Android 4.1 Jelly Bean roll out begins with Google Nexus devices; source code released to devs

Google has commenced the rollout of its latest native operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, to Samsung-manufactured Nexus devices, beginning today with the Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ handset.

The company said that owners of the smartphone will receive a notification informing them that the refresh is now available, adding that other devices are due to follow in the near future. With its dev community in mind, Google also made Android 4.1 source code available to download on Monday, ahead of the widespread Jelly Bean push.

"The rollout of Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, begins today, starting with Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ devices...If you've got a Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ device, you will receive a prompt alerting you to the update," a post on the firm's Google+ page reads.

"Up next for Jelly Bean: all Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, Motorola Xoom and of course, Nexus 7, which will ship with Jelly Bean later this month," the statement concludes.

News also emerged today that the Nexus 7 tablet looks set to be the first device to ship with the incremental Android 4.1.1 update when it becomes available to the general public. Partly, it is thought that Google developed a minor refresh so quickly to include workarounds to negate aspects of Apple's patent-based lawsuits, though 4.1.1 does contain a number of polishes, not least the addition of Google Wallet.

The Jelly Bean upgrade itself contains a number of key feature upgrades. Most notably, Google says it has pushed out a faster, more accurate Voice Search in a move that looks set to establish it as a genuine challenge to Apple's voice–activated search assistant, Siri.

Android 4.1 also heralds the introduction of Google Now, a programme that uses browsing habit analysis to provide users with the most relevant information, before they ask for it. Think the weather before you get dressed, transport problems before you step out the front door, and live sport scores before you even remember you're missing the big match and it's some indication of the ambition of Google's latest flagship app project.

Is anything missing from Jelly Bean 4.1, you ask? Our mobile editor Rob Kerr has the answer.

News also surfaced today hinting that the Nexus 7 tablet will be the first device to ship with the incremental Android 4.1.1 update,

However, Google's enthusiasm at kicking off Jelly Bean rollout is likely to be tempered somewhat by the reality that the integrated search functionality that powers some of its improved features remains the subject of tense legal battles centred in the US but global in reach.

Last week, a US Federal Appeals court temporarily lifted a pre-trial injunction against the Galaxy Nexus, while in the UK the High Court ruled this week that Samsung's Galaxy Tabs were "not cool" enough to infringe on Apple's patents.