Google announces next generation Android operating system, dubbed Jelly Bean

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On June 27th, Google announce the newest Android operating system at Google I/O. Google I/O is a conference for developers held yearly in San Francisco. The newest OS, called Jelly Bean (4.1), is an incremental update adding and improving features of Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS 4.0). 

Yesterday's keynote at I/O started off with the introduction of Jelly Bean and Project Butter. Project Butter is the effort to make the OS faster, more fluid, and smooth (like butter). They demoed how much smoother Jelly Bean is compared to ICS. Below are my notes about some of the changes announced at the keynote: 
  • Home screen changes include automatic widget resizing when moving or adding widgets, icons rearrange automatically to make room for widgets
  • Offline voice typing
  • New languages supported
  • Predictive keyboard, will predict what words you may want to use next as you're typing other than just autocorrect. Similar to Swiftkey, which is the keyboard I currently use
  • Camera: faster picture review without going into the gallery, swipe up picture to delete (can undo delete)
  • Offline Maps: save regions in Google Maps of areas you frequent that will display when there is poor or no data connection
  • Expanded notifications, top notification is expanded, they are collapsible, actionable, two finger gesture to expand
  • Google Now and Voice Search: new UI, faster voice search (very Siri like, great sounding voice, not as digital sounding), cool local search and information, search information is displayed on a "Card" and can be swiped away to view Google search results (very WebOS like)

Jelly Bean will be available as an over-the-air (OTA) update in mid-July on Galaxy Nexus/Nexus S GSM phones and Xoom Tablets. There is no word from Verizon Wireless or Sprint when the update will be available for CDMA versions of the the Galaxy Nexus. Jelly Bean will also ship on the Nexus 7, Google's first Nexus tablet that was announced yesterday at Google I/O as well. 

There is a leaked version of Jelly Bean that is currently available online and is reportedly working on GSM and CDMA versions of the Galaxy Nexus. I will probably wait to update to make sure there aren't any bugs in the leaked version. Stay tuned for updates as they arise.

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