Google Now is a feature we've been eagerly anticipating for what seems like forever now. In fact, we've been seeing hints at something like it since 2010. When Apple announced Siri last year, an official counterpart from Google became not only inevitable, but necessary - iOS' speech service provided direct Apple competition to Google's mobile search engine. Today, in one of the most notable announcements at I/O, the Big G made official its answer to Siri: the aforementioned Google Now.
One of the bigger changes we saw in the jump from Gingerbread/Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich was in the camera app. ICS not only brought a streamlined, more subtle design to an app that so badly needed it, but also introduced zero shutter-lag, meaning the time between pressing the shutter release and capturing a photo was pushed down to (almost) zero. In fact in many cases, the time between touch and capture is imperceptible.
Another major enhancement we've just learned about with the announcement of Jelly Bean is called Project Butter. Butter (so named likely due to the colloquialism "smooth as butter") represents a new, more efficient processing framework for Android's latest and greatest iteration, making the OS much faster (allowing animation up to 60fps). Android 4.1 also makes apps more responsive, reducing touch latency and "anticipating where your finger will be at the time of screen refresh."
"How is such an enhancement possible?" I can almost hear you wondering.
"Android has always put you in control when it comes to staying notified and connected. Now you can take action directly from the notifications shade," says Android's updated "What's New" page. Indeed, today's Jelly Bean announcement saw a number of improvements to the already handy notification system we've come to know and love in previous iterations of Android. Not only can the new notifications system display larger, richer notifications, developers can create actionable notification with interactive controls for telephony, music, and more.
Over at Google I/O, the news about Android 4.1 - a.k.a. Jelly Bean, if you haven't heard - just broke.
Update: check out the Jelly Bean video:
The first announcement was Project Butter, a new processing framework for Android that should make it run much, much faster - up to 60fps, in fact. The CPU and graphics will now work together in harmony, with the latter being triple-buffered, meaning things like scrolling and transitions should be noticeably faster.
When Google releases a new version of Android, it celebrates by putting a new statue outside of the Googleplex that represents the dessert-y codename.
The new one just landed.
There we have it - Jelly Bean is [basically] official. I'm sure we'll be hearing all about it tomorrow morning. Exciting!
Google I/O is coming and we already expect a bevy of Android related announcements. Furthermore, rumours of a Google-branded Android tablet have been swirling around for some time now, and last month a benchmark report indicated that the 7-inch tablet would be manufactured by Asus.
According to a leaked internal training document, recently uncovered by Gizmodo Australia, the Google tablet will indeed be manufactured by Asus and will feature the following specs:
- 7-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280x800 and a 178-degree viewing angle
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- 1.3Ghz quad-core Tegra 3 processor
- nVidia GeForce 12-core GPU
- 1GB of RAM
- 8GB or 16GB of internal storage
- 1.2 MP front-facing camera, no rear camera
- NFC with Google Wallet
- Android Beam
- Battery life estimated at 9 hours
Aside from the specs, which are quite impressive, there are two pieces of news that are especially interesting.
According to Rightware's Power Board benchmark result site (see #11; the benchmark in question is Basemark ES2.0 Taiji), a long-rumored device has popped up in a result database: the much-awaited Nexus tablet. Here's the additional raw info you don't see in the benchmark that we were able to acquire from Rightware:
"model": "Nexus 7",
"display": "XXXXXX-userdebug 4.1 JRN51B 3XXXXX dev-keys",
Note: strings replaced with XXXXX were redacted by Android Police for privacy.
Google I/O is coming and it's time to get excited! It's like Christmas in June! It will be here in just a few
short agonizing weeks - and we need to prepare. There is background information you need to know, rumors you should have in mind, and past announcements and acquisitions that need to be remembered. Google always leaves little news breadcrumbs for those that pay attention, and I pay attention.
This is the sort of quasi-rumor (it's fairly detailed and comes from the Wall Street Journal, so we're inclined to trust it) that makes me happy to be an Android fan.
According to the WSJ, Google is in cahoots with up to five device manufacturers to provide early access to the next iteration of the Android OS (Jelly Bean, we assume) so it can have an entire "portfolio" of Nexus devices ready by Thanksgiving - that's late November for those without turkey day.