Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Review

Google’s Nexus 7 tablet has delivered quite the package of first, heralding the company’s first own-brand tablet, the first high-spec tablet to come in below $200 and perhaps most importantly of all, the first in the world to boast Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

With regard to the tablet itself, the Nexus 7 has been called everything from an iPad-killer to a Kindle Fire clone and all else in-between, but there’s simply no denying the appeal of a quad-core Google tablet for $199. However, we all know at this stage that neither a big-league name nor a biblical spec-sheet can be taken for granted as a sign of greatness, as the overall user-experience has always been the most important element of all.

And therefore ladies and gentlemen, it might be fair to say that the most important first of all is Android 4.1 Jelly Bean…so how does it stack up?

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Review

An ICS Overhaul

Well, rumor had it that Google had little intention of anything other than prettying-up its existing Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS and repackaging it as a brand-new piece of kit. First impressions however dictate otherwise as for those not expecting to notice the difference in an instant, Jelly Bean really does pack a wallop.

True, it is certainly less than revolutionary and not what you’d call a full and frank rebuild, but the step forward is indeed a significant one.

With a good UI it is of course about far more than looks alone, which is why the general tweaks and upgrades in terms of performance and efficiency make the biggest and most noticeable difference of all.

Google gave their Jelly Bean efforts the delicious title of “Project Butter” which essentially refers to the way in which they were looking to make the experience as smooth and slick as possible. It would seem they’ve accomplished this in spades as transitions and animations have been bumped up to 60 frames per second – even if you’ve no idea what that means the different is stunning.

Google Now

A new assistant has been added in the form of Google Now, which uses search data and the general habits of the user to learn exactly what it is that makes them tick, offers its own suggestions and enables successful and useful searches to be carried out faster. One of those features newbies will likely scoff at as something unnecessary and complicated, Google Now is spectacularly easy to use.

Notification Bar

The notification bar sported by Jelly Bean is quite simply the improved, useful and friendly example most of us had already expected to come along with ICS. It is also much more convenient, as when you receive emails for example you are not only shown names, but instead a few lines from the email and other details including inbox status and so on. Notifications can also be shrunk by pinching.

Widgets

Widgets have become more adaptive and interactive than ever before with Jelly Bean, allowing users at long last to create their home screens EXACTLY as they want them – rather than just adequately. Specific widget-wise, Jelly Bean offers an abundance to say the least.

To Summarize

It’s still too early days to really probe deeply into Jelly Bean for those bugs and gremlins we’ll no doubt pick up in time, but it is very difficult even after a brief inspection not to be entirely won-over. It is essentially like the OS ICE could have been if it had been extensively optimized and polished, which combined with the new Google Nexus 7 adds up to a colossal success story in the making.

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