Google I/O 2012 has kicked off today and in the opening keynote, the Android team officially announced the next evolution of Android, 4.1 Jellybean. One of the first announcements was Project Butter. Great, another food related product name that’s going to make us all hungry for something not-so-good for us.
Anyways, Project Butter is essentially a new processing framework for Android and makes it run much faster. CPU and graphics are said to work much better together and scrolling and transitions will run more smoothly for users as well. Another big announcement is improved voice-to-text. Anyone who has used the built-in voice-to-text and voice search on Android, is familiar with how good and accurate it is. Now, it’ll be even better.
For users who are offline, you’ll now be able to use voice-to-text without having to be connected to the Internet through Wifi, 3G, or 4G. There’s also 18 more input languages for users. The camera app has also been improved, can pinch to see the camera and gallery side-by-side. Android Beam, the recently introduced feature that allows you to touch one Android device with another and share information, has also been improved. You can now share files between phones.
The notifications system has been updated where notifications from specific apps will be grouped together that helps take up less space, control music apps, and ability to expand and collapse notifications. Search is now improved and essentially gives you more information on something without having to dig and scroll through the search.
Lastly, the Android team mentioned a new feature called Google Now. It uses past actions which you can access from the search box or by swiping up. Jellybean will be rolling out to the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, and Motorola Xoom mid-July, however, the APK is rolling out today so manufacturers can get ahold of it. All in all, these look to be great new features coming to Android and making it more useful. Most people will be pleased just with the speed improvements, though the improved voice-to-text may encourage more users to take advantage of it.