Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update introduces offline Siri-like voice writing, gesture navigation, more

The Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update introduces several accessibility features, including voice-writing, gesture navigation, a better camera and drag-and-drop functionality.

The voice writing feature is the big ticket item. Hugo Barra, Director of Product Management at Google, demoed voice writing on an Android phone set to airplane mode, proving that it works offline unlike Apple’s Siri voice writing.

Later on in the Google I/O keynote, Barra demoed an online version of the Siri-like service where the user could ask an Android device a question (e.g. “Who is the Prime Minister of Japan?”) or issue a command (“Show me pictures of pygmy marmoset.”) and the phone would respond both with a voiced answer and Google search responses.