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Android 4.1 SDK Jelly Bean New Features

Exploring updated UI interaction


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Android 4.1 SDK Jelly Bean New Features

with Joseph Lowery

Video: Exploring updated UI interaction

Jelly Bean brings a rich and surprisingly robust variety of user interface enhancements to the table. We've touched on a few of these in other lessons in this course, like notifications and the smoothness of Project Butter. If you missed those check out Chapter 3, What's New in 4.1 for the developer. In this lesson we are going to pile on with some more specific ways in which user interaction has gotten an upgrade with Jelly Bean. You don't have to look any further than the lock screen to see the first of these changes.

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Android 4.1 SDK Jelly Bean New Features
1h 21m Intermediate Dec 07, 2012

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This course introduces the new features offered to developers and consumers in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Author Joseph Lowery first explains how you can expect the update to roll out to devices, and then shows how to install the Android SDK on Windows and Mac, select a device emulator, create a sample app, and prep it for publication on Google Play. Along the way, the course explores the smoother interface (codenamed Project Butter), notifications, advanced text manipulation, and security improvements that will be of interest to Android developers, and describes how those features translate for consumers on the device side.

Topics include:
  • Tasting the flavors of Jelly Bean
  • Developing with the updated media capabilities
  • Integrating input device feedback
  • Increasing accessibility
  • Setting up a Jelly Bean project
  • Testing your app on a device
  • Working with the emulator
  • Utilizing improved voice search
  • Interacting with Google services
  • Enabling near field communication with Android Beam
Subjects:
Developer Mobile Apps
Software:
Android
Author:
Joseph Lowery

Exploring updated UI interaction

Jelly Bean brings a rich and surprisingly robust variety of user interface enhancements to the table. We've touched on a few of these in other lessons in this course, like notifications and the smoothness of Project Butter. If you missed those check out Chapter 3, What's New in 4.1 for the developer. In this lesson we are going to pile on with some more specific ways in which user interaction has gotten an upgrade with Jelly Bean. You don't have to look any further than the lock screen to see the first of these changes.

Notice how a circle of dots softly fading out follows my finger around the screen, until I land on one of the targets, like unlock. As I mentioned earlier, pretty much everything is so much smoother now with Project Butter. However, it's also noticeable how much faster things are when compared to previous versions. Let's go from the Homescreen to the App Drawer. Let's go back and forth so you can really see it. I will tap Home and then Apps again.

Other interactions are just as fast. Let's bring up recent apps. Pretty close to instantaneous, wouldn't you say? And dismissing them by tapping recent apps again, is just as clean. Android 4.1 is not just faster, it's more precise, and best of all lets you make the call. Now when you add a new widget to your home screen, other widgets get out of the way, and you can see exactly where in the preview screen. Let's bring in a couple of widgets, so you can see what I am talking about.

So I am here in the Apps drawer and I will tap the WIDGETS tab. Let's say I want to add the clock to my home screen, so I will press and hold that until the Home screen preview comes up. Now I can place it in the center, when I let go, there it is. If I decide I want to move it, I can change it's placement by pressing and holding on it, and now, should I move it to either corner, the icons that are there, like the Camera icon, gets out of the way. Pretty sweet! So let me move that back to the center and then I will drag the camera icon back down into place.

This make-room functionality, it's also available in the preview screen. Let's add one more widget. So I will go back to the Apps Drawer, make sure I am on the WIDGETS, tab and this time I'm going to click and hold Calendar, and on the Preview screen I am going to put it right in the center there below the clock. You can see the clock jump up to make room. Removal of icons is cleaner to. Let me get rid of the two widgets I just added. First, I am going to press and hold the clock, you can see the X followed by a Remove that appears at the top.

When I drag the clock to that remove, both turn red, and when I release, its gone. I kind of took my time with that one. Let me get rid of the calendar in real time so you can see how fast and smooth it really is. So I am going to click and hold the calendar and then just swipe it up. Gone. Not only are physical interactions cleaner, faster, and smoother, but Google has really brought voice interaction into reality by greatly expanding Android voice commands in Jelly Bean.

We will explore voice search in detail in a separate lesson. But I wanted to demonstrate a few of the more practical possibilities. I have got Google search at the top of my home screen, so I will just tap the microphone and then give a voice command for a reminder. The key to successful voice commands is lack of hesitation. Note to self, pick up eggs, milk, and dog food. And there's my note. Once the saving of the note has been complete it sends an e-mail to myself with both the text message and an audio recording of my note.

Of course you can do more than communicate with yourself. Let's send a text using voice commands. Send text to Matt Fishbach, message I'm running 15 minutes late. Click Send message and the message is off. Just like the phrase 'note to self,' the words 'send text to' constitute a voice action and the word 'message' is a parameter. You can find a list of voice action in your Android user guide.

There are tones of practical voice commands, but let's close this lesson with a totally impractical one. If you've ever seen any movie where the characters love to fly planes, one of them almost always does a barrel roll. Well, so can Jelly Bean. Do a barrel roll. Hours of fun, right? After all the hard work of enhancing 4.1 user interactions, I guess the engineers just needed to cut loose.

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