Google announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at its I/O conference Wednesday, promising improved performance, expandable notifications, resizable widgets, higher-resolution contact photos, offline dictation, some improvements to the camera app and keyboard, voice and predictive search, and more. You want it, right? So how do you get it? Jelly Bean FAQ. See also: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) review.
First, hold your horses. Jelly Bean won't roll out to devices until mid-July. The first devices to get the upgrade will be the Google Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Xoom. This isn't surprising: the Nexus S is Google's own handset, the Galaxy Nexus was developed in partnership with Google, and Motorola is also owned by the big G. Updates will take place over the air, with users notified when the software is available. Android 4.1 will also come preloaded on Google's own-brand Nexus 7 tablet when it's released next month. Nexus 7 launch.
If you're not running one of the aforementioned smartphones or tablets, cross your fingers. I'm still waiting for an upgrade to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on my Xperia smartphone, and Sony is under no obligation for that update to ever arrive. Worse, with ICS reportedly installed on a tiny 7 percent of Android devices, it's likely to take some manufacturers a while to catch up. Chances are you'll have given up waiting and bought a new phone preinstalled with the software by the time that happens - a win for the manufacturer, if not your pocket.
The availability of operating system updates is a major difference between Android and its great competitor, iOS. Whereas Apple controls the entire iPhone package, with the excellent software and hardware developed by its own engineers, and third-party apps required to go through its strict approval process, it's really not such a big deal for Android. Google provides the software, manufacturers provide the hardware… and we provide the criticism. Yet Android devices continue to gobble up market share at great pace.
Ultimately, it's up to the individual tablet and smartphone manufacturers as to if and when they port Jelly Bean to their existing product lines. TechRadar reported that LG has guaranteed an update to Jelly Bean on all its 2012 handsets, but it's still very early days for manufacturers to pledge their support to Jelly Bean. Rest assured, PC Advisor will bring you news of any that promise to do so.