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Benchmarking The Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Performance Gains

Reporting From Google I/O 2012: Nexus 7 And Jelly Bean (Android 4.1)

Jelly Bean: 41 Flavor Mix

Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) includes the following enhancements to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich):

  • Faster performance
  • Improved predictive keyboard
  • Easier photo sharing
  • Voice dictation (called Voice Typing) and search (ala Siri)
  • Improved notification
  • Google Now (uses Google data to anticipate your wishes)
  • Revamped Google Play

In our opinion, the significance of the improvements are in-line with what we'd expect from a .1 release, with the exception of Google Now, which may raise some privacy concerns.

What really gets us stoked, though, is how Jelly Bean improves CPU utilization. As part of a demo, Google showcased a Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.0 next to one using 4.1. The difference was clear. The Jelly Bean-based Nexus looked a lot more responsive. What, exactly, did Google do?

According to GeekBench, we're getting a slight improvement in memory performance, but the processor score doesn't really look any better. Moving on...

A boost to graphics performance is much more quantifiable. In each GLBenchmark sub-test except for one, frame rates increase. This has two effects. One, the UI feels much smoother. Second, better GPU-oriented optimizations lessen the workload handled by the CPU, making it more available for running apps.

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