HTC Brings ‘Jelly Bean’ To Mobile Devices

Troubled HTC has become the first to announce that several of its devices will soon receive the upgrade to Google’s Android 4.1, known as ‘Jelly Bean’. Meanwhile many a high-end Android device has yet to receive 4.0, Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich.

“We know HTC fans are excited to get their hands on Google’s latest version of Android. At this point in time, we can confirm that we have plans to upgrade our HTC One X, HTC One XL and HTC One S to Jelly Bean,” HTC said in a statement, Engadget reported on 20 July. “Please stay tuned for more updates regarding device upgrades, timing and other details about HTC and Jelly Bean.”

Market share wars

The One X was a big summer release for HTC, which has watched its market share fall quarter after quarter.

But in addition to being delayed in US customs, while Apple and HTC did battle over patents in court, the phone – lightweight and slim, with a 4.7-inch high-definition display – has, like many other devices, been overshadowed by Samsung’s Galaxy S III, which has launched in 29 countries.

Until the HTC devices receive their upgrade, Google’s own Nexus 7 tablet (made by Asus) is the only device currently running Jelly Bean. Its Galaxy Nexus 4G (made by Samsung), which ships with Ice Cream Sandwich, will surely be next line.

Jelly Bean is a key update, benefitting from Google’s “Project Butter”. As Google’s David Burke explained during the keynote at Google’s I/O developers’ conference, the goal was a “buttery smooth” user experience.

Google introduced “triple buffering in the graphics pipeline,” said Burke, and figured out how to anticipate where the user’s finger would go next. The result is said to reduce choppiness and lag.

Other perks to the OS include improved notifications; widgets that can be automatically resized, making it possible to squeeze more on the home screen, or enlarge more important ones; Google Now, a service that improves the search experience with “cards” that offer richer information on a search topic; offline voice dictation; an improved Android Beam, making it simpler to share content between devices; and improved camera app that makes it easier to review and delete shots.

Samsung’s ‘Jelly Bean’ plans

At the end of June Samsung underscored its plans to bring Jelly Bean to its Nexus devices.

“Samsung leads the Android community with best-in-class devices like the Galaxy S III, and is creating new device categories with products like the Galaxy Note,” Samsung stated. “Samsung has delivered the most Nexus-branded lead OS devices and we are pleased that Google will be bringing Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S customers the first experiences of Jelly Bean on a handheld device.”

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Michelle Maisto

Michelle Maisto covers mobile devices, Android and Apple for eWEEK and is also a food writer.

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