Last year, mobile Android fans rejoiced when Google released Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This year, the mobile phone world awaited the arrival of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. On June 27th, they got their wish – mostly. Google announced its arrival in Mountain View, Calif., and some expectations for the mobile phone operating system were met; others were not quite appeased. Let’s take a look at what was expected versus what Google presented.
The words “browser” and “Google” have evolved to automatically mean “Chrome” to many, and the mobile version follows the same reputation. Android mobiles have two browser options, the default so ingeniously labeled “Browser” and the downloadable Chrome. Users were split between Android providing the option or just defaulting to the mobile Chrome. They got both again.
Google Android phones have presented three separate messaging methods to users, each with its own application and file tree, a stand-alone text messaging system called Messaging, a Google Talk app and note-sending to Google+ contacts, Messenger.
Users were hoping for one access point with three-point options. Alas, they still wrestle between the three separate functions.
Do Not Disturb
Apple fans engaged in a round of bragging rights last year when the iOS introduced a Do Not Disturb feature, and Android enthusiasts were hoping Google would take the hint.
Apple’s feature allows call halting without silencing everything, just the call feature. It seems Google was silenced on the matter, for there is no indication anything like that is presented in Jelly Bean.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean institutes an on-board speech recognizer to enable communications when dialing or typing is inconvenient. It also has a faster interface than the 4.0, demonstrated in a side-by-side test, and as impressive as Ice Cream Sandwich was, the faster speed has even jaded experts impressed.
The feature, Google Now, has been enhanced to integrate with a mobile handset user’s search history and calendar, enabling things like commute time estimates and suggested routing to minimize the hassle. It will display restaurants along the route and even give suggestions on menu items. Google Now can also track sports, flight information and status and even bus schedules for users.
Jelly Bean is currently expected to hit the open market in July 2012, but as of June 27th, the Android OS is available to developers. Google accidentally, maybe, slipped on Google Play and briefly revealed the newest dessert platform will be housed in the Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ model.
There does seem to be a fragmentation problem with the OS, but Google is making the OS available to mobile phone manufacturers early to minimize or alleviate the problem.
In a surprise move, Google is also rumored to be gearing up for selling directly to the public a series of unlocked phones with the new OS. Unlocked phones are generally slightly more expensive, for they are not tied to a particular provider. A smartphone user would simply change the GSM SIM and enjoy access in any GSM network.
About the Author
Jaye Ryan, is a technogeek and freelance author who loves to write about mobile technology and developments for MobilePhones.org.uk.