Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Google Says New 'Jelly Bean' Version of Android Coming in July

IDG News Service (06/27/12) James Niccolai

Google's next version of its Android operating system, Jelly Bean, features improvements to search, voice typing, and notifications.  Google says a significant new feature in Android 4.1 is Google Now, which uses a person's location, search history, and calendar entries to offer more pertinent search results.  For example, Google Now learns a user's normal commute to work and can check traffic reports to recommend a faster route when there is one available.  Allowing Google Now to access a user's location, search, and calendar entries is likely to make some concerned about privacy, but Google executives emphasize that this feature is optional.  Jelly Bean also features built-in speech recognition software so that users will be able to type using their voice when they are offline.  In addition, Jelly Bean's Android Beam function is improved to enable the exchange of photos and videos, and users will be able to connect their smartphone to an external device such as a speaker by tapping the phone against it.  Google also says that Jelly Bean's new notification system means that users will not have to open separate applications to act on those notifications.

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