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