Well, now we know more about Android 4.1 – also known as Jelly Bean. Google has shown off the new update at its Google I/O keynote, and introduces a faster and smoother interface, new things for app developers and a better way to update apps from Google Play.
The company has revealed what Project Butter was – a way to get the interface to have the lowest touch latency in an effortless and intuitive user interface. Every animation on the UI now has a constant frame rate and introduces triple buffering to have consistent rendering that makes scrolling and other animations feel smoother.
For notifications, Jelly Bean introduces larger and richer notifications to users that can be expanded and collapsed with a simple two-finger gesture. You can also add actions to your notifications, such as reply or answer calls. What’s more important is that developers can take full advantage and customise their own notification messages to include their actions or be more graphical in notifying you of something.
Android Beam gets an improvement – you can now share images and videos via Bluetooth with a simple tap, and you will also be able to pair Bluetooth devices with a tag.
For apps, there is now a new “Cloud Messaging” service that lets them send data without syncing to users. This is free for all developers with no limits. There is also app encryption for all paid apps, so that reduces piracy of such apps.
Finally, there is “Smart App Updates” where it will only download what has been changed on the app, not the entire thing again. This means if you want to update Angry Birds, you only need to download 1/3 of the app because that’s the only portion that needs to be updated. Google will check this automatically and it will give you some extra data if you’re on a cap. Smart App Updates will be available from Gingerbread and above.
Gingerbread will be rolled out via over-the-air downloads in mid-July for select phones and tablets. The SDK preview is out now.