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.
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
Battery life estimated at 9 hours
Aside from the specs, which are quite impressive, there are two pieces of news that are especially interesting.
After an injunction hearing earlier this week, Judge Posner has issued his final decision on whether to throw out the Motorola v. Apple case. The result? You're (both) outta here.
Judge Posner dismissed both parties' cases with prejudice earlier this evening (meaning Apple and Moto cannot refile against one another on these issues in any other federal court). Apple will, of course, appeal.
Posner's feeling on Apple's insistent demand for an injunction against Motorola's smartphone products was summed up best by the following excerpt from the decision:
And while the patents themselves (or some of them at least) may well have considerable value, after the claims constructions by Judge Crabb and myself and after my grants of partial summary judgment only a handful of the original patent claims remain in the case; infringement of that handful may not be a source of significant injury past, present, or future.
As the person that reviewed both of these devices, the Thrive and Thrive 7, here at Android Police, I felt something of a responsibility to post on this matter. On its community forums, a Toshiba rep issued the following statement on the status of the Ice Cream Sandwich update for its Thrive tablets:
We are working hard to bring Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich to our Thrive tablets. While we originally estimated it would be ready this spring, we now estimate the update will be delivered to all Thrive 10” and 7” tablets by early fall.
Update: Verizon just posted on its official blog that the rollout is slated to begin today, June 22.
Verizon has just uploaded the official support documents for the RAZR / RAZR MAXX Ice Cream Sandwich update (which by the way will be build 6.16.211 – the same build that recently leaked). With the docs going live just moments ago, users should expect the update to officially start rolling out any day now.