Android 4.1 Jelly Bean: Key features

Google has improved notifications, made voice dictation available offline and revamped the way results are displayed.

Google unveiled the latest version of Android earlier this week, which will debut on the Nexus 7 tablet in mid-July and will be pushed out over the air to Galaxy handsets initially.

We go through Jelly Bean's key features and point out the ones we think will be most beneficial to business users:

Interactive notifications

A simple but beneficial improvement is the ability to interact with notifications and prevent the user from needing to access the app so for example if you have missed a call from a colleague or relative you can now respond by tapping on the "call back" button or "message" option from within the notification.

Google Android Jelly Bean - Notifications

Interactive notifications will save users the trouble of going into apps

When you receive multiple emails you will also be able to expand the panel to get previews.

Google Now

Google is keen to deliver small chunks of information in a presentable format. Google Now will provide user specific data through "cards". Initially, Google will offer ten cards providing information on a range of topics including traffic, weather, translation and currency.

Business users will find the appointments card useful. Once you have synced calendar invites for meetings, Google Now will check traffic, provide you with a map to the destination and tell you when to leave so you are not late.

Google Android Jelly Bean - Cards

Information relating to meetings will be particularly useful to business users

Enhanced keyboard and offline voice functionality

Of course Google has beefed up text input on Jelly Bean. Whilst the keyboard itself remains unchanged, improvements have been made to the dictionary and the system is designed to learn. Jelly Bean will attempt to understand the context of your message and guess the next word.

Proponents of dictation will also be pleased to see that Google has also introduced an offline version of its voice functionality. The ability to dictate messages when you have no internet connection could boost uptake of the feature among enterprise users.

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