Google’s Project Butter needs a little bit of fixing
One day after polling all of you on whether your HSPA+ Samsung Galaxy Nexus had received Jelly Bean yet, the update was finally pushed to my own handset. Obviously, I’ve been playing around with the additions and improvements Google has made to the newest iteration of Android for quite some time already – which has led me to the conclusion that Google’s “Project Butter” needs a bit of fixing.
Now, what I’m complaining about is not how laggy or jittery Jelly Bean is; on the contrary, I think Android 4.1 is the smoothest operating system on the market right now. What I am complaining about is Project Butter’s awkward finger prediction technology.
To put it simply, scrolling has taken a major step backward on Jelly Bean. Granted, scrolling is incredibly smooth and the prediction works fairly well for the majority of the time, but if you get scrolling/swiping too fast your phone will just start assuming that you’re going to swipe one way and will prepare for the next swipe that you may or may not make. If you swipe in a direction that wasn’t predicted, the phone seems to become confused and no scrolling will be done.
It really only happens when you start to swipe your screen quickly, since the phone will then start predicting where your finger will be going the next time it touches the screen and it may or may not be correct with its assumption. It’s not a major deal, save for the fact that if you are someone who likes to get things done quickly on your phone, you will be the victim of more than a few missed presses and swipes.
What I will say is that this trade-off does make Jelly Bean the smoothest operating system, like I said at the beginning of this article. I just wish that I didn’t have to change for my phone – by slowing down – in order to accomplish the same tasks that I did in a smaller amount of time with the last update.
Since Project Butter is a software addition, I believe Google will make improvements to it over the coming months. Still, faster and smoother scrolling is mostly a hardware issue: a few months back, Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group showed off a touch display with a latency of just 1 millisecond – 100 times less than the average touch screen of today.
If your Galaxy Nexus has Jelly Bean on it, what are your thoughts on Project Butter and the UI as a whole?