the meantime you can review the rest of the Conference from the Google Blog.