Not all too long ago, Google released 4.1, named Jelly Bean. With it comes a lot of features, which you can look at in better detail by checking out this article. While it’s fantastic that all of this new technology is already released, the update schedule for most phones is far from acceptable. A large number of phones which haven’t even got the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update won’t see the Jelly Bean update, and even those who do get the update might not see it until a year after Google released it, if not longer.
So instead of waiting for either the update or a new phone, you can take advantage of some of the features it provides right on your current version by way of apps.
Launcher & Lock Screen
Jelly Bean hasn’t actually updated the launcher much, compared to Ice Cream Sandwich, but you may be running a 2.x version of Android or Ice Cream Sandwich with the Holo launcher removed (and probably TouchWiz installed as the replacement). If this is the case for you, you can check out a very good Holo launcher replica to get the same home screen as stock ICS/Jelly Bean.
The app even comes with an appropriate lock screen, but it isn’t quite as similar to stock than the launcher portion is. For a more accurate lock screen, you can check out the Holo Lock Screen app. Both are a simple install away from use.
Jelly Bean does differentiate itself from ICS with its own set of static and live wallpapers. These are fairly good ones to look at, implementing most colors of the rainbow into a couple different arrangements. The live wallpapers are also pretty interesting, as the stock ones are usually my favorite (such as the Nexus live wallpaper).
You can install the static wallpapers via this app.and/or the live wallpapers via
To complete the look, you’ll probably want to replace the status/notification bar with something more similar to that of Jelly Bean. There’s also an app which takes care of that for you, and includes a couple other customizations which make the app quite worthwhile.
For example, you can choose what you’d like to include in the notification area, such as status icons for WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, etc, as well as blacklist apps from placing notifications in your status bar.
A major addition to Jelly Bean is an updated keyboard which has excellent text prediction to save lots of time while typing rapidly. There’s an app which essentially allows you to use the Jelly Bean keyboard on your device, right now. The only downside is that the keyboard is available only for devices with Android 4.0 (or above, but that’d be pointless), so sadly users of Android 2.x will have to pass on this one.
Options For Users With Rooted Devices
For those of you who have gone ahead and rooted your devices, you can also install Google Now, Enhanced Text/Voice Search, and even replace the boot animation. This requires a bit of digging around with your system files (hence the requirement that your device be rooted), and should therefore be completed with utmost caution so you don’t accidentally brick your device.
For instructions on how to get Google Now and the Enhanced Text/Voice Search on your ICS device, follow this link. For the boot animation, you can follow the instructions found here. You can also pick between the stock Jelly Bean boot animation or the boot animation for the Nexus 7.
While these tips don’t give you the entire Jelly Bean experience, it is definitely a start and helps make your device feel more like one running Jelly Bean. Hopefully in time your device will be updated to Jelly Bean, or you can take a look at running a custom ROM such as CyanogenMod. If neither of those work out for you, you’ll eventually have to invest in a newer device to keep the Android goodness going.
What version of Android are you running? What do you like the most about Jelly Bean? Let us know in the comments!