By Aldo Panessidi
Google kicked off its annual Google I/O developer keynote in a big way Wednesday by announcing a new version of the Android operating system, a new tablet, a media streamer, and Google+ updates, along with news on the company's Project Glass. We don’t have much in the way of details right now, but here is what we know so far:
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Jelly Bean is the next update to the Android OS (Given the revision number 4.1 versus the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich release of a couple of months ago.). Project Butter is the first phase of Google's attempt to improve Android's performance. With Project Butter, scrolling and swiping animations should be smoother than they are on older Android versions.
Jelly Bean uses a new search interface its calling "cards" to make it easier to read and digest certain types of information. As an example, if you search for the weather forecast, search cards will provide an attractive display that shows the weather conditions, temperature, and forecast in a Siri-like display.
Search cards can show things like answers to questions and image search results. It also works with Android's voice search feature.
Other Jelly Bean 4.1 improvements include an upgraded camera app and the ability to send photos and videos from one phone to another via Google Beam.
Google also announced that Jelly Bean will come to the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S2 smartphones and to the Motorola Xoom tablet in mid-July.
Android O/S Activations
Google began its keynote address with some figures on Android activations. So far, it’s hardware partners have sold in excess of 400 million Android-based devices, and that number is increasing with more than 1 million Android phone or tablet activations every day. At last year’s Google I/O, the company announced that 100 million Android devices had shipped so far.
We have a lot more information to come, so stay tuned!