Android Jelly Bean: What we know, but is it what we want?

Google has confirmed that the next iteration of Android will be called Jelly Bean, but what will the new OS feature and will it deliver what we want? We look at some of the rumours circling the web to find out. 

Unlike previous updates to the Android operating system, leaks about the mobile OS from Google have been few and far between. That could imply two things: Google has got better at not letting the information leak out, or Android Jelly Bean isn’t a major, but more an incremental update. 

What to expect

Android 4.1

We are expecting the Android Jelly Bean update to be an incremental rather than full-blown operating system update and therefore go under the moniker of Android 4.1

Play Store revamp

Rumours from Italy suggest that the company’s App Store, Google Play, will be getting an overhaul in the new Jelly Bean OS. 

The updated Google Play Store appears to have a featured app stream, as well as extra tabs at the bottom for categories like movies, books, apps and music.

Small details, but that might make it easier to find new apps or new media in the future. 

Maps

Remember Google announcing 3D maps this month? Those maps are more than likely to show up in the new version of Android, letting Google say to Apple" “We’ve got shiny maps, too.” 

Chrome browser as standard

There is the Android stock browser and the Google Chrome browser. Expect Jelly Bean to simplify the experience by coming with Chrome as the default rather than a supplemental experience. 

Tweaked UI

Based on rumours and some leaks, the Android UI is expected to get some tweaks, including a see-thru Google search bar on the home page. Whether that UI feature works its way through the operating system isn’t known as yet. We told you the leaks had been few and far between. 

Only on Nexus tablets and phones… for now

Don’t forget that updating Android isn’t a particularly straightforward thing to do. It requires carriers to push out new versions to the relevant handsets. This is why a lot of phones are still stuck on the likes of Gingerbread and is the reason for the slow take-up of Ice Cream Sandwich.

Expect Android Jelly Bean not to be coming your device anytime soon. That said, previous leaks by Google have shown what looks like the operating system running on the Google Nexus smartphone that was released in October 2011. We would expect owners of the Nexus phone to be getting the update. We don’t, however, expect Google Nexus owners to be getting it by the end of the week. Like all good software updates from Google, there will be some waiting involved. 

Manufacturers will no doubt start promising updates from the word go, but without concrete dates it's impossible to know when your phone or tablet will be getting it. Flagship devices tend to get first dibs, as do other Nexus products, which are pretty much guaranteed to get the update.

What we want

One browser

Having two default browsers is pretty silly, it is as if Google just can’t make up its mind. Hopefully the company will and ship Android Jelly Bean with just the one - Chrome. 

Siri, but for Android

Google has a really good voice dictation system within Android that helps you translate words, order your phone around and do other stuff, but Google hasn’t really promoted this feature, allowing manufacturers such as Samsung to push their own variants like S-Voice. 

If Google wants to be able to let Android users have some fight back against Apple users and their Siri Assistants, it should do more to help them make it easier to get at the powerful features their phone already has. 

Better tablet app support

The reason not many people have bought into an Android tablet as yet is that Tablet Android apps are few and far between and even when they do show up they aren’t that great. 

Google needs to push itself and developers to make Android tablet apps better, utilise the screen space more and stop treating apps as if they can only be designed for a phone screen. 

Streamlined messaging

There are so many ways of messaging other Android users that it might be handy for Google to work out a way of streamlining all these different ways into one centralised app. A bit like BlackBerry does it, or Apple with text messages and iMessage messages, or how Windows Phone does it with Twitter and Facebook messages. 

An easy to update OS

Make updating your phone to the latest version easier and take away the need to  rely on manufacturers or the operators to slow things down. 

What do you want to see in Android Jelly Bean?