Android Jelly Bean - What It Has to Offer?

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Android is one of the most widely used operating systems in the world with 750 million devices activated globally. With equally popular iOS and sleeping giant Windows 8 going aggressive, Google can't afford to relax at all.

Android and iOS each has its own set of features that makes one better than the other. Comparing the operating systems, iOS won't allow to do any customization with the default keyboard or mail-app or a launcher without jailbreaking the device. Here, Android has an upper hand with deep-rooted customization options. On the other hand, Windows Phone 8 has the most to prove among the three operating systems.

With a mission to polish Android into a leaner & meaner mobile operating system, Google has currently slowed down on the advanced versions of Android and focusing more on improvization & stability of existing features. This is probably the reason behind releasing Jelly Bean 4.1 & 4.2 (minor versions) instead of jumping ahead a full version number to 5.0. Let's look at what new Jelly Bean has to offer for users, application developers and platform developers.

User Experience:
Android Jelly Bean 4.2 has shown better performance & improved notifications and it has resizable widgets as new feature. It is noticeably faster than Ice Cream Sandwich on many devices, in almost every area of operation. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean improves on the speed and simplicity of Android 4.1. The apps open faster, web pages load more quickly, screen display is better & quicker with enhanced graphics drivers. One actually gets multiple lock screen panels to use for widgets, quick settings, advanced native screen savers and a powerful new multi-layered security system to make it better.

Application Developers:
For developers working on Android OS, multi-user support is transparent; apps do not need to do anything special to run normally in a multi-user environment. The system manages app in each user space just as it does in a single-user environment. The Android 4.2 system includes a variety of new developer options that make it easier to create great looking apps that perform well. The new options expose features for debugging and profiling app from any device or emulator. On devices running Android 4.2, developer options are hidden by default, helping to create a better experience for users.

Platform Developers:
Android 4.2 includes a variety of new and enhanced platform technologies. The new platform enhancements do not directly affect apps, so one can benefit from them without any modifications. Platform enhancements include latest security enhancements, new Bluetooth stack, new NFC hardware & controller interface and run-time optimizations for better use with Android devices.

Linux Kernel 3.0.1 based Android ICS, released in late 2011, brought in some big changes:

- New look & feel with holographic themes
- Simpler interaction with SQL database by moving a lot of SQL handling from the native layer to the Java layer. Apps start much faster because of this
- Complete new UI based activity manager
- Full hardware acceleration for all applications from API level 14

Android Jelly Bean, released in 2012, has focused on improvisation:

- €Project Butter€ feature which provides 60 frames per second for improved & smooth UI, triple buffering which prepares the display to guess the future action and higher touch responsive
- Widgets are more intelligent
- Expandable view of various notifications
- Multi-channel audio

Xzadium team has executed projects involving porting & optimization of Android ICS & Jelly Bean to ARM SoC based custom hardware, leveraging its Linux porting expertise. In addition to bringing up Jelly Bean, these projects also involved customization as per hardware specifications and development of drivers for missing peripherals. It also included platform related aspects like early board bring-up (U-Boot, Fastboot, Linux kernel & drivers), AOSP device integration, Android-specific device initialization & customization, touchscreen input layer adaptations, block device, graphics, audio and enhanced connectivity layers as well as Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) driver interfaces development.

To summarize, we can say Jelly Bean (Android 4.2) is intended to smoothen out Android platform's remaining rough edges, thereby gaining more success and extensive adoption in the present market scenario.

Visit http://www.xzadium.com. Please contact marcom@xzadium.com for more information.
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