8 of the Best Android Jelly Bean Tips and Tricks

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After years of struggle to keep up with Apple’s gorgeous design and standards, Android is finally making its presence felt. Once ridiculed as a cheap alternative to the iPhone, Android now stands head-to-head against the Cupertino giant. With the release of Jelly Bean, Android’s prowess can easily be compared to that of iOS. Jelly Bean brings along many new features to the Google phone, most noticeable feature is the new Google Now service that can compete head-to-head with Siri. Not just that, the performance improvements that Project Butter brings along makes Android smoother than ever. Also, the improvements to notifications, core apps, and more make the update totally worth your hard-earned money.

So, if you’ve just received the Jelly Bean update on your smartphone or tablet, and are eager to explore the new Android version to the fullest, here are some tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of it:

1. Open Google Now from anywhere

Google Now is the Android’s answer to Siri. It is a service that intelligently finds answers to almost all your questions and also provides relevant information when and where you need it. Google Now can come in handy for pretty much everything you do throughout your day.

To open Google Now, simply long press the home button of your Android smartphone or tablet and slide upwards until the Google logo appears.

If you are a Nexus S user, open Google Now by pressing the search button on the bottom.

2. Get the right answers using your voice

To search Google Now with your voice, simply press the microphone icon on the search bar. Alternatively, you can speak ‘Google’ into the microphone whilst on the Google Now screen.

Nexus S users can launch voice search by long pressing the search button at the bottom.

Once you hear a beep, you can ask Google a few questions like:

“What is the weather like in New York?”
“Who directed A Clockwork Orange?”
“Cast of Glee”
“Directions to

Here’s a detailed video on more than 40 questions you can ask Google Now:

3. Voice Typing works offline too

If you’re one of the users who rely heavily on voice typing, there is good news for you. Jelly Bean introduces offline voice typing, a much-needed feature that lets you dictate long emails or text messages even when you’re not connected to the Internet. Connected or not, you can press the microphone icon on the keyboard and start dictating.

4. Take Quick Screenshots

Jelly Bean adds the much-awaited screenshots feature to your device. To take a screenshot press the volume down button and the power button together. You’ll see a new notification about the screenshot being captured. A great thing about the built-in screenshot feature is that it allows you to share the image directly with other apps.

5. Face Unlock -- More secure this time

When Google introduced the Face Unlock feature for Ice Cream Sandwich, it was ridiculed for being too insecure for use. Many blogs pointed out that one could simply point a picture at the camera and unlock the phone. Google took note of the issue and introduced a Liveness Check option to the feature. With that enabled, the user has to blink to the camera to get authorized. 

6. Set Alarms with voice

You don’t have to open up the Clock application every time you want to set an alarm. Simply open Google Now, and say “Set alarm for 10 am” and Google will set an alarm without you having to open any apps.

7. Widgets are now resizable

If you use a lot of widgets, you won’t have to scamper for space anymore. Widgets in Jelly Bean are resizable and can thus be tweaked to fit nicely alongside each other.

8. Jelly Bean Easter Egg

Go to settings, then go to the ‘About’ menu. You’ll see your Android version written in there. Tap on it repeatedly till the Easter egg appears. For more Easter eggs, check out our earlier article on the top 50 software Easter eggs of all time

Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

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