Google’s unwrapped its latest software confectionary – dubbed Jelly Bean – and it’s smoother and slicker than any Android version yet.
What the Big G calls Project Butter aims to do away with Android lag for good by running operational tasks simultaneously, shaving precious milliseconds off transitions and launches. Jelly Bean’s also bringing some new tricks to the interface party, not least the ability to resize widgets to taste, automating the flow of other app icons on the same screen.
Sadly, there’s bad news for SwiftKey in terms of input – Google’s improved the keyboard and shrunk its voice database so that you can use voice typing even when there’s no data connection (although that's US English only).
Jelly Bean’s bringing instant picture reviewing to its camera app, too, and introducing Bluetooth pairing via Android Beam. Google is also answering Apple’s Notification Centre with live notifications that allow you to make phone calls, read emails, view (and share) pictures and respond to calendar invites without leaving the notifications pull-down. You’ll also be able to collapse and expand notification panels with a two-finger swipe.
Search has been rewritten from the ground up to incorporate Knowledge Graph. It also uses the same data to respond to voice searches with voice answers.
Jelly Bean’s going to be heading to so-called "core devices" (Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom and Nexus S) in mid-July although what that will translate to in terms of Australian dates remains to be seen. Google is also offering up a PDK (product development kit) for hardware manufacturers, so hopefully the rest of us won’t have to wait too long for our upgrades.
This article originally appeared at Stuff.tv