Android has not been on my favored list for quite sometime now, although for various reasons, mostly just performance issues and lacks of consistency in the user experience. Now simply known as “Android lag,” this issue has driven me away from Android time and time again. With the introduction of the now “old” update Ice Cream Sandwich, things got a lot better.
Running ICS on my Galaxy S II has been nothing but a joy. Not so much a joy as in “I love this OS,” but a joy as in “it works!” This is a huge accomplishment for ICS. Although Stability and overall performance has increased ten fold, I still get a very “blah” feeling about Android in general. Until now.
Enter Jelly Bean, a partly incremental update to the leaps and bounds ICS effort port forth a few months ago. I finally had some time to flash a Jelly Bean rom to my SGII and just happened to stumble upon a brilliant piece of innovation. Google Now and it’s super dope “cards.” I initially hit the search button to fund some more info on the cast to the more than stellar “Into the Wild” movie, and there it was. Two cards, one labeled “Crisis Response Information” and the other “Weather.” What the hell? So I clicked “view crisis map” and preyed it wasn’t some sort of malware (I joke I joke.)
And then it happened, the first time in a long time since Windows Phone tiles my technology had found a way to relate to me on a super personal level. Hurricane Sandy was a few hours past at this point, but the madness still remained, gas in the city is at an incredible low. People has been waiting on line for upwards of 6 hours for a few gallons, this was a very serious inconvenience. To see Google very neatly point out gas stations in my location with not only a supply of gas, but how much they actually had as well, was more than amazing, it was breath taking.
Never in a million years could I expect something so personal, so clutch, so innovative to come from the Google team. Why? Well, I had already written Android off as nothing more than an Instagram device, and I stopped paying attention a long time ago. Boy was I wrong. Right after I was done sharing the link to facebook, twitter and G+, I went right into the Google Now settings to see what this thing was really about.
Google loaded Now with a ton of useful categories, all of which had their fair share of interpersonal relationships to me on one level or another. I was truly amazed. I quickly filled out my favorite sports teams (shout out to the shameful Jac Jags,) turned on the traffic settings and even movies. This is just amazing, magic even!
With the biggest piece of the pie in terms of market share, and a few really good devices (SGIII) floating around, Android never really felt like the leader of a generation. But this one little piece of technology has restored my excitement in the platform. Cheers to Google and long live the Jelly Bean.