Android 4.1, also known as “Jelly Bean,” is amongst Google’s new sensations that made a strong impression at the I/O conference. The company currently plans to launch the updated operating system in July, along with its complementary SDK software.
For the time being, Android 4.1 will only be available on the Nexus 7 and a selective number of Android-powered mobile systems. Given Android’s well established reputation, various sources predict 2013 to be the earliest year by which Jelly Bean will be widely adopted by mass consumer mobile devices. A variety of modifiable upgrades, used for customizing the Android interface, will also be released within the same year.
As announced during I/O, the latest version of the Android OS promises a handful of new features as well as major improvements. Amongst the most notable upgrades is the120fps refresh rate, which allows media to stream seamlessly on smart TVs and motion capturing to be implemented more smoothly. To facilitate user-to-user interaction, Google also applied updates to common Android features such as photo sharing, voice recognition, offline management, and visual rendering. These improvements are intended to both make Jelly Bean accessible to the masses and fix a variety of issues that were prominent in Android 4.0.
In a move clearly inspired by the Apple’s Siri, Google has unsurprisingly decided to incorporate into Jelly Bean a voice based, interactive software known as “Google Now.” With this software, users can orally command their phones to perform functions such as system navigation, language exchange and location finding, or have it carry out simple tasks like email checking and instant messaging. Like Siri, “Google Now” can essentially be perceived as an electronic “assistant” for Android 4.1 users, and is likely to become one of Jelly Bean’s major selling points upon the system’s release.
Google Glasses: The Next Technological Breakthrough?
As was the case with Jelly Bean, Google Glasses is another major I/O conference highlight to receive vast amounts of attention. With the appearance of something that came right out of a sci-fi feature, this sleekly designed set of glasses gives users the ability to digitally record, capture, and share everything around them. While Google has not confirmed plans to distribute the product on a massive scale, the company has already begun offering several developer parties a chance to pre-order the glasses at a price of $1500.
Spec-wise, Google Glasses is equipped with a small camera-like projector, and has a tiny hardware component that can be controlled through the touch of a finger or by oral command. Next to the glasses’ camera is an embedded 800mAh battery, which, according to Trendinsider, will last about 5 hours per use. While the battery hours are not ideal as hoped, it should give users sufficient time to make the best use of the gadget in a given day.
Nexus 6 & Nexus 7 ?
Having talked about both Google’s Android 4.1 and Google Glasses, let us digress to an interesting discussion regarding Google’s 7-inch tablet. One question many seem to be asking upon the tablet announcement is, why the name “Nexus 7”?
Given Google’s tendency to be creative with its products, we believe the tablet’s name to be more than just a direct reference to its size. The company’s previous hardware products, in chronological order, are: Google G1, Nexus One, Nexus S, and Galaxy Nexus. Google’s 7-inch tablet is technically the fifth hardware device produced by the company. If so, why wasn’t the tablet granted the title of, say, “Nexus 5”? Or “Nexus 6”?
While we have no answer for Nexus 5, we believe Google’s decision to skip on “Nexus 6” may have something to do with Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller, Blade Runner. For those unfamiliar with the film, “Nexus 6” is the label given to group of human replicants considered to be a menace to society. Harrison Ford plays the main character in the story, and spends a good time of the film tracking down, as well as killing, the Nexus 6 replicants. Given the permanent “retirement” many of the replicants were put through, the term “Nexus 6” is understandably the last name Google would want associated with their new product.