Google did not build Android originally with the thought of putting it on tablets. To this point, it has been a struggle for any Android device that is not a smartphone to really look great and function well on a tablet. Theoretically, that was supposed to change in February 2011 when Google announced Android 3.0 Honeycomb, designed specifically for tablets. The first iteration of a Honeycomb tablet was the Xoom, created by Motorola.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Google combined the development of Android apps to be compatible with both smartphones and tablets when it released Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich late in 2011. In terms of tablet user interface, Ice Cream Sandwich was a big jump for Android. And now we have Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Features
The update to Jelly Bean will give users the Google Knowledge Graph. This shows the appropriate results when searching for the type of query being made. Examples include when you search for a celebrity you would get photos, when looking for a place, you could get a map. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
There has always been the option to search by voice, but now your device will be able to talk back to you with the updated voice search. Combined with the Knowledge Graph this is very much like Siri from Apple. You can ask your handset a question and the device will answer you. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Text input has been enhanced to offer recommendations and predictive text when using the on screen keyboard. Google has managed to reduce its voice engine and it now fits on your mobile device. This means that you do not have to be connected to the Internet when entering text by voice. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Effects and animations have been sped up which means devices feel much faster when you move between home screens and open and close apps. When moving widgets to different home screens, icons and widgets around them will move to make room and should the widget be too big, it will be resized automatically. Multiple photos can now be viewed on a film strip. All users have to do is pinch the screen and the swipe backwards and forwards. Deleting photos is also easier as all you have to do is drag it to the top of the screen. However if you delete an image by accident you can now get it back with the undo option.
Support for notifications has also improved and you can now view photos which have been shared by your contacts from Google + in the notification bar. It also allows users to reply to email notifications and view the latest headlines from a Gmail message via an expanding widget. Google Now makes use of your search history along with calendar events and your current location, plus other data to provide you automatically with information. This can come in handy when you are near a bus stop, for instance, as Google will show you the schedule for the bus.
Beam has been added via NFC so you can tap your phone to another to send a photo or video to another NFC device and allows you to do some very neat things, such as pairing a Bluetooth headset or speakers by simply tapping them together.
Google Play store also has some new features. Users can now buy movies and episodes, along with full seasons of shows from Google Play. Before users could only rent. There is also a Magazine app which allows users to buy single issues or take subscriptions out. There is also encryption for paid apps that will attempt to crack down on piracy. When buying an app users will get an ID that is device specific. There has also been a change when it comes to updating apps. Now users don’t have to re-download the whole app, but instead only the changed parts of the APK file. This means that users only download around a third of the data they would previously have had to.
Follow the Jelly Bean Discussion in the Xoom Community