Ever since Google unveiled its Jelly Bean operating system, the mobile industry has been buzzing about the new "buttery" OS. The release date could be coming soon, as the search engine giant has just posted factory images of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean for its line of Nexus devices. These will be the first smartphones and tablets to get the new operating system.
Image files for the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 were uploaded to the Google developer's site on Friday, according to ZDNet. These files could be used to restore Android devices to a fresh, out-of-the-box state for those who have installed custom builds. This means that users can download binary image files that will return their tablets and smartphones to a clean slate running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
On its developer's site, Google said the recently posted factory images "may not be disassembled, decompiled, reverse engineered, modified or redistributed." But the company did make Android 4.1 Jelly Bean open source earlier this month, which gave third-party developers an opportunity to modify the operating system's code any way they pleased.
Google's brand of Nexus devices are partially geared toward developers, as ZDNet notes, and mobile devices usually receive upgrades before other Android gadgets do. This could be attributed to the fact that they use a stock version of Android, which doesn't include the skins that manufacturers often use to augment the OS. Skinned devices take longer to upgrade, since the manufacturers need to properly integrate the operating system with their proprietary features.
Of all the devices that got a factory image on Friday, the Nexus S is the oldest. The last time this smartphone received an upgrade, which was the Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0, it took months for it to be released. But this time it took less than a month, rolling out about 10 days ago.
Earlier this month it was announced that the buttery smooth Jelly Bean operating system will be released for HTC's One X, One S and One XL, reported Engadget. But the manufacturer has not yet specified the release date.
"We know HTC fans are excited to get their hands on Google's latest version of Android," an HTC spokesperson said earlier in July, according to eWeek. "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. Please stay tuned for more updates regarding device upgrades, timing and other details about HRC and Jelly Bean."
The Sony Xperia may also be in line to get the anticipated update, as the Sony Mobile Blog says:
"We are actively investigating Android OS upgrades for all devices, but in the meantime, our Ice Cream Sandwich rollout for Xperia S and 2011 Xperia smartphones continues as planned."
Last week Sony Mobile said via a Facebook Q&A that the 2011 handsets would not be upgraded to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, according to Xperia Blog. Although the company has not denied this, Sony has said a local spokesperson gave out false information during the social media session.
Some of the features included in Jelly Bean include the following:
- A smoother interface known as "Project Butter"
- Android Beam, which lets users share content through Near Field Communication by tapping devices to another compatible device
- An overhauled notification system that allows users to respond to certain alerts directly from the notification tray
- A new and improved keyboard
- Google Now, which learns a user's regular behavior on the device and provides information even before a user searches for it
It was also recently reported that testing had begun for the Android 4.1 operating system on Samsung's Galaxy S3 device, but no official release date has been revealed.
Lisa Eadicicco is a reporter covering mobile technology and video games for The International Business Times. Lisa joined the editorial team at IBT in January 2012, and has...