Google unveils Android 4.1, complete with Siri competitor and more

By , Jun 27, 2012

Apple kicked off this month with its WWDC keynote, unveiling the next version of its mobile operating system: iOS 6. Then Microsoft quickly followed with its Windows Phone 8 announcement. And now it’s Google’s turn.

Google’s I/O keynote is already underway this morning, and the search giant just unveiled its next version of its mobile platform Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). The update features a Siri competitor, UI enhancements, and more…

Perhaps the biggest new feature in Android 4.1 is Google Now, a.k.a Google’s response to Siri. The voice-recognizing digital assistant can answer a wide range of questions, and responds to them in a seductive female voice.

But unlike Siri, Google Now tailors its answers and search results based on your browsing history, daily routine (that it learns over time) and other personal data like your calendar info. Creepy.

Other enhancements include offline dictation, which actually sounds really interesting, active Notification Center widgets (above), and Project Butter, which Google says will finally make Android’s scrolling and page transitions lag-free.

All in all, Android 4.1 looks like it will be an impressive upgrade. And you have to admit, it seems like Google is pushing the envelope with its mobile platform much more than Apple is at the moment in terms of new features.

It’ll be interesting to see how Apple responds in October, as chances are that it has saved a few new iOS 6 features for its next-generation iPhone.

What do you think?

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  • Charles Valdez

    This is what Google was years ago -_- Siri competitor? Please.

    • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

      If Google had this tech “years ago” as you suggest – then why are they launching it now to compete with Siri??? Huh??? Lets be a little honest if we are going to post on this board.

      • msohail

        Voice tech was in Android before siri came out… lets not be on Apple’s cool aid if we going to post on this board.

      • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

        Just look at the trend. Apple comes out with it, then everyone follows suit. Wether it be features, apps, or the hardware itself. History does not lie.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1595420643 Simche Apple Konstantinovic

        Apple perfected Siri, Apps and so on… It’s not developed half-heartily like rest of the Andriod OS have, by Google…

      • http://twitter.com/workaholocaust Michael

        Apple has perfected Siri? You’re joking right?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1595420643 Simche Apple Konstantinovic

        It is in beta, but still, it outstands Every other voice program, that is default installed on a mobile device. Have you looked on for example, Svoice? It’s so ugly, so not adapted and uh, there’s nothing in my eyes that resembles Svoice and Siri, except maybe, that a voice is responding and that’s it! Siri is so much innovative than the rest of those wannabe…

      • http://twitter.com/workaholocaust Michael

        I have both and the overall voice input on my GS3 surpasses my girlfriends 4S every time I test them together. Even Steve Wozniak has said it. I love both devices but I can’t agree that Siri works better.

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        I think Wozniak is a goose, someone who is trying to say in the spotlight for no reason, none. He likes anything that’s popular and dare I say it, pretty.

        May I ask you – and everyone else – is the GS3 supposed to compete with the 4S or with the next iPhone model? I have heard that it’s supposed to compete with the next model, since it’s the 2012 version rather then the 2011 one. Am I correct, therefore shouldn’t we compare both 2012 models once they are released?

      • http://twitter.com/workaholocaust Michael

        I’m comparing what everyone else is comparing and that is what is available now. By the time the next iPhone is released Samsung will be releasing phones that squash the GS3 and those will be compared to the next iPhone model. It’s always going to be a game of catch up for every company in different aspects of tech. They all barrow from each other. No one is innocent. I just wish people could be tech fans again and not fanboys of any one thing. It’s ridiculous.

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        Stop. Right. There. Please.

        I’ve been using Siri since it entered beta and I’m talking the very first iOS 5 beta. Before “Australian” English was recognised and before it was cool to speak anything other then American where you had to be IN America for anything to work properly…so it didn’t work – Fast forward a year and here we are at the fourth beta of iOS 6 and it STILL doesn’t do everything it should.

        Yes, Google have copied some of the features Siri has in iOS 6 but Siri is still not perfect, beta or not and I really wish people would see that and understand that.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1595420643 Simche Apple Konstantinovic

        Well, I thinks it’s good though in beta, and I live in Sweden and it’ll probably take 1/2 years before Sir iknows how to speak in that language :/ I still stand for my opinion though

      • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

        “Voice Tech” as you say was installed in my NEXTEL Moto phone back in the late 1990′s –

        It used a data connection with NEXTEL servers – had a friendly female voice (very similar to Siri) and responded to my voice prompts, such as call a phone, look up a fact, read an email (if I allowed the service to access my email).

        So, if we use History as our guide, both iOS and Android were not even around when great companies like NEXTEL were innovating!!!

        Footnote – I loved NEXTEL and have always felt it was a true tragedy when they let themselves be purchased by SPRINT!

      • goofygreek

        You should realize that most people on here don’t care about history unless it starts with apple. Because apparently apple is the beginning of time and they invented everything and everyone else copies from them.

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        You’re joking……or you’re serious? I can’t quite understand wether you’re confused or just slow.

      • goofygreek

        I was being sarcastic. There really needs to be a dedicated sarcastic text. But its also the truth. And no I don’t think apple is the beginning of time and they have copied a lot of stuff. Just like everyone else does.

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        Hey I’m an Apple fanboy but I agree, Apple never invented the wheel and it really does annoy me when people say that…they just took the square wheel, made it round and got it working better — At least that’s my belief, it works because it’s all integrated nicely.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jerrod.banks Jerrod IBanks Banks

        It wasn’t until Apple decided to implement it as a part of the OS rather than as an additional app to where all these “competitors” decided to do so. Had Siri remained as an app, then Google wouldn’t have bothered to build such a feature.

      • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

        Jerrod – see my reply to MSOHAiL…

  • http://twitter.com/CVthegreat Braun Buffel

    I think, without Steve Jobs Apple is going to lose in this battle. I am apple’s fanboy since 2003 and I started to find Android became better and better. I am waiting for iphone 5 and I do hope it will impress me and all.

    • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

      No because if Steve jobs was here we would be stuck with 3.5in screens. Apple has a lot of talented people and I loved Steve but he does not deserve all the credit a lot of people work very hard to bring what we have today

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        WHAT THAAAAA? Seriously?
        Are you saying that Steve had ZERO input into the new iPhone?
        I don’t believe that for a moment.

        It would be like saying “With Steve Jobs still around, we wouldn’t have a thinner iPad”, you’re right there are a lot of people who work on these products and yes, I agree Google is taking the lead but remember while it takes Apple a little longer to do anything (with or without the assistance of the jailbreaking community – that’s an argument for another day) but when they do something it’s better, so much better then whatever Google stitches together.

  • James Woods

    Well google managed to put more of an upgrade from 4.0 to 4.1 than Apple did from iOS 5 to 6…

    • Kok Hean

      Who’s switching to Android? Me, if I can afford it :P

      • James Woods

        Agreed… Poor poor Apple, they really better do something good with iPhone 5…

      • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

        Ya Apple iPhone 5 is going to bomb. Yeah right. Get real people.

      • maurid

        Is that sarcasm?

      • Kok Hean

        We got down votes from hardcore iOS fanboys~

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        No, you got down votes because you’re a goose.
        Nothing to do with operating fanboys/fangirls.

      • Kok Hean

        huh

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        You were voted down because you are a goose, an idiot.
        Your comments made no sense and you’re just trying to grasp at straws.

        You were never voted down because of fanboy/fangirl loyalty.

      • Kok Hean

        I merely said that I would switch to an Android device if I can afford it. It’s true that I can’t afford it now. How can that make no sense?

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        No.
        You said: We got down votes from hardcore iOS fanboys~
        I said: No, you got down votes because you’re a goose.You said: huh

        Do you understand how threads on forums work?

      • Kok Hean

        I was talking about my first comment, but you were referring to my second comment. My comments make no sense? Why don’t you look at yours first?

      • http://twitter.com/workaholocaust Michael

        I already did my friend and I will not go back.

      • maurid

        Android is generally cheaper than Apple (and a lot), but that of course depends on which phone you’re buying. I would recommend the Nexus, for Android newcomers. TouchWiz found in Galaxy S’s devices is just awful.

    • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

      Not really, remember we don’t know everything. Apple is in beta 2, Google is ready for public release almost. Apple has a keynote in October I’m sure a lot more features will be announced there

    • http://twitter.com/rpdosreis Rodrigo Reis

      Totally agree! I am seriously thinking to move to android. iOS 6 was a disappointment to me…

    • http://twitter.com/RilesPro RilesPro

      Have to agree HOWEVER will it all work? That is the question. My prior CrapOid experience tells me not very likely

      • maurid

        Which phone did you have and on what version was it running? :)

      • http://twitter.com/RilesPro RilesPro

        It was supposedly a good phone at the time it was the htc hero with idk 2.2 or something maybe higher. Cheap plastic crap etc. I would go with stock crapoid like the nexus s if anything. Like I said these features look badass but in the end iOS has more to offer. I’m a 10 apple device household. I like apple responding to the competition but just to switch for one great feature on a

      • maurid

        Froyo?! That OS sucked on the inside and on the outside was a crime against beauty. But ICS, now THAT is an OS ;) But then again, it all comes back to what you prefer: those who like minimalism will get iOS, those who like complexity will get Android, never the other way round.

  • ash88

    “But unlike Siri, Google Now tailors its answers and search results based on your browsing history, daily routine (that it learns over time) and other personal data like your calendar info. Creepy”

    Let’s be honest, if siri did this everyone would be raving about it and not dismissing it as creepy

    • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

      Ash88 – you make a very valid point! :-)

      However, I think what could be “creepy” as Cody suggests is that Google is not nearly as trusted anymore with our private/personal data as Apple is.

      Will Google responsibly protect our private/personal data?

      That to me is truly “creepy” thinking that I would need to trust Google’s handling of my private and personal data.

      • tturner23

        Your data is no more or no less safer with Apple

      • Falk M.

        A bit more, because Google’s actual income is almost exclusively… ADS and profiting from your data.

        Not judging, just saying their core business leans more towards what most people would consider creepy.

  • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

    Cody – I agree with you, Apple does have some “tricks” up their sleeve for the Fall Release of the new iPhone 5.

    I also want to suggest that just because Google releases all these “features” for their Jelly Beans does NOT mean that they are well designed and will simply work!

    I will take Apple’s QUALITY over other vendor’s QUANTITY any day!!!

    • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

      It’s like your video games. You have 10 games sitting around while you only play with two of them at most. The others just gather dust over time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=564026879 Timothy Williamson

    Competition is good! (Apple was rumored to have the traffic aware reminders, but looks like Google beat them to it). It will be interesting to see how Apple responds.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.burgel.7 Kevin Bürgel

    Why are so much people here hating on iphone ? I mean this site is called IphoneDownloadBlog ! If you aren’t happy about your Apple device gtfo

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1595420643 Simche Apple Konstantinovic

      *idownloadblog, sorry had to correct that cause they changed it a while ago :)

  • iNfAMOUS70702

    I’ll take apples quality over googles quantity anyday..does android offer more features? Most certainly, but the the finished product isn’t nearly as solid as the iOS offerings

  • http://www.facebook.com/Abgier Abgier Oraha

    I smell a lawsuit! But honestly Google! Not one original feature and it look so much like Siri its fucking sad! WHY!? Why can’t you use your money to build something diffrent and better? Why do you have to stoop so low as to copy Apple? The swiping action, the weather info, the scoreboard info, it’s all layed out like Siri? Why try and match Apple when you can make something original that they would want to copy?

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      Hear. fucking. Hear!

  • http://twitter.com/jake1047s jacob wolin

    All Google is doing is just taking iOS features and enhancing them, they have done that with most phones and most of the software, not all of it, but most of it, and people who want to switch to android all i have to say is good luck, Android shows all of the big features and that makes people want to switch but when they do they realize there are a lot of bugs and annoyances in android than in iPhones, hell even though Windows 7 and 8 phones suck they are still less buggy than android

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      …and Apple will take what’s in Android (which was originally taken from iOS) and makes that better as well, it’s a horrible cycle.

  • http://www.kiwitech.com/ Daniel Jones

    Google have improved many features in it’s Android 4.1 Jelly Beans version like Google now, updated camera app, improved animation and more. All this sounds good.
    I am waiting eagerly to try this one and compare with my iPhone 4S.

  • http://www.facebook.com/living4angel Pankaj Rana

    I’m not that much impressed with google now video, I just feel like I’m watching an android version of (already in use) ios features!! Not impressed at all..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728548305 Miras Safadi

    Don’t they get hungry when they programming the android OS,they use a lot of code names that makes a person hungry!

  • Aaron de Silva

    Sounds Awesome.