Saturday 21 July 2012

Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean begins rolling out for the Nexus S

The day has finally arrived for Nexus S owners to join the Jelly Bean club. Google has started seeding the update over the air (OTA) in select regions and as far we can tell, users are starting to get the update. As always, Google is dispatching the update in batches so if you haven’t received a notification yet, hang tight, you’ll get it. If you’re the impatient type, then you can also grab the update from Google directly and flash via CWM. It’s best if you Google around for the steps on how to do it but here’s the gist of it – simply copy the ‘zip’ files in the root of your internal storage, boot into CWM and flash. The update is 114M in size and brings the build version of the Nexus S to JRO03E. The update should simply upgrade the phone from ICS to Jelly Bean so you shouldn’t lose any data.

For those not in the loop, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is the successor to Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich that they launched last year. Jelly Bean builds on top of Ice Cream Sandwich, which makes everything smoother, faster and more fluid. Notifications are now more dynamic as well. For instance, if one is late for a meeting or missed a call, then they can send an e-mail or call directly from notifications, without having to open the app. With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Google claims that the keyboard is smarter and more accurate, and can predict the user’s next word. Another interesting feature is that voice typing is faster, working even when one does not have a data connection. Google claims, “Today’s smart devices still rely on you to do pretty much everything—that is, until now. Google Now is a new feature that gets you just the right information at just the right time. It tells you today’s weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work or your favorite team's score as they’re playing. There’s no digging required: cards appear at the moment you need them most.”

Here are some of the key changes from the official changelog:

With Jelly Bean, blind users can use 'Gesture Mode' to reliably navigate the UI using touch and swipe gestures in combination with speech output.
TalkBack, a screenreader for Android, now supports gestures to trigger actions, navigate applications, and traverse text.
Browser has improved performance, CPU and memory efficiency. With better performance for animations and HTML5 canvases and an updated JavaScript Engine (V8), pages load faster and feel smoother.
Browser now has better HTML5 video support, and has a new user experience. Just touch the video to play and pause, and smoothly transition into and out of fullscreen mode.
Calendar is more buttery. Content fades in, animations are sprinkled throughout, and swiping/paging between days is smoother.
You can now swipe from the camera viewfinder to quickly review photos you've taken without having to leave the camera app. You can swipe back to the camera viewfinder to start snapping photos again.
When taking a photo, a new animation sweeps your photo off the screen. There is now a new paging animation when swiping between photos.
You can now enter text in one of 18 new input languages, including Persian, Hindi and Thai. Additional Indic languages Kannada, Telugu, and Malayalam are now supported by the platform.
You can use custom keyboard input styles for more than 20 languages, with keymaps for QWERTY, QWERTZ, AZERTY, Dvorak, Colemak, and PC styles.
Notifications from the same application are grouped together, and the first item is automatically expanded. You can also pinch notifications to expand or collapse them.

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