Google Inc. (GOOG) unveiled a new software platform for its Android mobile devices on Wednesday, adding several new features to the technology as it gears up for further battle with Apple Inc. (AAPL) and others.
During a presentation at the Internet search giant's annual developer conference, Google demonstrated new Android features such as voice-activated typing on a device and audio responses to verbal Internet searches.
The company also announced that some 400 million Android devices have now been activated. Google says the new version of Android, dubbed Jelly Bean, will be released starting in the middle of next month.
The new software is "the fastest and smoothest version of Android yet," said Google Android Product Management Director Hugo Barra.
Google develops Android according to an open-source model that makes use of outside engineering, and makes the technology available for free to device makers.
Thanks to its recent purchase of device maker and long-time Android partner Motorola Mobility, Google is expected to take a more hands-on approach to tailoring its software to related hardware.
Apple has long used a development model that includes both in-house software and hardware engineering in tandem.
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