back to article Android 4.1 Jelly Bean review

Only eight months have passed since I took a shufti at Ice Cream Sandwich, back then it was the new version 4.0 of the Android operating system for mobile devices. A few days ago, my Asus Google Nexus 7 tablet landed on the doormat. It's preinstalled with Jelly Bean, the ICS replacement and lends itself to poking with the …

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Anonymous Coward

Better put the kettle on

ICS released 8 months ago, yet it took 5 months to reach my phone!

JB now released, look forward to using it in March 2012 when I finally get the upgrade.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN my phone is not compatible!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Better put the kettle on

Will it suck the life frce out of my HTC Sensation like the ICS update did?

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Trollface

Re: Better put the kettle on

ICS released 8 months ago, yet it took 5 months to reach my phone!

JB now released, look forward to using it in March 2012 when I finally get the upgrade.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN my phone is not compatible!

You going back in time then Mr?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Better put the kettle on

Must be my reality distortion field... 2013 I mean.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Better put the kettle on

The stop cheapskating on your product purchases.

If you want the Apple-like update experience, the ONLY way to achieve that is via a network agnostic Nexus device.

Anything else, you are at the mercy of the phone manufacturers and networks. You might want to consider that when you cheapskate on your phone purchase next time. Put up or shut up as they say....

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Unhappy

@AC 07:12 Re: Better put the kettle on

My HTC Incredible had the life force and the battery charge sucked out of it by the ICS update. I deeply regret doing it. If anybody is running Gingerbread on an HTC Incredible, I advise that you do not 'update' it. Apart from the sluggishness and the increased battery drain, you'll have to get used to some UI changes that are simply annoying.

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JDC
Unhappy

Re: Better put the kettle on

"network agnostic Nexus device" - like my Nexus One, which is no longer supported then?

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WTF?

Re: Better put the kettle on

"Anything else, you are at the mercy of the phone manufacturers and networks. You might want to consider that when you cheapskate on your phone purchase next time. Put up or shut up as they say...."

Hi Barry. Nexus devices are rarely cutting edge - they seem more like a reference design for developers, or even for other manufacturers. They often lack some features that other, more expensive, Android smart phones have. People who buy a mid/high-end HTC, Samsung, or Sony phone are hardly 'cheapskates'.

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404
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Re: Better put the kettle on

Question: Did you back up and do a factory reset on the HTC after the upgrade?

I know that my Droid razr was acting squirrelly until I did so - battery usage is now better than Gingerbread and some other little issues (email quit etc) did straighten out.

Not sure that this might help, but throwing it out there in any case.

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Happy

Re: Upgrade when?

Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S3 both updated the weekend following release.

No noticeable 'carrier delay' with Samsung / T-mobile...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Better put the kettle on

Is it cheapskating? some think that the Google UI is dull and the OEM versions are better. They have to offer something to get people onto their platform.

Personally I think these vendors need to contribute back to Android and stop being so petty. Can you imagine the mess Linux would be in if big companies like IBM didn't contribute their work back to the kernel?

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Re: Better put the kettle on

On my Sensation, it improved performance and increased battery life.

The only drawback is that Sense 3.5 is a bit bloated and occassionally either getting kicked out of memory or kicks my podcast and audiobook players out of memory, other than that

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FAIL

@JDC

And the iPhone, iPhone 2 and iPhone 3 aren't supported by new versions of iOS either, your point?

With Nexus, as long as the hardware is up to the job, you will get the updates. If the new version requires additional memory or extra hardware that aren't in the old device, there isn't a lot anybody can do about it.

If you buy a carrier phone, you get the updates as and when the carrier sees fit, if at all. I went halfway, I bought a carrier free non-Nexus phone... I'll probably go for a Nexus the next time around. That said, htc have sent me 4 Android updates and over half a dozen firmware updates since I bought my Sensation last Autumn.

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Re: Better put the kettle on

It took a couple of weeks to reach my Galaxy S3 - courtesy of CyanogenMod.

Bloody lovely it is too.

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Facepalm

Re: Better put the kettle on

And here was I thinking you were Marty McFly behind that mask.

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Boffin

Re: Better put the kettle on

Odds are there is already a AOSP rom or CyanogenMod 10 nightly floating about for your device somewhere. Forget the kettle, time a bright young lad like you learned to get his hands dirty.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Better put the kettle on

LOL, someone else that doesn't "get" Android.

If you don't like stock Android ala Nexus, then download one of the many launchers, like GoLauncher for example...

You can change pretty much anything you want to with Android, or just leave it as stock if you prefer...

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Pint

Re: going all-in for a carrier free more expensive smart phone

Good idea. That way your phone will be satisfyingly up to date for up to about 24 months, instead of just up to about two years. Much better...

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Anonymous Coward

Best possible feature they forgot to mention...

Does it actually make you real jelly beans?

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Happy

Re: Best possible feature they forgot to mention...

Of course it does, in the same way that Mac OS X Snow Leopard allows you to summon a living, breathing panthera uncia using a secret keyboard combination.

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"Far more useful is the new off-line voice typing facility"

Now that is seriously useful. Its not everyone who is particularly comfortable with a virtual keyboard for more than a couple of sentences. Many are of course (I am myself) but there plenty who aren't and I have no doubt that they will welcome this aspect. Apart from anything else there are many people who, for reasons of age and/or infirmity rather than preference, find using an on-screen keyboard very difficult indeed.

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Re: "Far more useful is the new off-line voice typing facility"

I'm also thinking that maybe some kind of live subtitling app would be possible, very handy for the deaf I would imagine.

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Re: "Far more useful is the new off-line voice typing facility"

Trying to recreate a physical keyboard on a touchscreen will never work properly so all touchscreen keyboards of that type are a bit rubbish. I've recently switched over to using Swype which is a far better way to type on a touchscreen and surprisingly accurate. If you haven't tried it then it's well worth a go.

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Yes to this

Swype is brilliant, ppl are amazed when I show them it in action. I don't know why they've gone down the Google route of being in perpetual beta.

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Re: Yes to this

I tried all the keyboards around a year or so back and found Swype worked out a lot slower than Swiftkey for me- the super-predictive approach finds words after far less work and if you have to send the same message twice it's faster than copying/pasteing. Pretty neat technology.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes to this

I remember Swype seeming very novel and clever a few years ago. However, I realised that I can get much higher speed and better accuracy with a properly trained Swiftkey; I have the phone and the tablet version now, and given that I got that 15 quid store credit with my Nexus 7, didn't resent having to spring for three quid for the separate tablet edition :D

That said, I did try another beta of Swype recently, it's still not bad, but the novelty has worn off a wee bit.

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Re: Yes to this

swype is good when it works are the absolute pits when it doesnt. I wish it was adaptive, I never type al but always all and recorrct. It still doesnt seem to get out the of the habit of choosing al.

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Re: Yes to this

Swype needs to learn that, for example 'this' is a more commonly used word than 'thus'. Seriously, who thought that'd be a better guess for the word you wanted?

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FAIL

Re: Yes to this

You typed that using a swype keyboard didn't you?

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The clever 16 YO genius Dev on modaco already has a working pre-alpha version for the Orange Monte Carlo

a 800MHz phone running about 95% as intended - if only qualcom would create / release drivers for ARM6 phones.

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" Nevertheless, the update delivers increased performance and new features in spades"

Not wanting to be picky, but you just reviewed this on new (quad-core) hardware, can you justify the "increased performance" part of this statement? How much of the experiance is based on being able to dedicate a core to UI handling without impact on other tasks (not sure if it does that, purely an example of what it might do).

For most people I suspect they wont care as they'll get this with new hardware - but for a review on this site that does seem to be a major unsubstantiated claim.

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Increased Performance

Running the latest CyanogenMod 10 alpha release of JB on my Desire S I can say that this version of Android definitely does improve performance. Everything is far faster and smoother than it ever was on GB and ICS.

And that's on a single core device.

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Anonymous Coward

re: "Not wanting to be picky, but you just reviewed this on new (quad-core) hardware"

My Tegra 3 based Android 4.1 Nexus 7 seems quicker and smoother than my 4.0 Galaxy S3, if that's any help. Admittedly, there is the extra factor of manufacturer crapware to take into account, they all like to install their own graphical shell- but Samsung Touchwiz is significantly lighter and less spammy than HTC Sense and friends.

So, apply a Stradivari constant to account for Touchwiz, and it still seems sleeker. The vsynced and triple buffered UI is lovely, and I suspect the CPU freq management helps here too, as the S3 sometimes takes a second or so to fully light the afterburners if it has been dozing.

The Nexus 7 with Jelly Bean is the slickest Android experience so far, easily. You're absolutely right, the hardware is sufficiently powerful that it damn well should be, but still, that hasn't always been a guarantee in the past. Personally, I give the Nexus 7 a cheery and unreserved thumbs up, it doesn't look at all shabby next to my iPad 3 (yes, ok, I like gadgets).

(Also, pretty much everyone who has played with my N7 so far has been sorely tempted, a few are gnashing their teeth that the 16GB one is out of stock now :D)

Oh, and Firefox Aurora with Adblock Plus is a joy on there...

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My Galaxy Nexus got JB last week, and it's massively, *massively* smoother and slicker in comparison to ICS. The Gnex is 'only' dual-core too.

It's a massive improvement in every way over ICS - it has made what was already a phone I was happy with to one I am *extremely* happy with.

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Alert

Hi Thomas, that was a general opinion based on my experience of other ICS / Tegra 3 machines like the Asus Transformer Pad compared to the JB Nexus 7.

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Go

Nexus S

After what seemed like an eternity waiting for ICS, I received my Jelly Bean update OTA last night on my Nexus S.

I was already used to it as my Nexus 7 came pre installed with it - at least - it probably did. SWMBO swiped it and I've barely seen it since, and as I haven't been bombarded with "How" and "it's rubbish because" and "stupid thing" and "why doesn't it" etc, I can only assume that Jelly Bean functions well.

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"ability to understand natural language and reply in the same is certainly on a par with Siri"

So shite if you've got a northern English or Scottish accent then? We tried out Siri on a colleagues iPhone recently and it could not understand anyone in the IT dept despite none of us having a particularly strong accent.

Voice recognition does not work unless you spend weeks training the software to understand you personally by reading standard texts to it.

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Trollface

What's natural about Scottish accents or northern / north east accents? :>

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Joke

State which floor you would like.

"El-ev-en".

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Happy

Watch Out!

I can't wait for my first sighting of a VoiceTyping moron walking into a lamppost.

I have seen several TXTing morons walk into lampposts/busstops/letterboxes and on one occasion the doofus in question walked into the road and got run over (he was OK but his phone got trashed).

They will be speaking to their phone/tablet whilst checking that it is typing what they said,..... and WHAMMO!

I'll be lying in a corner laughing hysterically.

Better still you can do Driveby Tourettes.

Just run up to someone VOXing and shout a stream of obscenities at their Phone/Tablet.

Then watch them frantically trying to delete your commentary from their next Tweet.

Oh, it's gonna be SUCH FUN!

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FAIL

Proxy Support...

Whilst Chrome and the base OS just about support HTTP proxy, market (play) still doesn't and infact Gmail seems to have gone backwards from ICS (I am sure that it worked via proxy).

Poor show google...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Proxy Support...

Get that and real printing support added and they'll have something.

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Happy

Good review

Because I used to live in Worsley and I like the local maps, pictures and other references you get into the review!

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Anonymous Coward

UI guff

I don't suppose all this swirly swishy boingy slidy UI guff is capable of being disabled by any chance? I do this on all My Windows boxes as it's just a waste of CPU cycles AND seconds waiting for pages and panels to 'slurp' around the screen! Imagine how frikkin' fast Android phones (and iPhones?!) would perform if you could...

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Happy

Re: UI guff

Developer options > Drawing > Window/Transition/Animator animation scale. Set to off.

Yes it does seem pretty bloody fast with it all off, but I prefer a bit of whizzary.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: UI guff

So you CAN disable it all (unlike the iPhone)?! Good show!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: UI guff

iOS users welcome you to the GPU accelerated party

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Hmph.. so many things MISSED OUT!!!

Like to try this great video guide on that JB phone??? I'd love to know how well it plays.... :)

http://go.theregister.com/k/samsung_hdd_YT_vid

Even a good site famous for its video reviews of stuff, still has not replied....

http://forum.dailymobile.net/index.php?topic=77172.0

Ah sure wonder why..... :P

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmph.. so many things MISSED OUT!!!

err....both those videos are hosted on YouTube so they play perfectly on the Nexus 7

You probably didn't get a reply because it's a dumb question to begin with! We all know Adobe has pulled support for Flash from Android and that's its days are numbered. Nothing to see here, move along.

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Thumb Up

Re: Hmph.. so many things MISSED OUT!!!

NOT if the reviewer had actually shown this!!!

go tell them to say, "yes, youtube works, as well as others... " because NO-ONE has said any thing like this, not even casually on the browser review!!!!!

now go on, be of **public service** and try these on your nexus... :) then I can tell all my friends they are stupid, video DOES work on JB, so go and get it!!!! :)

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xoxej9_android-jelly-bean-what-we-want-to-see_tech

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/software/operating-systems/android-4-1-jelly-bean-1087230/review/page:2

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