While Android Jelly Bean is a minor upgrade over Ice Cream Sandwich it adds much needed speed and smoothness to an already powerful OS. Here we compare features of both, the older and the newest Android upgrade
It is a little unfair to compare Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) to Jelly Bean (JB), Jelly Bean is all that Ice Cream Sandwich is with some added butter and beans. But a tick is different from a tock, and though the tock contains everything that a tick has, yet they can both be compared as upgrades.
Ice Cream Sandwich was a major upgrade. It was a tock. It moved Android from three point something to four (Ice Cream Sandwich was Android 4.0). Jelly Bean on the other hand is merely four point something (Android 4.1). It moves the system forward, but it is not a drastic change. In fact, it offers only two really noteworthy improvements.
Project Butter and Google Now. The improved notification and the slight tinkering with the design is all good, and we also appreciate the improvement in Face Lock, but, well, this is tinkering. It is good and OK, and as MG Siegler would have us believe that this tinkering is indicative of the fact that the foundational software is robust and the only thing needed now is polish. That is what, according to Seigler, JB represents: Google’s attempt to polish the software. Seigler is of course right. But polishing the old is never quite as exciting as making new. Eventually the shine wears off, as Apple might be realising now.
Ice Cream Sandwich was Google’s attempt to make its somewhat chaotic OS more coherent. It did this by infusing it with a uniform design language – it even invented a new font for it called Robota (though many complained it was merely Sans Serif dressed up). In effect the Ice Cream Sandwich launch came to divide Android’s history, there was the pre ICS era, and then there was the post ICS era. Pundits agreed that in the post era, Android acquired a personality, it was sweeter, and gorgeous to behold.
Jelly Bean added much needed grace. The lag and stutter, the hiccups and the crashes that had dogged Android since its birth, giving it the reputation of a powerful but ungainly creature, had to be sorted out. Jelly Bean did just that. By fixing the default frame rate throughout the system at 60 fps, and by doing a lot of tweaking under the hood, Android was made smooth as butter, and finally a worthy alternative to iOS.
Google Now, sought to put a brain behind the system. The Now learns your quirks and habits. Your residence and your route. Your searches and your appointments, and accordingly gives you information before you ask for it. The voice search has seen a major leap. The voice that talks to you is more natural sounding that Siri. While this assistant does not do jokes, Google Now has been found to be more accurate and faster. You can not only dictate messages, but you can do it offline too. Though the full potential of Google Now is still to be harnessed, it has got off to a good beginning.
Jelly Bean also threw in a host of excellent small improvements. The already great notification centre is much better now. You can provide many tasks without going into the app from which the notification came. You can have offline maps. There is a predictive keyboard, etc. Yes, it is good, but it is still a tick. Let’s wait for the tock.