Your favorite operating system updates

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Android: Jelly Bean

This operating system (OS) update is brought to you by the letter “J.” With the newest version of Android, it’s said that Google is catching up to the iPhone. Later this month Google will release Ice Cream Sandwich’s successor: Jelly Bean. This release is expected to fix many of the user problems that have been brought up such as slow responses. It’s said that this release will be just as smooth as iOS. Here are some of the rumored features of the new Jelly Bean OS as listed by Business Insider:

Speed: Jelly Bean is a lot faster than older versions of Android because of something Google calls “Project Butter,” a system of slick animations and speed improvements that make the OS a delight to use. Now Android can predict where you’re going to swipe your finger next and animate the screen to reflect that.

Animations: Now you can rearrange your home screen’s apps and widgets by dragging them around. Other icons and widgets pop out of the way, similar to the way apps move around on the iPhone.

Notifications: Instead of just a simple notification, you can perform a variety of actions like sharing photos on social networks and responding to Foursquare check-ins without opening a separate app.

Google Now: Perhaps the most important new feature in Jelly Bean is Google Now, the voice-powered search assistant that appears to be Android’s answer to Siri. Unlike Siri, Google Now focuses on search, which looks to be much more useful. The app uses Google’s “Knowledge Graph” to come up with the single best answer to your query. If that’s not what you’re looking for, you can still scroll through the regular Google search results.

Apple iOS 6

Last month Apple gave us a sneak peek at iOS 6. The update is slated for the fall but they were nice enough to give us an in-depth look at the newest features coming to iDevices this year. We can look forward to these updates:

Maps: designed by Apple from the ground up, Maps gives you turn-by-turn spoken directions, interactive 3D views and the stunning Flyover feature. All of which may just make this app the most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever.

Siri: Ask Siri about sports scores and stats, where to eat, what movies to see — even ask to make Facebook posts. Siri understands more languages and works in more countries. So you can get more things done in more places around the world. And most exciting of all, Siri will be on the new iPad and more devices in the future.

Facebook integration: Now it’s easier than ever to interact with the world’s largest social network. And there’s no need to leave your app to do it. Share a photo to Facebook right from Camera or Photos. Post your location right from Maps. Brag about a high score right from Game Center. If you have your hands full, just ask Siri to post for you. You need to sign in to Facebook only once, and you’ll be off and sharing. Never miss another birthday or get-together, since Facebook events are integrated into Calendar. And your Facebook friends’ profile information is integrated into Contacts, so when they update an email address or phone number you automatically stay up to date. Now that’s something to post about.

Shared photo streams: Now you can share just the photos you want, with just the people you choose. Simply select photos from the Photos app, tap the Share button, choose who you want to share your photos with, and they’re on their way. If the folks you’re sharing with aren’t using an Apple device, they can view your photos on the web. People can like individual photos and make comments. And you can share as much as you want: Your shared photo streams don’t count against your iCloud storage and they work over Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

Passbook: Your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards and more are now all in one place. With Passbook, you can scan your iPhone or iPod touch to check in for a flight, get into a movie and redeem a coupon. You can also see when your coupons expire, where your concert seats are and the balance left on that all-important coffee bar card. Wake your iPhone or iPod touch and passes appear on your Lock screen at the appropriate time and place — like when you reach the airport or walk into the store to redeem your gift card or coupon. And if your gate changes after you’ve checked in for your flight, Passbook will even alert you to make sure you’re not relaxing in the wrong terminal.

Facetime on Cellular: FaceTime now works over cellular networks as well as Wi-Fi, so you can make and receive FaceTime calls wherever you happen to be. You can even make and receive FaceTime calls on your iPad using your phone number. That means you can use FaceTime wherever you are, on any device. And never miss another wink, smile, air kiss or eye roll.

Phone: iOS 6 adds new calling features to your iPhone. Now when you decline an incoming call, you can instantly reply with a text message or set a callback reminder. And when things are just too hectic, turn on Do Not Disturb and you won’t be bothered by anyone — except can’t-miss contacts like your boss or your better half.

Mail: Redesigned with a more streamlined interface for easier reading and writing, Mail in iOS 6 lets you set up a VIP list so you’ll never miss an important message from your accountant, your boss, or your BFF.It’s even easier to add photos and videos to email messages. And to refresh your mailboxes, all you have to do is swipe down.

Safari: iOS 6 brings even better web browsing to your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. iCloud Tabs keeps track of which pages you have open on your devices, so you can start browsing on one device and pick up right where you left off on whatever device is handy. Safari now saves web pages — not just links — in your Reading List, so you can catch up on your reading even when you can’t connect to the Internet. And when you’re posting a photo or video to eBay, Craigslist, or another site, you can take photos and video — or choose from your Camera Roll — without leaving Safari. When you really want to see the whole picture, turn your iPhone or iPod touch to landscape and tap the full-screen icon to view web pages without distractions.

Accessibility: iOS 6 comes with even more features to make it easier for people with vision, hearing, learning and mobility disabilities to get the most from their iOS devices. Guided Access helps students with disabilities such as autism remain on task and focused on content. It allows a parent, teacher, or administrator to limit an iOS device to one app by disabling the Home button, as well as restrict touch input on certain areas of the screen. VoiceOver, the revolutionary screen reader for blind and low-vision users, is now integrated with Maps, AssistiveTouch and Zoom. And Apple is working with top manufacturers to introduce Made for iPhone hearing aids that will deliver a power-efficient, high-quality digital audio experience.

BlackBerry 7.1

Back in April BlackBerry 7.1 was released with some great features including the following:

Mobile Hotspot: Waiting in a coffee shop or airport but unable to find a Wi-Fi hotspot? Turn on Mobile Hotspot on your BlackBerry smartphone, found under Manage Connections and create your own hotspot. Then share it by connecting up to five Wi-Fi devices at once.

Pull up documents on your BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet while tethering it to your fully functional BlackBerry smartphone and still have three other devices connected to Mobile Hotspot at once.

BlackBerry Tag: With BlackBerry Tag, simply tap your Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled BlackBerry smartphone against another NFC-enabled BlackBerry smartphone to:

  • Invite a friend to BBM
  • Exchange contact information
  • Share an app from the BlackBerry App World storefront
  • Share working files, videos, pictures, music and voice notes
  • Permanently pair your BlackBerry smartphone with your NFC-enabled Bluetooth device

WiFi Calling: While you’ve got Wi-Fi connectivity by connecting to Mobile Hotspot, make calls over Wi-Fi instead of using your plan’s minutes.

FM Radio: With FM tuner support, tune in to your favorite FM stations on the spot, from virtually anywhere. Local news and music are now at your fingertips.

Auto Suggest: With each key stroke you enter in your Universal Search, the auto suggest feature filters local search results and suggested Bing web search terms to interpret what you’re looking for and provide you with options.

Which OS are you using? Do you have a favorite feature? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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