Google has begun the process of rolling out version 4.1 of Android, Jelly Bean, to smartphones running the mobile operating system.
Owners of a Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ device will be the first to receive the update, with the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Motorola Xoom set to follow.
Jelly Bean will also feature on the Asus-manufactured Google Nexus 7 tablet, which was announced last month.
“Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, is the fastest and smoothest version of Android yet,” said Google. “Jelly Bean improves on the simplicity and beauty of Android 4.0, and introduces a new Google search experience on Android.”
Jelly Bean’s redesigned search includes simpler voice search, meaning that users can either type their query or ask Google a question. It will respond with a precise answer if it can, or a list of search results if it can’t.
The upgrade also features improved widgets, image viewing controls and text-to-speech capabilities along with a smarter keyboard. It promises effortless switching between apps and the home screen as well as expandable notifications that let you take actions such as call, text or email.
The source code for Jelly Bean was released to developers yesterday, allowing Google to avoid the criticism it received when it delayed the release of earlier versions such as Honeycomb. Jelly Bean is expected to find its way to high-end Android smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC One X.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was the first phone to run the previous version of Android, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but Apple claims that the device infringes one of its patents related to unified search and has won an injunction against the sale of the device in the US, a decision which Samsung is appealing.
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