Google's I/O conference, in usual form, kicked off with an explosive start. The day's news saw the revelation of things we've been waiting to see for months. Things we've heard rumor of, wished for, and even (quite accurately) predicted. With all the things we saw, it only seems right to round up all the day's news in one place. Grab a snack, because we've got a lot to talk about.
Indeed, the egg first presents itself as a smiling red jelly bean complete with antennae when the user repeatedly taps the Android software version in settings (this can be seen on the left). In the background is whichever picture you've chosen as your wallpaper.
It's kind of a tradition now for the Android team to create different boot animations for every Android release, and Jelly Bean is definitely no exception. Here's the boot animation from the Nexus 7 which is, as you all should know by now, the first device running Android 4.1:
If you need a refresher, here's the one from ICS, for comparison purposes (for science!):
Well, we now have yet another reason to envy Google I/O attendees - a signed copy of the official Jelly Bean build has just been released on the 'nets, but it seems to only be working on the 'takju' (GSM) Galaxy Nexuses given out at I/O 2012 (or at least those GNs with the IMM30D firmware).
You can grab it for yourself right here, if you're interested in what's inside the 156MB ZIP.
Android has become somewhat infamous for slow (almost unbearably so) updates for users of pretty much any non-Nexus device. In fact, when Jelly Bean was announced earlier today, the first thought on some users' minds was that their handsets haven't even tasted Ice Cream Sandwich yet.
Google is well aware of this issue, though - last year, it made an attempt (albeit a feeble one) to solve the problem with the Android Alliance.
Coinciding with the announcement of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Android developers can now pull down a new revision of Android's SDK tools – revision 20, along with a new version of the ADT Plugin, also r20 (which Eclipse users will need to use SDK r20).
The revised SDK tools bring several improvements. One of the notable additions to the SDK tools is System Trace (otherwise known as systrace), a tool (included in Project Butter) that helps monitor system activities, allowing developers to pinpoint graphical rendering or other issues.
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.