Owners of select Asus Transformer tablets are getting over-the-air updates to Android 4.1, better known as Jelly Bean. The Transformer Prime, Transformer Pad 300, and Transformer Pad Infinity are all eligible for an update to Google's latest OS. Our Infinity sample has just been upgraded, and we've captured some high-speed footage to illustrate the difference between Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean on the tablet. Here's a look at a few interface elements at 240 frames per second:
The difference between the two isn't huge, in part because the Infinity's Tegra 3 SoC is already very fast. However, there's definitely more hitching evident on Ice Cream Sandwich. Jelly Bean's "Project Butter" enhancements have more to do with smoothing out responsiveness than making things go faster, and they do make the Infinity feel snappier.
Android 4.1 brings more than just buttery smoothness, of course. The update also features Google Now, a sort of information aggregator capable of keeping tabs on the weather, your schedule, and the traffic on your daily commute, among other things. Google's voice recognition engine has been incorporated into the OS, as well, and I find myself using the feature more and more on my Jelly Bean-equipped Galaxy Nexus.
Unfortunately, Jelly Bean doesn't resolve the sluggish Gallery performance we noted in our Transformer Pad Infinity review. Android's default picture viewer renders images quickly on low-res tablets, but it's noticeably slower when drawing pixels on the Infinity's 1920x1200 screen. I hope a software update can address this issue, since high-PPI screens seem perfectly suited to picture browsing—and since Android actually lets me display the 18MP images from my DSLR camera at full resolution, unlike the iPad 3.
Jelly Bean might not be perfect, but we're happy to see Asus rolling out the update. The firm has done a much better job than other tablet makers of keeping its devices up-to-date with the latest versions of Android. Now, if only there were an official Jelly Bean update for my first-gen Transformer.