UI and design
Android’s custom font, Roboto, shows up with a bit of variation in different spots throughout the OS, most notably in the new Google Now feature. The variation here feels intentional, not haphazard, and adds to your sense of place as you navigate through what can be an intimidating OS to a new user.
Though the look and feel of Jelly Bean is all about small refinements, the actual experience of using the OS feels quite different. That’s thanks to something Google calls “Project Butter,” which is its attempt to once-and-for-all quell the complaints over stuttering in Android. As Matias Duarte put it, Google “declared a war on lagginess,” and it shows.
As noted in our hands-on with Google Now, it’s not fair to simply write this feature off as nothing more than a Siri-clone. Instead, it’s Google’s attempt to create an intelligent, constantly updating, ambient information system. For many years, executives from various smartphone companies have waxed ecstatic about the possibilities offered by a device that’s constantly aware of who you are, where you are, and where you’re going. With Google Now, Jelly Bean is actually attempting to realize that dream. It’s actually incredibly ambitious and fitting that it’s Google that is trying to do it.
The notification drop-down in Jelly Bean received a few feature tweaks that take what’s already a good system and make it better. First off, notifications simply look better. Jelly Bean drops the blue highlighting and bland bold font and replaces it with a better looking version of Roboto. It also shows you the day of the week and the time.