Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Makes Your Old Galaxy Nexus Feel Like New Again [VIDEO]


Wondering what your Galaxy Nexus will look like once it’s gotten Jelly Bean 4.1? Chris and the gang have pulled the upgrade down to their Google I/O-provided handsets to take a look at how this operating system performs on phones. Chris focuses on Project Butter’s ability to make the Galaxy Nexus’ dated (but still not bad) processor look like it’s a quad-core beast.

He also gives us a look at the new camera preview features and shows us an option to boot into safe mode. Of course, if you want to try any of these features out yourself on your Galaxy Nexus there’s no need to use the shoddy Android emulator: find more details about how you can install it on your own Galaxy Nexus right here. Here’s what Chris had to say about the update:

If there was one feature I was most excited about it in the new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update, it was Project Butter. This was something I even passed along to Matias Duarte in my chat with him, right before he told me that I was his favorite part of Android 4.1, kissed me on the forehead and exploded into a pile of jelly beans (that last part may, or may have not actually happened).

When Android 4.0 first came onto the scene, it was supposed to address some of the stutters and choppiness that have long been associated with older versions of the Android UI, and although it did make things smoother in some areas, it was inconsistent. For instance, app drawer was smooth (although some stutters on the Galaxy Nexus), but the homescreen remained choppy as all heck. Of course, I shrugged this off thinking this meant nothing more than I needed to get myself a new phone with a more powerful processor.

We’ve seen Jelly Bean running on the Nexus 7, and it was pretty much a no brainer as to why it was so smooth — it’s powered by a freakin’ Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, with 12-core GPU, for goodness sakes. Butter or not, the UI on Ice Cream Sandwich with a Tegra is smooth as silk (but still not butter). What I really wanted to know was, how well this “butter” would translate to the aging Galaxy Nexus and it’s fairly weak dual-core processor (complimented by an even weaker GPU).

Late last night, the Galaxy Nexus (the one we got from Google I/O) received its Jelly Bean OTA update and I wanted to show you guys the new user experience on the phone, and see if Project Butter would live up to the hype. Did it fall short? Is Project Butter on the Galaxy Nexus nothing more than “Project Stutter?” Watch the video and find out.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Quentyn,
    Chris , does the Nexus get BT MAP ability with 4.1?

    1. This. Please. Someone.

      Not that I care or anything. :)

  2. JB 4.1 is beautiful on my Verizon Galaxy Nexus(Still think that us GNEX owners made a bad choice now?)

    1. How did you get it on your VZW Gnex? Root/CM?

      1. You got it(flash through clockwork, make sure you wipe totally and your off, there are actually severall JB roms now take your pick

      2. head over to xda they have the developer preview ROM up for grabs, its 100% working

    2. It’s redeeming and reassuring that I made the right choice not waiting on the GS3.

      1. I was right there with you, I seen the GS3 and I was really contemplating getting it but now I know why I got this phone, not the Razr, or the Razr Maxx, or any other phone. This is where Nexus truly shines, other won’t see this until next year probably, that just ridiculous. So all you Nexus haters, eat your heart out.

        1. That’s a really pathetic logic..Nobody hates nexus, but you are hating the haters of nexus! GS3 does not suddenly become a worse phone just because JB is launched. If JB is so good, are you implying ICS was bad? Till few days back everyone was saying ICS is good, why a sudden change now after JB is announced? Whatever you say, all GS3 owners will get JB or Samsung’s version of JB within few months. But you won’t get that awesome hardware ever. Let’s be honest here — Nexus hardware is ok not great. Over that battery life is bad as per most reviews. And you know what even if i wanted to buy Nexus, I could never do that. Samsung/Google did not even launch the device here. You can’t get it with any carrier and you can’t get it unlocked. GS3 though landed here month back. Nexus is not the answer to all questions.
          Note: Many features of Google will again be just US-centric. It’s as if US is the only country. Voice search is only for US-English. Most features of Google Now won’t even work here. Music/Books/Movies are yet to arrive here. So, basically half of the new features are useless anyways. I don’t need any more speed in animation or scrolling. My GS3 is already ultra smooth.
          If the situation with Google and their pathetic support outside US does not improve, many people would be forced to go to WP8. MS always had fantastic world wide support. Apple though is totally out of consideration.

          1. The GSM Galaxy Nexus has very good battery life. I’ve heard differently about the LTE version though.

          2. Honestly i have the LTE and i barely even use it >.> mines mostly on wifi

  3. Looks great, I’m jealous.

  4. How do all these enhancements affect battery life?

    1. That’s what I want to know

      1. @facebook-100000627165100:disqus @toomuchgame441:disqus I’ll be able to let you guys know by the end of today. On my Android 4.0 Galaxy Nexus I got 15 hours.. Will report back later on 4.1 =p

        1. I have been getting 48 to 72 hours since I bought it in November.


          1. how the hell you guys getting so much >.> i must use my phone a lot cause i barely get like 8-9

          2. I’m guessing they don’t turn their screen on all that often. I’ve gotten 20+ hours easy if I rarely use the phone, have Screen Filter, and turn the brightness down. 4G off is also a given, and disabling background data (or mobile data all together) helps a lot too. Also if you have an SMS app that turns the screen on when you get a message, you may want to try disabling that if you text a lot.

            On topic: I have also noticed slightly better battery life, but I wasn’t on stock before to compare. So far it’s doing better than Franco’s 4.0.4 kernel though.

          3. I have been playing with it non stop since JB and its on full brightness mabe that’s the culprit >.>

        2. 4.1 only uses about 4% of the battery how much is 4.0 using ?

    2. I’ve been running JB on my nexus since last night and I’ve seen SUBSTANTIAL battery life improvements.I usually need to charge midday, and so far I’m still around 70%.

    3. I think battery life improved slightly but not a really big difference from before

  5. HIms got the flippy floppies…

    1. I’m flipping burgers, you at Kinko’s straight flipping copies.

      1. lulz.

  6. Chris…you are soooo freaking sexy!!! Call me!!

    1. the flip flops won me over.. instant man crush as of….> now.

      1. The hair gets my engine running!!!

        1. He can put some Butter on my Jelly Bean anytime!!

    2. Call you… maybe? O_o

      1. Awesome!! Love ya man keep up the good work!!

  7. can I haz on rezound

    1. ^ THIS is an important question.

  8. what about Google Now Chris?!?!

  9. Jelly Bean for S3 please!!

  10. My main question is where did you get that skin/case and is it any good?

    1. LOL It’s a Cruzer Lite case and yeah, it’s pretty awesome. Don’t like the clear/white on my new grey GNex, so I’ll have to get a new color =p

  11. Who was manning the camera? Were full body shots necessary? :p

    1. If you’ve read any of the comments below, it is extremely necessary.

    2. Gotta show them skinny jeans

    3. No complants here!!!

  12. So it looks like they got rid of the blue Tron-ish circle “handle” that you get when you pull the notification tray down..and replaced it with a thick blue line.. wonder why…

  13. Yeap this exactly what I had been waiting from android, good bye iPhone closed off iOS and hello beautiful freedom of android!

  14. If you looked at your phone when you heard the notification sounds from the video, check in here.

  15. It’s great to be thin ain’t it

  16. My Toro is loving it. This is why I Nexus.

  17. I only have 1 question! Will this work on my Sprint GNEX?!? I am so excited.

  18. So does it stay just as smooth with a demanding live wallpaper running?

  19. As of now Im not really liking jellybean….the browser pullout thing you can do on the side of ICS is more of a hassle now….that thing is always lagging now ….and I felt that ICS was faster…..I had the liquid ROM with that new airspace kernel doing 1.65 GHz and my phone was quick and almost never had problems….now all I get is problems

    1. But a b**** ain’t one.. O_o

    2. Did you do a full wipe/facory reset before flashing? Mine is running so much faster with JB than ICS (AOKP)

  20. I am loving jelly bean. It really does feel like I got a brand new phone. And I can run live wallpapers now without lag. The new notification bar is awesome and I love the new animated transitions. I still have one complaint though. Why won’t they add toggles to the notification bar!? I can’t wait for AOKP jb edition now!

    1. I agree… not having toggles less than 1 swipe/touch away is highly annoying.

      As for anyone claiming that it is even remotely slow either has a bad device or didn’t follow all of the instructions to install 4.1 (wipe cache, etc.). This thing is incredibly fast, and I mean with everything. Even face unlock hasn’t failed me but once when it was too dark in the room (expected), with 4.0 it rarely worked at all. Speech recognition still isn’t quite perfect but it is vastly improved. I also wish the speech recognition would let you control the phone a bit more. With 4.1 my Verizon GNex seems to handle low signal and 4G/3G switching much better as well. I live in an area where there is one city with 4G surrounded by smaller cities with no signal at all, so I usually go at least 40-50% of my day without anything but WiFi and previously it was a pain to get it to connect to data again.
      @KellerI have a live wallpaper running right now and have not noticed the slightest bit of difference. 4.1 still isn’t perfect but Google is definitely moving closer to that direction. iOS6 better have some killer features or it may be the final blow. Especially if Samsung can get 4.1 to the Galaxy S3 ASAP. Ha, oh wait.

  21. i think what phandroid readers want to know most, is why you appear to have a tire store in your address book? is there a lot of road debris where you live that necessitates such frequent repairs that you’ve given them a spot in your address book? :P

    1. It’s hard to find a good deal on tires these days… haha

      1. What case is that?

  22. Dude. Chris….. why the flack!! Would it lag at all?? Its a nexus… OS was built for this phone.. not only the nexus 7… derp. Better run perfect!

  23. Dude… chris. Why the fack would it have lag??! Its a nexus… the OS was built for this hardware. Not just nexus 7 hardware. Derp. Better not lag with stock everything!

  24. This has probably already been mentioned, but if you swipe up on the navbar you can directly access Google Now from anywhere. It works in much the same way as the new lock screen only use swipe up on the navbar just like you swipe down to open the notification panel.

  25. I really want to buy a GSM Nexus now. Anyone else doing it after the price drop?

    1. I’m in the UK, have noticed the online price of the Galaxy Nexus has
      dropped to around £330 (in-store they’re still around the £430 mark).
      I’ll definitely be ordering one the moment I know I’ll be able to switch
      it on and get the Jelly Bean update OTA.

  26. Nice. Jelly Bean is everything ICS should have been.

  27. Itll be a year before the NS4G gets this:(

  28. Just curious but is there a noticeable improvement in battery life? Because when i got updated from 4.0.2 to 4.0.4 my battery life went from being done at 5pm to lasting until 9 or 10pm each day. Even tho i’m running the 2100mAh, that’s a significant bump!

  29. What about on my single proc. Nexus S?

  30. Interesting… we want to try it

  31. Chris, did the photo quality improve with the new JB update or the photos still come out grainy?

    1. I wasn’t sure if it was just me, but they seem to have improved. Could be placebo, not sure =/

  32. tinyurl.com/cyk9xz2 jhgg

  33. I live in Canada. Any way I can get JellyBean on a Rogers Nexus?

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