Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Walkthrough

I’ve had the pleasure to play with Android’s newest iteration Jelly Bean (4.1) for a few days now (thanks to XDA developers, of course) and figured I’d do our normal walkthrough when a new version of Android is released to showcase some of the new features of the OS compared to the last iteration (Android 4.0). In addition to some of the main features announced there’s also a few others that are worth mentioning. So here is the quick walkthrough of the new features in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Oh, and don’t worry, shouldn’t be as long as our 4.0 walkthrough.

If you find any other new features after playing with Jelly Bean, please post in the comments below and let others know.

Highlights

Performance

  • Firstly, the performance of the UI has been increased. Essentially everything is smoother and faster. Period.

UI Changes

  • Transitions between apps and especially when multitasking are sleeker.

Lock Screen

  • Added a “Liveness” check to the Face Unlock feature.
  • Face Unlock also has an X to close it if you don’t feel like waiting for it and want to go straight to your PIN or Pattern Unlock instead.

Notifications

  • Beginnings of text messages for each message directly in the notification shade.
  • Individual email subjects now show in notification shade.
  • Screenshots show a preview, as do any MMS or other images that you are notified of.
  • Date AND time are now shown at the top of the notification shade instead of just the date.

Homescreen

  • Resizing widgets now moves app shortcuts out of the way automatically.

Calendar

  • Holidays have been added.

Text Input / Messaging

  • Predictive text now learns as you type and guesses what the next word should be based on words you’ve used in the past.
  • Messaging now supports emoticons from iPhones. (Still not sure how you are supposed to send them back though).
  • Voice typing now works without an internet connection (saves the dictionary to the phone).

Camera

  • Camera has a new sliding transition when taking a picture.
  • Flicking from the side while in the camera app will take you to the camera roll.

Music

  • Music now drops in volume instead of silencing when you get a notification while it’s playing.

Play Store

  • Added Play Magazines, you can now purchase magazines from the Play Store.
  • Added TV to the Movies Play Store, you can now purchase TV episodes/seasons.

Google Search / Knowledge Graph

  • Google Search now has a voice that speaks back and mimics most of Siri’s features.

Google Now Cards

  • Cards appear as notifications whenever Google thinks they are pertinent to your current time and location (i.e. Weather card will show the weather at the beginning of the day, train notification just before you get to your normal train station, sports scores for your favorite sports teams, upcoming meeting, etc.)

  • Nurudin Jauhari

    Can you explain to us on your screenshot on your VIDEO.. does the Keyboard much better than Ice Cream Sandwich… and the words on above keyboard is predictable word such as on BlackBerry 10 (BBX)?

    • http://theunlockr.com David Cogen

      To be honest, I don’t usually use the predictive texting feature personally. But I definitely do notice that the words that show up there above the keyboard are much more intuitive than pre-4.1.

  • Marsh

    Question: In the new notification drop down, the first entry is expanded. It seems that the first want is always expanded, from watching your video and several others. Is there a way to turn that off? So that none are expanded until you perform the 2Finger gesture?

    I personally find this feature to be a small “privacy” issue. (for example: If I have a text message, with sensitive information it would then display the content of the SMS in the notification drop down.)

    • http://theunlockr.com David Cogen

      Hello Marsh,

      Firstly, thanks for joining in the convo.
      As for your question, as far as I’ve noticed it always expands them if there is just one notification. Once I get 3 or so then they are all collapsed (to save space on the notification bar I’d assume).
      As for the privacy issue, eh I get what your saying but you still at least have to pull down the notification bar so the person would have to be holding your phone, and if that was the case then they could just as easily click the Messaging app icon and see everything in one action as well, make sense?
      Just don’t pull down the notification bar if your girlfriend is looking over your shoulder when you get a text from your ex. :)

  • Marsh

    First: Thank you for the “walkthrough.” I was searching High and Low for a video demoing all of what Android 4.1 could do. And your video is the first to cover everything. (at least the first I’ve come across)

    Second: I just don’t understand why people continue to compare Google Now, to Siri. Android devices have had the “Voice Control” function before Siri was added to iOS. The only thing that has changed to Googles Voice Control is the voice that speaks back your search results, and the “Cards.”

    On the T-mobile myTouch, it has a dedicated button (a small green “G” on lower left) for activating voice control. ie: Text Frank I’ll be in the office asap. Would then send a text message to frank with the message outputted. Same would work for sending emails, making calls, adding dates to the calendar, opening apps, etc. Although I have not seen this feature on many other Android Devices, however it was there before Siri.

    Google Now is certainly more advanced than Siri, and is clearly more accurate/quicker. I just hope that Google continues to improve Google Nows features, and no courts force them to halt.

    • http://theunlockr.com David Cogen

      Hello again Marsh,

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it, try to cover as much as possible without going over that 15 min YouTube limit.
      I agree with the fact that Voice Control was before Siri and that they do very similar things. I do have to concede to a certain extent to the people that compare Siri to Google Now. Only reason I would is that there is a key thing that Siri did (besides the obvious talk back to you) and that’s bring certain info directly within the Siri app without having to interface with other apps. Voice control never did (or well at least). Google Now was the update that added that. When asking things like how tall is the empire state building, for example, you’ll get a detailed info without having to click on a website and search for the info. Make sense?
      This is just the beginning though, as Google gathers their statistics more and more things will bring up info directly into the card system instead of having to go to websites etc. (Which is a good and a bad thing, but we’ll leave that for another day).