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My Top 5 Favorite Android Jelly Bean Features

Eric McBride
18

 

Android Jelly Bean was just announced less than a month ago, but amazingly, Galaxy Nexus owners were able to get their hands on the preview version less than 24 hours after it was announced. Even more amazing is that the official update has already began rolling out to unlocked Galaxy Nexus devices, and after spending a few weeks on Android Jelly Bean, I wanted to share 5 Jelly Bean features that I’m pretty sure most of our readers will really like (in no particular order). This is undoubtedly the best version of Android ever released, and although it may not firstly appear to be so much different than Ice Cream Sandwich, the differences are definitely there.

Notification Bar

As you can see from my screenshot, the notification bar has been revamped and seriously improved. Android has already been great managing notifications, and I honestly didn’t know how it could get any better. Well it can, and it has. The previews for the notifications are now displayed in a way that lets you receive more detail about the actual notification without even going into it. And what’s EPIC is that if you long press on the notification, a box that says “app info” opens. From there, you can tick or untick a box that says “show notifications”. Tired of getting notified of adverts from apps? With this nifty new option, you’ll never have to worry about it (or download an ad blocker) again.

Google Voice Search

Forget Siri, forget S Voice, and forget Vlingo. I have never been a fan of using any voice services, and probably used my Google Voice Search a total of 5 times in 3 years. But with Jelly Bean, things have completely changed. Honestly guys, the Voice Search is seriously GOOD. I mean, really really good. It sounds like a human as well. Want to send an email? Just say it. Want to hear Linkin Park? Just say it. Want to know the meaning of life? Just ask. Want to know what 168,412 x 17 is? Just ask, and you’ll get a nice, normally spoken, human sounding answer. Emails via voice work great as well (as shown in the screenshot), and it’s not just limited to the functions I just mentioned. For a complete list of commands that work with the new Google Voice Search, download the Nexus 7 handbook from from the Play Store for free here. Google’s Jelly Bean Voice Search = Oh so WINNING.

Google Now

Google Now is a really nice function that lets Google assist you in everyday tasks. By long pressing the home key, an option pops up that allows you to swipe up and access Google Now. Google Now learns your habits (with your permission), and will alert you when going home if there are traffic jams. It can keep scores of your favorite sports teams and let you know when they play, can show weather conditions, and even recommend popular places around you when traveling. It still has improvements that can be made, but it has a hell of a lot of potential, and already works really well.

Speed, Smoothness, and Small UI Changes

Last, but certainly not least, is the speed and smoothness. Jelly Bean isn’t only faster than ICS, it’s WAY smoother. Lag? Put it this way: I have 14 widgets running on 5 homescreens on my Nexus, and it’s safe to see that I see little to none in terms of lag. Sure, when a widget is updating, I get the occasional stutter. But all in all, it seems that Google has made some serious UI enhancements for better/faster/smoother swiping, transitions, and scrolling. This isn’t a subtle change, and is something you will immediately notice after booting up for the first time.

It's available for Nexus devices NOW

This might seem like a shady reason, and isn't really a "feature", but this one of the many reasons why I love owning Nexus devices. I was running the official preview build of Jelly Bean less than 24 hours after it was announced. That's right. No waiting for OEMs or carriers. And for those with unrooted devices, the update has already began rolling out. If having speedy updates means something to you as a user, I simply can't recommend a Nexus device enough. 

I could go on and on about differences between ICS and JB, but these 5 changes are what really made a big impact on my daily use. JB will be rolling out to multiple devices in the coming months, so be sure to let us know what you think of it and what some of your favorite features are when it hits your device!

Picture credits: Article header - www.androidguys.com - screenshots from myself

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Comments

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  • Ti Mo Jul 16, 2012 Link

    Hey my Gmail notifications don't work.. Turned them on but they just don't show up.. Got any help?

    And do you ever see anything else but the weather card at Google now? I have never had any other card before...

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  • Eric McBride Jul 16, 2012 Link

    You have to make sure all the voice settings are on "US English" for the cards to work. Sports scores don't work for me, but I think they only work in the US at this time. I get weather and popular places around me, but thats pretty much it.

    And for the Google notifications, make sure that box ISN'T ticked, and that "Mail" is checked under "accounts"-"Google".

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  • Ti Mo Jul 16, 2012 Link

    Yeah I got it all on English US, but even if I was at the Brandenburger Tor it still would only show me the weather....

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  • Eric McBride Jul 16, 2012 Link

    Follow all these steps in the first post of this link on XDA and it should work:

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1740542

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  • Ti Mo Jul 16, 2012 Link

    I know man I did that ghe first day :D still, only weather.

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  • Eric McBride Jul 16, 2012 Link

    Damn. Weird man. Which JB ROM are you running?

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  • Tyler Jul 16, 2012 Link

    What is that Speech type bubble with the phone in it?

    And...I'm not trolling but I thought this was funny.

    "Jelly Bean isn’t only faster than Jelly Bean, it’s WAY smoother."

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  • Ti Mo Jul 16, 2012 Link

    What speech bubble?

    And I'm on Bigxies

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  • Eric McBride Jul 16, 2012 Link

    @Tyler - LOL! Sorry about that bro. Should have read "ICS" not Jelly Bean. I corrected it now. Thanks for telling me!

    I'm not too sure of the bubble your referring to. Which screenshot is it in?

    @Ti Mo- That ROM is great , but this one is HANDS DOWN the best JB ROM out right now:

    http://www.droidhive.com/forums/index.php?/topic/1351-[ROM]-KANGBANG-[JB-4.1.1]

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  • Ti Mo Jul 16, 2012 Link

    Whats the difference bewteen those 2 except for the Beats Audio?
    Cause I dont want the permanent menu softkey

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  • Tyler Jul 16, 2012 Link

    @Eric - Home screen shot. To the right of the app menu button. Also in your notification bar next to Pedro work.

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  • Ti Mo Jul 16, 2012 Link

    Thats whatsapp. Texting app that uses the Internet, so you can text for free if you have a data plan. Extremely popular in germany

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  • Tyler Jul 16, 2012 Link

    @TiMo - Thanks! I've been going over my 1000 text limit lately. This should remedy that.

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  • Eric McBride Jul 16, 2012 Link

    Exactly. Can't live without my whatsapp!

    Timo, you can always flash different soft keys like I did. The ROM has tons of speed tweaks and enhancements, while the one you have now is mostly stock.

    Trust me...its worth flashing. Its also themed.

    Make a android backup and try it out!

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  • Ti Mo Jul 16, 2012 Link

    Ok I'll try it, thanks for the tip!

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  • Eric McBride Jul 16, 2012 Link

    No problem! Use Zip Themer to flash the new buttons! Everything you need, including soft keys, can be found here:

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1413582

    Tyler, whatsapp is AMAZING, and works for android, iPhone, blackberry, and other OS. Bit keep in mind that your friends have to also have it installed! If they do, you can SMS and MMS and it costs nothing extra. It just goes off your data plan.

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  • nate Jul 16, 2012 Link

    I installed the early build of jelly bean that was released early, but I couldn't send picture messages or texts longer than one text worth. This happened on wifi and 3g with my nexus. anybody having the same issues or have a build that is not experiencing this?

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  • Eric McBride Jul 16, 2012 Link

    The build I recommended in the comment above is bug free and runs great!

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