Google I/O: Android 4.1 Jellybean, Nexus 7 tablet, and more!

Google I/O: Android 4.1 Jellybean, Nexus 7 tablet, and more.

Our Mobile Nations sibling site, Android Central is LIVE at Google I/O (think Google's version of Apple's WWDC) so head on over there and get all the live coverage you can handle.

Then come back here for our quick take.

Android 4.1: Jellybean

Android 4.1, flavored as Jellybean, will be available in mid-July and will include a PDK (Platform Development Kit), which supposedly will help ODM's like HTC and Samsung get devices on the latest version of Android, faster. (Though there's no way to engineer motivation -- or lack thereof, unfortunately).

With Jellybean, Google finally invents proper framerate, physics, and touch performance. Seriously, this is awesome. It's the one thing that has stopped me from enjoying Android up until now. Previous versions were like nails on a chalkboard. This "project butter" is just what they needed to do. Kudos to Google.

They've also taken Voice, the Android version of Dictation, offline. That means the local device can parse basic commands, and not time out if there's no network connection.

Notifications are now more active, so you can interact with data right in the alert. Personally, it's a bit much, but way better than the almost non-existent iOS active notifications. Somewhere only slightly tempered from Android would be perfect.

Voice Search is Siri-like, with a robotic female voice looking up information and displaying it in widget form, right on the screen.

Google Now handles everything else. Also Siri-like, also map like, it has the transit directions iOS 6 maps no longer does.

Nexus 7

Nexus 7 is a 7-inch Google experience (stock Android 4.1) tablet made by Asus. Google highlighted reading, gaming, and a lot of other stuff that's fairly standard in tablets these days. What stood out for me was the magazine experience, which was consistent and sane. Newsstand on iOS is a mess of hidden, inconsistent, often annoying apps. Kudos to Google.

Nexus Q

It's not quite Apple TV, but more of an Android-powered cloud client that sits in your living room and interacts with your Android devices. In other words, an actual nexus for content.

However, $299 is a helluva price jump from a $99 Apple TV, and Google still hasn't learned to make experience cases the way Apple has.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 59 comments. Add yours.

Kaye says:

Sounds good so far! Before google gets flamed lets remember competition is great, especially if it pushes Apple to continue to raise the bar.

Yngwie says:

I agree. However nothing seems to push Apple to a fresh design. No matter how much awesome competition comes around , Apple is too stubborn and they stick to the original iOS design with just add-ons.
Apple , please make sure iOS 7 brings us something out of this world and blow us all away much like you did with the very first iPhone.

Kaye says:

Design as in a new UI? If so I'm with you in that it needs a bit of a refresh but I can understand why Apple is not changing it as my sister is a new iOS convert and did so specifically because the current UI is easier to understand then the various shades of android.

SockRolid says:

Let's see if Jellybean can push Android 4.x adoption past 7% (after more than seven full months of availability.)
Good. Luck. With. That.

SockRolid says:

(Note: that's barely 7% of the Android installed base. Not the vastly greater pad market.)

Bea says:

Let's see if IOS5S can get turn-by-turn on an iPhone4.
Good.Luck.With.That.

kch50428 says:

You don't need a new iOS to get turn-by-turn. You can have it now on 3GS and up. There.Are.Apps.For.That :)

Bea says:

You shouldn't need an "app for that". IOS5S should have it available for older models, and the 4 is not that old. At least when a newer Android OS becomes available for older models, ALL features are available.

Hagen says:

Apple needs to provide turn-by-turn on iPhone 4s? Why?

kch50428 says:

Why should something like turn-by-turn be baked into a device OS no matter who makes it?
That's what apps are for. Allow people to get the app that suits their needs.

Roshizzle731 says:

Most old Android phones can't even handle the new Android os's and even if they can it's 6 months later before they get them.

allmotor91 says:

When a newer android OS comes out you won't get it so It really doesn't matter.

cardfan says:

Sounds like they're trying to catch up to iOS. Still a long way to go though

Bea says:

"Catch up" in what way? Android is already ahead of IOS in features, and is widening the gap.

Yngwie says:

Cardfan is a good dude. He just likes to play the devils advocate here :D

james says:

dude they are leap years ahead of ios lol....the features in ios6 have been on android since 2010 and now with jelly bean apple needs to hurry the hell up.....but thats the good thing about android they give you something new every year so you never get bored its like buying a cool new phone all over again

kwaku says:

Have you forgotten the messy IOS so-called multi-tasking, the ugly notification system which only recently allows you to dismiss single notifications.....I can go on and on but you need to remember that when it comes to innovation Android moves fast, very fast. It may leave some few items behind cause it innovates so fast but compare to how much catch-up Apple has to do its minimal.

Macboy74 says:

Yes they do move fast. And that's their biggest flaw. Everything they do is beta. They rush everything old. New tech new software whatever they do it's right out to the public. You speak as if that's a good thing.

Pimp Lucious says:

Yet Apple takes years to introduce functionality found elsewhere and it's still lacking.

Troll_Hunter says:

Arrrr....I do smell me a troll...

RodneyJ725 says:

Why is Google/Android news on iMore anyway? I come here to read iOS related news. Merely being a competitor should not auto-qualify this as iOS news...

Yngwie says:

People complain if iMore has non-iOS related news. People complain if they only stick to iOS.
So Rene&Co are doomed no matter what they do.
Now I personally like it when they have all kinda news and cover everything happening in the mobile world. Those of you who don't like "unrelated news" can simply kiss my ... I mean can simply SKIP those news :) ;)

RodneyJ725 says:

I've heard no complaints about only iOS-related is being covered, and i'm quite sure you would find it hard to back that statement up. Saying one can skip an article is far too simple: there's a principle. The very premise of the site is all things iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. If I wanted deep Android coverage, I'd simply go to Android Central.

eikie says:

Because it shows what ios 6.x/7 will be like....

Kaye says:

Apple does no exist in a silo, competitor updates have an affect on Apple, particularly when that competitor is as fierce, competent and strategically positioned as Google/Android.
If the news doesn't interest you just skip the section and pick another post that better fits in with your interests.

RodneyJ725 says:

Hmm. I can see your point. Well said, Kaye.

Ryan says:

Looks like another Kindle Fire and Q seems pointless. But - I love Android too so I hope these products succeed.

Shameer M. says:

I'm generally not an Android fan but I must say what Google announced today looks really good.

Andrew says:

I'll start off by saying I am an Android fan, but I sometimes have to come here to read the news because I find our side to be way to far up our own a$$'es. It's always nice to see what's going on in our world from an outsider's eyes.

Guest 1 says:

As you can see in this very thread, there's rabid, blind fanboyism on both sides...

entwined82 says:

I love my iphone but for a tablet I prefer Android. I was using a first gen galaxy tab 7 but I'll probably sell that now and pick up the 16GB version of the Nexus 7. Looks really good.

dloveprod says:

That tablet sounds very nice for the price.

Shawn says:

And the fragmentation gets worse....

mojonation1487 says:

What's your point? It's a choice that EVERY consumer is aware of when they're buying the device. It's intentional. Just like apples fragmentation. SAME. EXACT. THING.

OrionAntares#CB says:

"However, $299 is a helluva price jump from a $99 Apple TV, and Google still hasn't learned to make experience cases the way Apple has."
Small problem with that statement. From the description of the features of the Q it sounds like this targets a higher market than what the sub-$99 "hockey pucks" are targeting. This seems aimed at the market that Sonos targets. Particularly if you look at this device: http://www.sonos.com/shop/products/connectamp

Dev says:

The most interesting thing about Jellybean is not mentioned in this article -- Google Now.
Some articles lump it in with Siri, but what is fascinating about Now is that can anticipate, providing contextually relevant additional answers based on an initial question, or answers to questions that you have not asked, but which your history indicates you need to know, e.g. showing traffic conditions between work and home at 5PM without having to ask.
This sort of anticipatory service is the hallmark of a good (human) personal assistant, but something gadget assistants have never tried, much less pulled off. Kudos to Google for giving it a shot. Now, 1) it has to work as advertised, 2) be a vehicle for relevant services, not just advertisements.
Even then, some people might find it more scary than anything else, but it seems the next logical step for any Phone/PDA with knowledge of the user.

Roshizzle731 says:

I'm willing to bet that your explanation of it is way better than it's actually going to work.

PhilH says:

It will probably work just fine. Remember this is the culmination of all the info Google gathers on you that the tinfoil hat folks like to talk about. According to them Google knows everything about you so it should be nothing for them to anticipate what you will be doing and have the info ready to go. Also if you remember Google now allows you to store your home and work locations on Maps. So thats probably one way it knows where you job is and from there it can tell when you go. And if you're at a transit terminal during normal commute hours then you must use public transit to get there. Its not that far of a stretch for this to be flawless.

mojonation1487 says:

and you already failed. Thousands are already using it and it works just as intended.

Roshizzle731 says:

I hope all this Android coverage doesn't make this site start lagging and force closing.

kch50428 says:

The Android OS has moved from dairy products to confections :)

frog says:

I find it mildly amusing that the major feature is a bug fix, reduced lag. Also they changed the default web browser, amazing stuff Google! Also it's interesting that Apple Maps 3D has far greater global coverage than Google, I didn't expect that. The Nexus Q is DOA, it can't even steam local content.

Guest says:

So it's mildly amusing when a featured update replaces the default browser for one that is better in every way, shape, and form, but it's EXCITING when a featured update replaces the default maps application for one missing features the old one had.
Makes perfect sense.

PhilH says:

I'd add on but honestly who even remembers what the new iOS features are now? They were pretty lame when announced and now completely overshadowed. Oh yea I remember now. You can ASK Siri more stuff now while Google Now simply tells you before you even have to ask.

OrionAntares#CB says:

I'm still waiting for Apple to fix their lag bugs iOS...

jeremy says:

android is by far the most advanced mobile OS for sure. ios6 is so behind compared to Jelly bean. pretty sad.

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Ashish says:

So finally google is trying to rectifying its mistakes, such as basic issues, frame rates of UI, and os updates, rather than adding tons of new features. But still ball is in the hand of manufactures (regarding update), lets the adoption rate, hope it increase from 7%. And nexus7, clearly not an iPad killer or competitor, its to target for kindle killer or competitor, so instead of going against apple they are going against amazon, and irony is both shares the same platform (android), but content store are different. It seems like google focus is different in tablet, they still have not figured out how to compete with apple for an iPad. What i would be interesting to see is the flagship tablet from google, like what microsoft is doing with surface, to set up the bench marks for the manufactures. With nexus 7 they are clearly setting the example, look we cant compete with ipad, so dont compete with them, rather attract the budget users. No offence to nexus 7 it seems to be a very good device in this price range, but i would be more interested to see a flagship device in iPad range.

Mac58 says:

I understand your logic, but take a second to look at the bigger picture. Some say the Kindle Fire is its own beats which I agree it is, however the Nexus 7 will be what the Kindle Fire cant be and what the Ipad will never be: Happy medium between the two at a affordable price (the price is what the Ipad wont be if you guys were wondering)
What I really wanted to ask is how does the Nexus 7 not compete with the ipad? The only difference between the two is rear facing camera and screen size. However both are HD displays and correct me if Im wrong, but they both have quad core CPU's (not sure if Ipad is quad core and the Nexus 7 has a 12 core GPU for gaming). Both are pushing the latest OS for the respective platforms. Google is pushing this as a Kindle Fire killer but the difference with it is its Google and therefore has access to Google play. The kindle Fire does not. This alone allows the Nexus 7 to do everything the Ipad can do (arguably better than the Ipad or worse depending on your side of the fence). SO that means you can get a budget tablet and do whatever you want with it. Yes you can stream movies, music, books magazine, etc. Or you can say screw that I want to take notes for school, I want to hangout with my friends on google +, or I just want to be able to play kick ass games on a mobile platform. You make the decision. You cant do that to the kindle out of the box. You must root and flash ICS or Honeycomb.
I think Google hit a home run with this because you are getting the best of both worlds, a ipad/kindle fire. Because the Nexus 7 can do what they both can do AND at a great price considering its half the price of the Ipad.

mojonation1487 says:

It's not meant to compete period. It's a developer device...

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