We're back! If you are somehow just joining us, where have you been? This is Getting To Know Android, the series where we milk every little detail out of the latest version of Android and put other change logs to shame.
Expect this version to be heavy on the pictures because, honestly, we're getting down to the bottom of the barrel here. There won't be much left to cover after this. To make up for the sparse commentary, we're getting a two-for-one deal this week: Calendar and Settings!
The usual formatting applies, ICS is on the left, Jelly Bean is on the right.
We're kicking it old school this time and checking out the "About" screens first. As usual, the built-in apps mirror the Android version numbers. That means the old one is 4.0.4, and the new one is 4.1.1.
Left: ICS. Center: Jelly Bean. Right: Desktop Calendar
Right off the bat, you can see they fixed my biggest problem with the old calendar: event colors finally match the desktop version! Blue is blue, brown is brown, red is red. It's beautiful, and more understandable too. The matching colors let you more easily mentally parse the events. Blue is always my personal calendar, brown is always work. Simple.
There's another new thing in this screenshot: the "Today" button in the action bar switched from being a generic calendar icon to displaying today's date. That's handy.
Lots of text changes here. The year is no longer displayed, and "Eastern Daylight Time" has been shortened to "EDT." The result of all this character cost cutting is that everything fits on one line now.
You can also see the new, out-of-proportion back button icon, which is the same calendar icon I complained about in Part 1.
They added a little sun to the time zone! It's daylight saving time. Get it?
There are suns all over the time zone picker, too. They also changed the name of "Eastern Standard Time" to "Eastern Daylight Time." I'm not really sure what's going on here - I guess they fixed a bug in ICS. Both phones know it's daylight saving time, but ICS mislabels it and JB doesn't.
Just like the texting app, Calendar has quick responses now, too. This time they're for quickly emailing guests you have listed in the "Guests" portion of an event. I'm not really sure if anyone ever uses this, but it's there.
The bottom of the Wi-Fi settings is significantly uglier and harder to understand. Most of the ugliness comes from the Wi-Fi Alliance's horrible looking WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) icon. That's the thing that looks like your browser's refresh button.
"Add Network" is now a much more ambiguous plus sign, and every screen has a proper back button in the top-left with a back arrow. There is also a help option in just about every overflow menu.
The overflow menu is now much more populated. "Scan" has been demoted here, along with a Bluetooth-style Wi-Fi Direct menu. You'll also see the new help option I was talking about earlier.
The"Advanced" menu is now sporting an "Avoid poor connections" option, which is great for when you are just on the edge of Wi-Fi range.
Data usage now has an option for "Auto-sync data," which I thought would display data used from background syncing, but it is actually for turning syncing off altogether.
"Wi-Fi direct" is no longer in this screen in 4.1, it was moved to the menu button on the main Wi-Fi settings (check out the second set of Wi-Fi screenshots). They also added a menu button specifically for "help."
If you're wondering what a help page actually looks like, it just loads a web page in the browser of your choice. It's very comprehensive, and does a great job of explaining everything if you're ever confused.
The "Apps" section switched from big, tappable tabs to swipable ones, and they added that ugly blue, "funnel" design to the storage bar. It also corrected what was probably the most absurd placement of an overflow menu in Android. Yes, that 720 pixel wide menu button down there was actually a real thing.
JB also adds a "reset app preferences" option to the menu. This will wipe out all your defaults and disabled apps. So if you've disabled the wrong thing and broken your phone, you may be able to fix that here.
"Accounts & Sync" is just gone and the individual accounts now get their own section in the main settings screen.
There is also now this interstitial screen (right) between you and your sync settings that puts privacy controls front and center.
You can now choose an external, Bluetooth-connected GPS source instead of the internal antenna. I'm drawing a total blank for uses for this. What are you people doing with your phones?!
Developer options got a complete overhaul. Almost everything changed position, and there are many new options - almost all of which frighten and confuse me. I'll save the explaining for actual developers.
The most handy addition is the On/Off button in the top-left; now you can jump back to "normal mode" without having to uncheck 37 checkboxes, and it saves your settings for your next hacking session.
And, of course, this is the one option screen that doesn't have a help link, yet it's certainly the screen most in need of one.
That's it for now! Enjoy them while they're here, you won't be getting too many more of these for a while.