Google officially unveiled its next-generation Android mobile OS, v4.1 Jelly Bean, in June at its annual I/O developer conference. The brand new software is currently only officially available for two devices, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone and Google's brand new Nexus 7 tablet—check out a Nexus 7 hands-on here—but Jelly Bean should make its way to the bulk of new Android devices in the coming months, starting with the Samsung Galaxy S III and Motorola XOOM tablet.
I've been using Jelly Bean on both the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 for more than two weeks now, and though the version number appears to be only a small bump up over the previous version, Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich," Android Jelly Bean offers a new streamlined interface and tons of valuable new features.
Some of the most notable features in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean include a significantly faster, smoother interface that Google developed under the codename "Project Butter;" Android Beam, which lets you instantly share photos and videos via NFC by tapping your device to another compatible device; a new and improved touch keyboard with better predictive capabilities; a new notification system that lets you respond to certain notifications directly from the Android notification tray and without opening up an application; and a unique Google Now feature that "learns" from your regular device behavior and serves up related cards that provide the information you seek before you ask for it.
After upgrading my Nexus 7 tablet to the latest version of Jelly Bean yesterday, I noticed that Google posted a complete list of all the brand new features and functionality in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Rather than reprint the whole list here, I've included links to a short list of major feature enhancements in Jelly Bean and the full list of all new features in Android 4.1, both straight from Google.