Google has officially announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the next major update for the Android mobile operating system. While it isn’t necessarily what you’d consider a major leap (made obvious by the slight version number change), it does come with a number of useful new stuff. Project Butter is Jelly Bean’s biggest addition and an improvement that everyone should be able to experience when using a device running on Jelly Bean.
Project Butter is basically a set of improvements that promise a better UI experience. Thanks to a lowered input lag, triple buffering for the graphics, and a CPU push whenever you’re touching the screen, Project Butter basically makes the interface “fast & smooth” (…as butter. Get it?), delivering chop-free animations, higher frame rates, and a more responsive touch interface.
Jelly Bean also introduces Google Now, a new feature that basically makes your smartphone seem a little bit smarter by attempting to give you more relevant information based on location and previous searches. Your phone can now update you on how your favorite team is doing if they’re currently playing, check out traffic and commute times, remind you when you need to get a move on to catch a meeting based on your commute time, or by giving you a heads-up on flight info and delays when you’re at an airport.
The new OS update also comes with a couple of voice-based improvements. Voice search has been improved with faster answers delivered to you Siri-style with its own voice, while the Dictation feature now works even when you’re offline.
Other minor tweaks include improvements to the homescreen and notification tray, camera and gallery applications, the addition of app encryption, and smart app updates that’ll let you download smaller files whenever an app gets updated.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is due out as an OTA update in July, and is set to hit the Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom and the Nexus S first.