Given that I have a spare Galaxy Nexus hanging around for this exact purpose, I decided to flash an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean ROM onto it and see what I thought. From the outset: I’ve only had this ROM installed for 5 hours max, so my thoughts aren’t all that in-depth, I just wanted to tell you what I think.
I’ve been really impressed with the overall fluidity of Jelly Bean — it’s super smooth (though not 100%) and touch response has pushed itself up a notch which is a huge win. The launcher doesn’t appear to lag and stutter as much when you have a live wallpaper set. Widgets now have a background behind them in the launcher which I believe is new, if not, it certainly stands out more and looks much better. The app launcher still scrolls straight into widgets — a pet peeve of mine. Other than that the home screen is nicely tuned.[nggallery id=134]
The keyboard seems even more accurate than the already impressive ICS keyboard which lead me to completely uninstall Better Keyboard Pro. The new notifications drawer doesn’t suit the current design of Android at all. The text is too large and there’s too much empty space that should be used. Unless there’s something I’m completely missing, they should have left the notifications how they were — for once I’m hoping modifications from HTC or Samsung in their UI will see notifications a little more appealing.
Settings are very much the same as ICS, except now you can view all the accounts you have syncing to your device straight from the top-level settings menu. Selecting any one of your accounts brings up the usual syncing options found in previous versions of Android.
Welcome updates to the YouTube application as well as Chrome make the overall experience much nicer. In the YouTube app, Google are aiming for a more visual approach like they did in the Google+ app. I don’t like how you can’t filter between subscriptions uploads and subscriptions actions (likes + comments), however, with enough complaints from users, Google will surely add these options like they did with the desktop site.
I couldn’t quite get Google Now to do anything remotely exciting except show my local weather outlook. Google says that Google Now will build up a history of your actions, searches and locations and build out a list of helpful items such as driving time work times and such, the more you use it.
Google Now, Camera and the home screen can all be accessed via the new unlocking screen which has a new visual effect but the same unlocking method as ICS.
Well that’s my quick thoughts on Jelly Bean. I really like it. It’s fast and smooth, and Google have made improvement in (almost) all the right places. I’d like to see notifications changed or at least have something use that space a little better and make that font smaller.