Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Google presented its latest operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, to a crowd on Wednesday at its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

At the Google I/O conference, a demonstration compared phones running on the Ice Cream Sandwich and the Jelly Bean, respectively, side-by-side.

“It’s the fastest version yet with a ton of improvements,” said Hugo Barra, director of product management with Android. Text input is better and the “keyboard learns intelligently over time,” he told the crowd.

Google also boasted the new OS has a better user interface, better search and Google Now. There is also a Siri competitor that answers questions asked aloud and sends users to a related webpage.

Google Now is a feature that uses things like search history and your calendar to figure out when you commute and can tell you how long the commute on your usual route will be and offer a better route, if there is one. It will also show you bars and restaurants around you that are good to eat at. Need a suggestion?

Google Now can recommend what to order. From flights, bus schedules and sports — Google Now keeps users updated in real-time.

Jelly Bean will begin rolling out over-the-air updates for Galaxy Nexus, Xoom and Galaxy S starting in mid-July, but it’s available Wednesday to developers.

Google confirmed the launch of a new OS on Tuesday (the expected Jelly Bean OS) with this delicious monument:

Each of Google’s operating systems are named after a dessert or snack.

The company tipped off the public to this about a week ago when the Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ phone using Jelly Bean showed up briefly on Google Play before it was taken down. From Google Play, it appeared that the company planed to sell the phone with its new OS directly, like Apple does. The latest version of Jelly Bean was speculated to be called Android 4.1 but some said that was a code name for what was actually Android 5.1. It was reported in May that Google would be giving the OS to smartphone makers prior to its official release in order to quell the platform’s fragmentation problem.

In the past, Google would partner with one smartphone maker to release an official phone running its latest operating system the phone would have the name “Nexus” in it. For Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), Google partnered with Samsung to create the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Google’s new strategy is said to be selling unlocked phones directly to consumers. An unlocked phone requires no specific provider, so users have the freedom to insert their own GSM SIM card. Unlocked devices are typically more expensive because they’re not tied to a carrier.