Sunday, July 29, 2012

Android Jelly Bean 4.1 on the Galaxy Nexus Review

While my brother just updated his Galaxy S2 to Ice Cream Sandwich, I have just updated my Galaxy Nexus to the recent Android 4.1 Jelly Bean version.

I had to manually flash my Nexus phone to Google’s official YAKJU version because mine came with the TAKJUXW which is a variant of Galaxy Nexus phones that is still dependent on Samsung (not Google) for releasing official updates. You can grab the latest factory images for your Nexus here.

After booting on the new YAKJU, I had to wait for the 4.1 update alert to show up and from there it all went smoothly. Just be sure you know how to unlock your device’s boot loader, install the ADB drivers and flash a new ROM.

Google Now

Google Now sort of works like Siri but with more functionality. It can answer your verbal questions but not in a manner as you would normally talk to a person. It has cards that provide up-to-date and geo-accurate date for weather, directions, traffic, flight schedules, sports, appointments, currency, places and more. Since Google knows my searching habits on my phone and computer, it would be easier to share to me relevant data based on my usage patterns and current location.

Project Butter

Thanks to Microsoft, Google may have gotten a little jealous on Windows Phone's speed and overall smoothness that they’ve made a gimmicky name to Android’s new refinement tuning called Project Butter. But gimmick it is not. Jelly Bean actually feels faster and smoother than Ice Cream sandwich in a way. The new swiping transitions also make the whole experience more usable and lively.

Other Notable Enhancements

Camera – I like the new Camera enhancements that mimic the Camera application on windows Phones. It now allows me to pinch to see a lineup of past photos, swipe to see the last shot I took and also swipe up to delete an unwanted photo.

Notifications – They are now more informative and have the ability to collapse and expand to show more information by swiping two-finger down.

Widgets / Icons – These now realign themselves to make room for a new widget or icon.


These are just some of the new things offered by Jelly Bean. The improvements and inspirations from other mobile OS’s are a nice addition coming for Android Ice Cream Sandwich. I like the Jelly Bean update and would, of course, encourage anyone who can update to it, to do it right now. Go, do it. now.

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