What you should know about Jelly Bean.

What you should know about Jelly Bean.

What is Jelly Bean?

Jelly Bean is the latest version of Google's Android operating system. Released on June 28th, version 4.1 follows in the footsteps of fellow sweet-themed predecessor, Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0).

Google will be hoping that the buzz surrounding their latest release leads to more long-term interest than ICS, which despite being released in October still accounts for only around 10.9% of phones running on Google's Android operating system.

What's so special about Jelly Bean then?

Aside from the standard claims of being faster and smoother than its predecessor, Jelly Bean delivers some interesting new features:

• Google Now: a voice-driven search and personal assistant feature that gives you vital information when you need it; from traffic and weather info to the latest score from your favourite team’s game.

• Offline map viewing: designed for trips where lack of coverage, or high data costs, are an issue, this feature allows users to download entire city maps

• App widgets: these automatically resize to fit the room available on the home screen.

• Android phone connection: connect your phone to another Bluetooth device such as a speaker system by tapping them together.

• App upgrades: some of these now only require amended code to be downloaded and installed, rather than the whole program.

While Google will be hoping to taste more success with the release of Jelly Bean, Android customers will of course be wondering when they can take advantage of this latest OS update.

Currently the phone selections on offer are somewhat limited, with the Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and the Motorola Zoom all being lined up to follow in the footsteps of Google’s own Nexus 7 tablet, but expect options to increase before too long.