Flashback: thanking Android Jelly Bean for the buttery interface and multimedia enhancements


As Google prepares to retire Android Jelly Bean to the good farm within the cloud the place it will probably play with the alphabetically smaller variations, we thought this might be a superb time to take a look again at a life properly lived.

Jelly Bean first arrived in 2012 with Android model 4.1, however the identify would stick round for 2 extra minor releases (4.2 and 4.3). 9 years is a very long time for an working system, particularly within the cell world. Even a desktop OS like Home windows 10 will stick round for under 10 years (it was launched in 2015 and Microsoft will finish prolonged help in 2025).

Flashback: thanking Android Jelly Bean for the buttery interface and multimedia improvements

However earlier than we discuss Jelly Bean, we have now to set the stage. Android’s early interface was promising if quite clunky, which led most makers to pores and skin it – again then skins have been noticeably higher than inventory UI. Android 2.3 Gingerbread (which we lined in a earlier installment) was the final model earlier than a serious break up.

Android 3.0 Honeycomb launched Holo UI, but it surely was a model made solely for tablets. Months later model 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich introduced Holo to the smaller shows of telephones. The ICS model of Holo was extra minimalistic, whereas Honeycomb had a contact of futuristic aptitude.

Flashback: thanking Android Jelly Bean for the buttery interface and multimedia improvements

Now that the look of the interface was settled, it was time to make it run clean – clean as butter. This work was finished underneath Venture Butter, in fact. What it did was introduce triple buffering for the UI and utilized vsync timing to all drawing and animation. This made all the things run in lockstep with the display refresh cycle, a regular 60 Hertz on the time. To assist the {hardware} alongside, JB made the CPU go into its highest efficiency mode the second you touched the show, in order that it might replace the display as quick as doable.

One other main enchancment was expandable notifications. This allowed notifications to carry extra content material than earlier than, clearly, but it surely added a brand new characteristic too – they may present as much as three buttons, giving the consumer instantaneous entry to key actions. For instance, a missed name notification would provide the choice to name or message the one who known as you.

Jelly Bean additionally touched up the homescreen. It enabled dwell wallpapers to be previewed earlier than making use of them and it launched resizable widgets.

Expandable notifications with actions
Resizable widgets that would rearrange automatically

Expandable notifications with actions • Resizable widgets that might rearrange mechanically

Android Beam was launched with 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, however this preliminary model solely used NFC to ship hyperlinks – to web sites and even apps (with the hyperlink pointing to the Play Retailer). Jelly Bean added Bluetooth to the equation, permitting you to share images, movies and different information as properly.

Beam was discontinued with Android 10 and there’s a battle for its throne. Google sees its Quick Share because the alternative, but it surely nonetheless isn’t fairly prepared. For instance, you may’t use it to share a file with a Home windows or ChromeOS pc. Not too long ago, a bunch of smartphone makers have banded collectively within the various Mutual Switch Alliance, to unify the in-house options they developed individually.

Flashback: thanking Android Jelly Bean for the buttery interface and multimedia improvements

Sensible App Updates allowed the Play Retailer to ship delta updates, that’s to switch solely the bits that modified between variations, as an alternative of repeating knowledge the telephone already has. On common (by Google’s calculations) this shrunk updates to 1/third of a full obtain. Later this 12 months Google will make a serious shift in how this works by requiring App Bundles to be uploaded to the Play Retailer as an alternative of APKs. These can shrink even the preliminary obtain of an app by skipping the elements not wanted on a selected system.

One other change was to encrypt the property of paid apps utilizing device-specific keys. This made it more durable to, say, copy a recreation from one system to a different.

Jelly Bean additionally considerably improved audio help on Android, which was lagging behind iOS. It added help for multichannel audio via HDMI ports, additionally the AAC codec turned supported by default (together with AAC 5.1 audio). Hole-less playback made telephones significantly better music gamers and the Media Router button gave a standardized approach to direct the audio to the headphones or to Bluetooth receivers. This model additionally included help for USB Audio, which allowed exterior DACs to be plugged in.

All this and extra got here with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It was adopted by model 4.2 a couple of months later. It improved on Venture Butter with a sooner hardware-accelerated 2D renderer, which leveraged the GPU.

4.2 additionally launched lockscreen widgets, which have been widespread for some time, however have fallen out of favor since. Daydream, an interactive screensaver mode was additionally launched and alter dropped (the identify was repurposed for Google’s now-defunct VR platform).

Lockscreen widgets
Project Daydream (screensaver)

Lockscreen widgets • Venture Daydream (screensaver)

Some options did stick round – 4.2 introduced correct exterior show help. Earlier variations may solely mirror the show, the second iteration of JB allowed apps to deal with every show individually. That is the idea of desktop modes we see right now. Wi-fi shows have been additionally supported, utilizing the Miracast customary. Sound was additional improved with help for low-latency audio.

External display support with presentation mode
Exterior show help with presentation mode

The entire Bluetooth stack was swapped out, dropping BlueZ in favor of an open-source undertaking co-developed by Google and Broadcom. This model launched many extra enhancements to connectivity and safety.

Brand new Bluetooth stack
Model new Bluetooth stack

4.2 improved the digital camera with HDR help, an early step into computational pictures, which might go on to turn out to be a very powerful characteristic of recent smartphone cameras (extra vital than even the sensor and lens).

The final model of Jelly Bean, Android 4.3 arrived in 2013. It added help for Bluetooth Low Power and the Audio/Video Distant Management Profile 1.3. Additionally, the graphics stack was improved with OpenGL ES 3.0 help.

Maybe most vital of all was the addition of emoji help. They have been fairly plain black-and-white emojis (shade was added with v4.4), however now you can swap the keyboard to emoji mode and keep away from pesky letters and phrases in your messages. You possibly can see the Jelly Bean emojis here.

Flashback: thanking Android Jelly Bean for the buttery interface and multimedia improvements

There have been different modifications too. For instance, v4.3 included a VP8 encoder as Google was attempting to maneuver away from patent-encumbered codecs. Additionally, all three incarnations of Jelly Bean added incremental enhancements to Proper-To-Left (RTL) languages.

Improved RTL support for the interface and text input
Improved RTL help for the interface and textual content enter

Google stopped publishing Android model distribution numbers a while in the past, however by 2019 all three variations of Jelly Bean had fallen to round 3% market share. The corporate stated that they now account for lower than 1%, which is why it determined to cease updating Play Companies for these older variations.

Android version distribution in mid-2019
Android model distribution in mid-2019

Here’s a little bit of trivia – Jelly Bean was the final Android model to achieve 50% market share. Regardless of Google’s exhausting work at simplifying the replace course of for makers, no Android model since JB has managed to attain a majority share.

Anyway, gadgets working Jelly Bean can proceed working and even downloading apps from the Play Retailer, although they gained’t see many (if any) updates for these apps.

Do you continue to have a functioning Jelly Bean system? Drop a line within the feedback to inform us what it’s and what you utilize it for – and perhaps contemplate retiring it or at the least flashing a more moderen model of Android.


Shery Mudasir

Hey, I am Shery Mudasir an engineer by profession and a Blogger by Passion, and the Founder of Newsonhy. Newsonhy works as an operating system for bloggers to explore Blogging, SEO, and Affiliate marketing tips, Latest News, Read More

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