Today Google announced the latest version of its mobile operating system: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It’s an incremental upgrade — a number of valuable features have been added, but there’s no real revamp to be seen. Still, these features are incredibly competitive, and in many ways threaten Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 6.
Google’s voice transcription and search now has the look and feel of Siri’s UI, the camera app works in a more streamlined fashion with swipe to preview, and Google Now goes a step further than Siri to offer everything you need to know without you ever saying a word.
That said, here are the top five features of the new platform for your drooling pleasure. Check it out:
Despite the fact that there’s a clear shift over to voice, the keyboard still remains one of the most important features on a smartphone. We recently saw none other than RIM debut a slick new predictive keyboard that knows what’s being typed based on context, and now Google has done pretty much the same.
The new Jelly Bean keyboard lets you get started by typing a word or two, and then based on what you’ve said, Android makes a few educated guesses on what your next word will be and offers them up as options before you’ve even started typing the next few words.
Voice text has also been significantly improved and pretty much kicks Siri right where it hurts: in the data. Google has shrunk down the voice transcription software to fit inside the device itself, rather than over the network connection. This means that users can type with their voice whether they have service or not.
Android Beam has been a feature in Ice Cream Sandwich for a while, but it has ended up being even more limited than Samsung’s NFC application S Beam. But Google has smartly added some new faetures to the application to keep you as future-friendly as NFC itself.
Android Beam now lets you tap your phone to any other NFC-enabled Android Beam phone to share photos and videos. You can also automatically pair any NFC-capable Bluetooth device, including speakers, headsets, etc., with your phone by simply tapping the phone against the device. “It’s that easy.”