July 09, 2012, 4:07 PM — With its much-anticipated Android 4.1 "Jelly
Bean" OS release imminent, Google is keeping Apple on its toes in the mobile computing space, say software
developers. "Jelly Bean" offers a host of feature improvements, pursuing smooth, fluid user interactions via
Project Butter, expandable notifications, and personalized home screens.
"They've done a lot to improve things," says Ian Clifton, an Android developer at ARO, a mobile apps startup.
"Each new version of Android has gotten a little bit faster, a little bit smoother, so they're closing that gap
between Android and [Apple's] iOS. At the same time, we saw a lot of new feature releases," such as improved
accessibility for visually impaired people and a "smarter" keyboard that learns which words users are likely to
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Others also are taking notice of how Android is faring against iOS. "Personally, I'm an iOS kind of guy, but
this is fully opening my eyes to the world of Android," says Sherban Drulea, a Web software developer at game
producer Activision Blizzard. "It looks like the responsiveness and notification systems -- two features iOS hasn't
implemented as well -- could give [Google] an edge."
Rather than viewing "Jelly Bean" as Android's equalizer to iOS, Marcus Kazmierczak, vice president of
engineering at BabyCenter.com, says Google had already reached that milestone: "Both can do pretty much everything
you want to do. They're on par."