Android Jelly Bean due for release this month

by Dale Wright

The next version of the Android operating system, Jelly Bean (Android 4.1), is due to be launched sometime in July. The new OS looks like it will have a few pretty significant changes:

jellybean Android Jelly Bean due for release this month

* The notification area and camera applications are getting a major facelift.
* You’ll be able to get spoken responses to typed Google searches.
* One of the most important updates for Jelly Bean will be the facial unlock feature. You’ll now have to blink before your phone will be unlocked – a new security feature designed to stop people unlocking phone with photographs.
* Another big change is the addition of Google Currents as a core component of the operating system.

Google Currents is a news app that pulls in various RSS feeds to create a customised magazine which automatically updates. (iPhone users will recognise this functionality from the iOS-equivalent app, Flipboard.) Once your RSS feeds are loaded, it’s easy to tap on a story and read it without leaving the app.

Currents allows you to mark stories for offline reading, making it a perfect addition to the Android OS for anyone who travels a lot or finds themselves frequently without an internet connection. The app also displays local trending articles and can translate copy on the fly.

Currents was launched in December last year through the Google Play store. It quickly gained a huge following, and thanks to a number of updates, it’s more stable and speedier than ever. However, some users are irritated that Currents will be shipped with Jelly Bean, simply because you won’t be able to uninstall it once it’s there.

Android Jelly Bean will be available on the Google Nexus 7, and Samsung will also be releasing updates for the Nexus and S model smartphones. Everyone else will need to wait and see if their vendor offers Jelly Bean as an over-the-air upgrade or not.