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Android 4.1 Jelly Bean: What Features Make It So Awesome

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Google is set to roll out its new JellyBean OS and so it’s time for all Android fans to learn the moves. The bump up from 4.0 to 4.1 comes a notification bar enriched with more information from Google+ and FourSquare, Voice Search and Google Now are all learning from our various habits – right down to our favourite music. We’ve only had Jelly Bean for 24 hours, so are still on a learning curve, so if you’ve found something we haven’t, let us know below.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean features to look forward to

What’s This Song? Google has introduced “What’s This Song” which will almost certainly put Shazam and SoundHound under. You hold your phone next to the music and it’ll recognize the song and tell you what it is.

Google Now. If you integrate Google Now into your everyday life (which you should), you’ll need to know how to tweak it to optimise it fully. At the bottom of Google Now’s display there’s a settings menu that will offer the option for Google Now Settings. Inside here is the control centre.

In here you can say which things are important to you. If you travel a lot you can put airline information at the top rather than sports info. If you commute daily you can set Google Now to learn your route and look out for a good alternative in times of trouble. There are loads of features we’re still learning about Google Now, so we’ll be sure to have much more to say.

Camera and Gallery. Google decided to revamp its camera and gallery app in JellyBean. There’s a new deck-of-cards view and swipe controls and looking through past shots and your lens at the same time is now possible.

Hands-Free Actions: A nifty little trick of Google Now is the facility to just say “Google” without having to touch the onscreen mic. This takes you to Voice Search and onwards. This is great fun if you have a fellow Android nerd to show off to.

Two Finger Gestures in Notification Bar: Some notifications can now be expanded with a two-finger slide. So, after taking a screenshot you can either have a small thumbnail on the left side or expand it with a swipe gesture. This works on emails and text messages as well and will be a life saver for people who are heavily reliant on their notification bar.

As you’ll probably see, the guys at Android went to town on the notification bar. It has integration for apps like Google and FourSquare and taking care of daily business straight from there is where it’s at. If you miss a call, call straight back or SMS right from the pulldown. If you want to +1 a photo that you’re tagged in on Google+ you can do that straight from the bar too.

The Android guys have quite literally blown us away with what we’ve seen so far, and apparently there’s even more to come. If you work out any new tricks with Jelly Bean, send us a comment. We’ll also be updating as and when we uncover more treasure. Finding out more about Android is a favourite part of this job and we hope you’re enjoying JB if you’ve already got it.

Alex customizes his cars and smartphones like its going out of fashion. Jumping between Korean and American, not only does Alex provide in-depth reviews but he usually hangs on to the models for some “real world testing” weeks at a time.