Android tablets, for the last year plus they've existed, haven't been anything to get excited over. At least that's my opinion on the matter. And even if you've wanted one (a good one), most of them have been sort of expensive. But now that Google has unveiled the first true Nexus tablet (XOOM who?), for a mere 200 of your dollars, you can get in on the computing revolution.
Hello and welcome to round 2 of Getting To Know Android 4.1. If you missed the inaugural episode (about the lock screen, software buttons, and icons) you can catch a rerun right here. And if you did see it, I suggest you go look at it again, because I updated it with a crazy menu button bug. Seriously, go look. I'll wait.
Today we're getting into something a little more meaty: The revamped notifications system!
Xuxian Jiang, along with his research team at North Carolina State University, has cooked up a proof-of-concept "clickjack rootkit" which targets Android. The rootkit is unique not only in that it can function without a device restart, but also in that it targets Android's framework, not requiring deep modifications to the underlying firmware or kernel.
Clickjacking, for those unfamiliar, is a malicious technique typically used on the web to "trick" users into handing over control of their device or confidential information.
We non-Jelly Bean plebeians have been envious of those with access to Android 4.1 for some time now, and a recent video from JLishere provides yet another reason to be jealous. The video, a demo of the much-anticipated Google Now, shows off just how accurate JB's voice recognition can be - in fact, it was able to pick up on the subtle differences between words like 'Worcester' and 'Wooster.' It also exemplifies the impressive number of commands Now (in cooperation with the Knowledge Graph) can register - from "call the Drake Hotel" to "do a barrel roll."
Enough balderdash, though - watch the 47-question demo for yourself:
Update: 20 more questions:
One last note: as JLishere notes in the video description, the demo was performed on an early build of Jelly Bean - this, in other words, should be considered a beta feature that will only get better with time.
Depending on how fanboyish you want to be you want to look at it, things are either getting better by the day, or still dismal as can be. First, the charts:
Obviously, the good news is that in the past month, Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0+) has moved up from 7.1% to 10.9% - and considering there are hundreds of millions of devices running Android, that seemingly meager 3.8% is actually quite a few devices.
One of the most starred Android issues of all time, currently #20 of 21363 from the top with 1191 stars, is the absolutely awful quality of synced contact photos (issue #3870, opened in 2009). ICS attempted to resolve the issue by bumping the quality to 256x256 pixels, but Google sync would without mercy squash it right back down to blurry pixel dirt (96x96).
To recap, there are actually a couple of issues:
Contact photos set in Gmail.com are downsized to 96x96.
Some users of HTC's Incredible S have received a sweet surprise today, with OTA updates to Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) rolling out throughout the day. Currently, the update seems to be going out to users throughout Europe, with no reports from North America just yet. The update is about 250MB, and brings the device's software up to version 4.10.405.1, with ICS running underneath Sense 3.6.
There's no word from HTC just yet on when the OTA will begin to roll out to other users, but we'll keep an eye on the story and update pending more information.
Jelly Bean isn't a huge evolution of Android like previous updates have been, but that's understandable given just how polished the OS has become. Still, as the company showed us on day 1 of I/O, things certainly have moved forward in quite a few ways (Ron provided a deeper look at some of them in his first Getting To Know Android 4.1 post).
One of the new features that ships with Jelly Bean is Google's Sound Search widget that helps identify songs after listening to short samples. If you've ever used SoundHound or Shazam, you know exactly what this does. The difference is this widget is pre-installed on Jelly Bean, comes directly from Google, and hooks right into Google Play.
As it turns out, the widget works on ICS as well. I looked into the package and saw that compatibility goes back as far as Honeycomb, so I'm guessing it will install there too (sorry, no Gingerbread or below).
After upgrading my Galaxy Nexus (GSM) to Jelly Bean last night (I know, I know, I'm a few days late), I unlocked its bootloader (the usual fastboot oem unlock) and commenced rooting, which I thought would only take a minute or two. However, after almost 2 hours of pushing, flashing, rebooting, and trying no less than 5 different root methods, I still didn't have root. Something must have changed under the hood, and no root method I was trying was working (even PaulOBrien's SuperBoot).