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Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Improves Performance

The Nexus 7 Review: Google's First Tablet Gets Benchmarked
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Google I/O 2012: Jelly Bean (Android 4.1)

Android 4.1, code-named Jelly Bean, is one of the Nexus 7's greatest assets. It's an apropos combination: the Nexus 7 is a tablet aficionado’s hard candy, and Android turns out to  be a delicious filling. Google is using its first tablet offering as an opportunity to debut Jelly Bean, which contains several usability improvements, including voice dictation (read all about the operating system's new features).

As a hardware guy, however, it's also easy to be impressed by how Jelly Bean affects the Nexus 7’s CPU and GPU performance.

Google claims that Jelly Bean’s internal improvements make the Android user experience so much smoother that the company internally dubbed its efforts “Project Butter.” Page 2 of Reporting From Google I/O 2012: Nexus 7 And Jelly Bean (Android 4.1)details many of the enhancements, but we'll review some of the raw benchmarks comparing Jelly Bean to its predecessor, Ice Cream Sandwich. According to Android engineering director Dave Burke, the core changes include:

  • To quote Google's developer page, "To ensure a consistent frame rate, Android 4.1 extends v-sync timing across all drawing and animation done by the Android framework. Everything runs in lockstep against a 16 millisecond v-sync heartbeat—application rendering, touch events, screen composition, and display refresh—so frames don’t get ahead or behind."


  • Again, to quote Google's already-simple explanation, "Android 4.1 also adds triple buffering in the graphics pipeline for more consistent rendering that makes everything feel smoother, from scrolling to paging and animations."
  • Finally, "Android 4.1 reduces touch latency not only by synchronizing touch to v-sync timing, but also by actually anticipating where your finger will be at the time of the screen refresh. This results in a more reactive and uniform touch response. In addition, after periods of inactivity, Android applies a CPU input boost at the next touch event, to make sure there’s no latency."

Project Butter

In practice, battery life seems largely unaffected moving from Ice Cream Sandwich to Jelly Bean.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , July 31, 2012 5:08 AM
    if it had a fruity logo, it would be $400more
  • 24 Hide
    killerclick , July 31, 2012 4:48 AM
    No thanks, I'll wait for Surface Pro. It will only be 5 times more expensive, three times heavier, and I simply must run Photoshop and AutoCAD on a tablet, because... just because.

    Microsoft FTW
  • 12 Hide
    bin1127 , July 31, 2012 5:46 AM
    I was reading the specs and was really impressed with the screen pixel density but missed reading the price first time around. Then when I saw the price that just blew me away.

    This isn't some left field tablet with no supporting software and apps. This is android and all that is attached to the OS. Google is going to blow apple out of the water. I'm looking forward to the lowered earnings guidance from apple any day now.
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    joytech22 , July 31, 2012 4:25 AM
    I've had mine for about a week now, picked it up in JB Hi-Fi for $317 (AUSD 16GB version).

    Extremely impressed, blows my Iconia A500 out of the water.
    I just wish they had cases for the Nexus 7 in stock. :( 
  • 24 Hide
    killerclick , July 31, 2012 4:48 AM
    No thanks, I'll wait for Surface Pro. It will only be 5 times more expensive, three times heavier, and I simply must run Photoshop and AutoCAD on a tablet, because... just because.

    Microsoft FTW
  • 11 Hide
    EzioAs , July 31, 2012 4:58 AM
    Wow, it seems that the nexus 7 is a really great product. Every reviewers seems to be very pleased with it's performance, portability and low price. This really is what every tablet should be :) . The only issue I heard was that the speakers are quite terrible although I didn't see that mentioned in this review
  • 26 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , July 31, 2012 5:08 AM
    if it had a fruity logo, it would be $400more
  • 12 Hide
    matter37 , July 31, 2012 5:37 AM
    Well, I have the Nexus 7 and I love it, I really dont like the 10" screen size on other tablets, I think 7" is great, but speaking of the Surface Pro, depending on how that thing performs it could easily replace my current notebook since it could have the capabilities of a ultrabook
  • 12 Hide
    bin1127 , July 31, 2012 5:46 AM
    I was reading the specs and was really impressed with the screen pixel density but missed reading the price first time around. Then when I saw the price that just blew me away.

    This isn't some left field tablet with no supporting software and apps. This is android and all that is attached to the OS. Google is going to blow apple out of the water. I'm looking forward to the lowered earnings guidance from apple any day now.
  • 6 Hide
    aznshinobi , July 31, 2012 6:20 AM
    Love what they've done with the the Nexus lineup. All pretty affordable now and now with Jelly Bean, I'm sure even Apple lovers will like Android honestly. Project Butter and the new Voice Command is much better. Voice is better than Siri now too, pretty awesome.
  • 11 Hide
    darkchazz , July 31, 2012 7:02 AM
    Hope they don't take long to release a nexus 10 tablet. Me want a bigger screen :) 
    + Getting all updates first straight from google + best dev support FTW.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , July 31, 2012 8:25 AM
    Great review, love how Toms always goes a little further while most other gadget sites only present an opinion.

    Any numbers on internal storage and wifi throughput performance?
    Have one on order and it would be interesting to know how long it would take to copy for example a movie onto the device.
  • 5 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , July 31, 2012 11:23 AM
    On the other news, Apple is releasing a smaller version of iPad to compete with nexus 7 at a "compelling price" of $400.
  • 3 Hide
    cscott_it , July 31, 2012 12:19 PM
    I just recently received my 16GB. It's surprisingly solid and is a great little consumption device. Plus, they make the deal pretty sweet by throwing in $25 Google Play credit and free $10 to your Google Wallet (Can be used for NFC transactions). I couldn't ask for better hardware for the price.



    Johanj- I've had 0 issues with the wifi, in facts, it's performed rather well in my little apartment hitting some of the upper limits of my connection.

    The internal storage does poorly on random 4k writes, average on 4k reads, and average on larger read/writes (compared to current top Android tablets).

    All-in-all it will serve it's purpose as something to do while the girlfriend is asleep next to me.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 31, 2012 12:48 PM
    If I install Android 4.1 on my Samsung ATT Galaxy 8.9 will I see a significant improvement in performance? It seems that Google waited long enough for the launch to finally come out with the right oversion of the operating system to give them a head start over other tablet vendors.
  • 0 Hide
    dfusco , July 31, 2012 1:09 PM
    matter37Well, I have the Nexus 7 and I love it, I really dont like the 10" screen size on other tablets, I think 7" is great, but speaking of the Surface Pro, depending on how that thing performs it could easily replace my current notebook since it could have the capabilities of a ultrabook


    If your notebook can be replaced by a device the size of a netbook with a crappy keyboard. I hope you have sharp eyes and small hands :) 
  • 8 Hide
    DSpider , July 31, 2012 1:23 PM
    nebungoogle play has so much junk in it....i am still waiting for my ICS....is there anyone listening out there?...GOOGLE=fail when it comes to updates, this is one thing Apple does better

    Better my a*s. I bought an iPod touch 2G 16GB a few months after it was released and a year and a half later (2010) they dropped support with iOS 4.2.1. It pissed me off so much I swore that I will never buy another Apple product again.

    Also, on a hardware level, people who "upgraded" from the iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S. And don't forget that the iPod touch 4G remained absolutely the same.

    "Updates are the one thing Apple does better"... Yeah, right. Give me a break.
  • 7 Hide
    acerace , July 31, 2012 2:01 PM
    Quote:
    google play has so much junk in it....i am still waiting for my ICS....is there anyone listening out there?...GOOGLE=fail when it comes to updates, this is one thing Apple does better


    DA. :heink: 

    It's not Google who release updates to your phones, it's the manufacturer. Blame them for the slow updates.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , July 31, 2012 2:14 PM
    It's not google that is bad at updates it's your tablet's manufacturer. As the article stated. Each one modifies the Android operating system to fit their hardware design better. So, if you do not get updates complain to the maker of your tablet they are the ones not giving you the update.
  • 8 Hide
    acku , July 31, 2012 2:30 PM
    Thanks for the comments everyone!

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    Tom's Hardware
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , July 31, 2012 3:19 PM
    I got my 16GB N7 about a week ago. I noticed the middle-left side of the glass starting to lift off its plastic frame 3-4 hours after unboxing, under "heavy exploration" (every feature enabled, continuously downloading/installing/trying apps) workload.

    Other than that, I do not see any obvious other problems with the N7, though I would like it to run a little cooler. The bottom-right corner in landscape mode gets rather warm while running Tegra games.

    I have one major pet peeve about the soft-keys and games: very easy to accidentally swipe system keys and get kicked out of games in titles like Fruit Ninja, Glow Hockey, Cut The Rope, etc. A method for locking/unlocking soft-keys is needed, something like a "lock" icon to lock/hide it and tapping opposite corners or center+corner to unlock.
  • 3 Hide
    Nakecat , July 31, 2012 3:24 PM
    I had mine returned last week due to screen separation and light sensor defects.
    IMO, it's a great table, both software and hardware spec wise.
    The only big issue right now is the QC by ASUS, I guess they tried to cut corner / rush and got burned.

    I will give it another try in a few months when ASUS get the QC under control.


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