#io12 – Google reveals Android Jelly Bean, to begin rolling out in July

27 Jun 2012

Google has revealed that the next version of Android – Jelly Bean – will begin rolling out as an over-the-air update to Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Xoom devices next month.

At Google I/O in San Francisco, California, today, the internet giant explained that last year Android surpassed 100m activated devices. Today, the latest milestone is 400m devices.

Director of product management at Google Hugo Barra revealed that every day 1m new Android devices are being activated.

Google engineering director Dave Burke revealed the new Jelly Bean OS will improve CPU utilisation and in terms of graphics will have a higher frame rate.

Burke said Jelly Bean boasts a more intelligent dictionary to make typing more accurate.

Barra revealed new controls for sharing and reviewing photos, including a nifty feature that brought up a film strip-style review of photos.

He explained that every day more than 1m near field communications (NFC) Android devices are shipping every week since Android Beam was introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich last year.

With Jelly Bean, users will be able to share videos and photos by just tapping one device off another. He added that NFC-enabled headsets and other peripherals will be activated in the same manner by just tapping devices.

Google Now

Another new feature will be the ability to expand or collapse notifications by sliding fingers up and down the screen.

Google Now is a new feature that learns from users and presents need-to-know information on special cards on the screen.

Jelly Bean will come with voice search capabilities that will rival Apple’s Siri and Google was able to ask questions like ‘what is the definition of a robot’ to be responded with a female voice giving a clear definition accompanied by a card full of essential information. A swipe gesture would lead the user directly to a Google search on the topic.

Another interesting feature of Google Now is the self-learning aspect. If you have an appointment to keep and are en route, it will make your smartphone smart enough to figure out the fastest route to get there and if you are in a restaurant, for example, it will highlight what food types the restaurant is best known for.

Google Now will also work and learn users’ preferences in areas like sports and travel.

Barra said Jelly Bean’s SDK will be made available today as a developer preview and in July will begin rolling out to Samsung Nexus and Motorola Xoom devices over-the-air.

Below: a video outlining some of Google Now’s capabilities


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years