So I’ve been using Jelly Bean for a little more than a week now and I can finally have a verdict out of it. Last week, you read about the introductions of Jelly Bean and a little insight of what’s new and what’s not. Today, let’s look a little more in-depth in a few sections.
- Project Butter
It’s really impossible to describe what the effects of Project Butter brought into the Android ecosystem. Google described it as an effort to bring the entire Android OS to run smoothly in the 60 frames per second range, which I think is done extremely well! The video posted a week before is also able to show the buttery smoothness of Jelly Bean. But of course, I have more solid proof.
Yes, benchmark comparison for ICS and Jelly Bean on Nenamark2!
- Google Now
Took a brief look at it last week, but I just can’t resist to tell you how great and smart Google Now is! Every weekday morning, this is what I see when I am about to leave home.
It smartly detects the place where I commute to daily and asks me if I go to work there. Smart, and it doesn’t only function this way for work alone.
It also shows up where my home is when I’m out, but of course it also shows this whenever I’m at “work”, and obviously I’m not going to show you where I live.
However, it does take rather long to launch from the lock screen or when Google Now is killed. That lag is so bad that it takes about 5 seconds to be launched, and it takes another 4 seconds for the “Hotword detection” (explained later) to pick up.
One of the major changes on Jelly Bean that I never mentioned is the keyboard. Any users of SwiftKey 3 can skip this part as the entire core of SwiftKey 3 is now on Jelly Bean’s keyboard. But how does it fare out, you asked?
To be honest, it is nowhere near SwiftKey 3 although it is the stock keyboard of Jelly Bean. The “typing with no spacebar” isn’t as good as SwiftKey 3’s but it still works. Auto correction is great here, a big thumbs up to speed typers or those with plum fingers (like me).
Oh, of course, voice keyboard has also changed as it now works without internet connection (we’ll get into that a little later) and it works exactly the same, yet it only hogs up 22MB of your phone!
Also, now with a beautiful UI to work with.
- Text and speech
You might have misread as text to speech, but I assure you I’m going to talk about text and speech. Back from the days of Android 2.2 Froyo, personalized recognition is still there and some additions of options are for Google Now.
Google also took a lot of effort into improving speech to text, and is now offered in various languages for users to interact with the device through speech. The hastiest thing I ever done was actually to select Bahasa Melayu and tried out Google Now. Turns out it does work quite well, though sometimes it detects a complete English word rather than a Malay word. It took me 4 tries to get this search alone, and the cards doesn’t work!
Nonetheless Google added a lot of foreign languages yet never forget about its own original language. English input is now offered in various dialects, but I tried and compared Generic and US English only. There is a difference in Generic and US English as shown below, where the “Hotword Detection” is unavailable in Generic English.
In text to speech however (yes, text to speech), also has a few minor ups such as the selection of output language which I think was available quite some time before this.
- Play Music
First off, I do use Play Music. There are also a few minor changes here in the functionality as it is now with something called “instant mix” that works like Apple iTunes’ Genius, but I tried on two songs, and none of them can get it to generate me a playlist.
Playing around with the old Google Music was frustrating when it comes to rearranging song order in the playlist and searching for a song album, but now on the new Play Music, it has become very intuitive in rearranging songs and streamlined as the seek bar now is the same as the one on People (Contacts) app.
There are certainly much more options on the Developer options menu on Jelly Bean compared to ICS, yet the weirdest thing I saw was the option to disable the all developer options. I guess Google is trying to please developers and consumers together?
Definitely the smoothest OS I ever used on Android. I actually didn’t get to compare this to Linaro, but I did get to compare this to other Android 4.0 custom ROMs (CM9 and AOKP) and I have to say, even the battery life on Jelly Bean is much better, the user experience is superb.
Google Now works with some of my weirdly named contacts (e.g. detected as buddy, but dials to Birdy) but not on Chinese/Indian/Malay names sadly, though I think twisting the tone of the names could do the trick. Detecting my work place and my home is something I think is nice to have, but since I commute to work every day, don’t you think I already know the way to work? Though it does detect where you are where you’re not at home or work.
Project Butter is by far the biggest asset here. It will make you love your device again (if Jelly Bean is supported
in any way) as it really does get rid of all the small, tiny little delays and lags while using the phone.
Overall, Jelly Bean really got all the things (UI and function) streamlined, Google apps are now tightly integrated within the Android OS itself and works silky smooth!
To those who are using Android 4.0, Jelly Bean doesn’t have the data dropping problem (big plus!).