Android 4.1 Jelly Bean has some pretty cool features, but it won't be out until July for Nexus phones, probably much later for everyone else, and lots of it won't work in Australia. You can get some of Jelly Bean's best features now, though, through apps in the Play Store. Here's how.
Real-Time Notifications For Events
While Google Now can do a lot of things, its most exciting feature is the ability to track your upcoming calendar events and tell you when it's time to leave. Previously mentioned Bounce brings this feature to Android already, at least for driving directions. Just link it up to your Google or Exchange calendar and it will calculate traffic data, then send you a notification when it's time for you to leave wherever you currently are.
Download Bounce (Free)
More Informative, Customisable Notifications
Notifications are baked so deeply into the OS that it's hard to reproduce Jelly Bean's awesome new expandable notifications. However, if you're looking to boost your phone's notification powers, we recommend checking out previously mentioned NotifierPro. It gives you larger banners when you get a notification, with a contact image and the content of the incoming message, and you can tap it to go to the message in question. It isn't quite as awesome as Android's new notification drawer, but it's a little better than what Ice Cream Sandwich has baked in.
Download NotifierPro Plus ($2.51)
A Faster And Smoother Interface
You may not be able to get Google's spiffy "Project Butter" improvements until Jelly Bean, but that doesn't mean you can't speed up your phone. In fact, we've done a whole feature on how to speed up Android, and there are a lot of tweaks in there for rooted and non-rooted phones alike. You can try a new launcher (like one of these five favorites), uninstall apps and tone down your home screen, overclock your CPU, and flash a new, speedy ROM. You'd be surprised how far a few tweaks can get you in the speed department. Hit the link below to find out more.
Offline Voice Actions
Unfortunately, nearly all of Android's voice command apps require the internet, just as Android's built-in Voice Actions does rigt now. However, there is one app called Voice Control Without Internet that can do it without a connection. It doesn't have a lot of commands built-in, though, you have to create them yourself using a phonetic alphabet. It also can only perform a few actions: start an app, call a specific contact, or open a web site. If you constantly find yourself without a connection and need voice commands, it may be worth it to set a few up; otherwise, you may find it's too limited and more tedious than it's worth — in which case we recommend sticking with Vlingo.
Most of Jelly Bean's updates are baked pretty deeply into the OS, so it's hard to replicate them with third party apps. These apps should help hold you over, though, at least until Jelly Bean releases to a few more phones. Got another app that recreates one of Jelly Bean's best features? Let us know about it in the comments.