All posts by Rajesh Pandey

Rajesh is a 19 year old nerd, currently pursuing B.Com Hons from Bhawanipore college in Kolkata, India. He loves everything tech, especially Android. You can follow him on twitter @ePandu or mail to him at [email protected]

What’s New In Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Along with a the new Nexus 4 and Nexus 10, Google also unveiled the latest version of Jelly Bean – Android 4.2. Yes, Google decided to stick with the same name so as to avoid confusion and because the new release does not bring any major changes to warrant a whole new name. So, what exactly is new in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean? Read below to find out.

Photo Sphere

With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google introduced panorama mode to the stock camera app. Apple did the same with iOS6 and the iPhone 5, except that in iOS6 users could take panorama photos in portrait mode as well. With Android 4.2, Google has brought its amazing Street view technology to Android devices. Photo Sphere will allow Android 4.2 running devices to click photos of multiple axis and then stitch them into one, to form one single 360 degree image. The best part about the Photo Sphere images is that they are taken in the full 8MP resolution of the camera, and not downscaled to a lower resolution.

Below is a video of Photo Sphere in action on the Nexus 4 -:

Gesture Typing

Google has been constantly tweaking the stock Android keyboard with each and every Android OS release. While Android 2.3 and Android 4.0 brought about a major re-vamp in the looks and minor layout changes, Android 4.1.1 brought SwiftKey like next-word prediction system. With Android 4.2, Google is bringing Gesture Typing to the stock Android keyboard. Think of Gesture Typing as Swype – Just glide your fingers over letters you want to type and only lift them at the end of each word. With Gesture typing and the keyboard’s ability to predict the next word a user is going to type, Jelly Bean makes typing a breeze rather than a chore.

Multiple User Profiles

With Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Google is bringing multiple user profiles to Android tablets. This will allow users to easily share their tablets with their family members without worrying about their saved games progress or other private data. This feature is only for tablets, but I am pretty sure it is just a matter of time before custom ROM developers bring this feature to Android phones as well.

Daydream

While I first got excited hearing about Daydream, the feature is relatively useless. Daydream will allow your Android device to show either updates from Google Current or say a photo stream while your device is docked or idle.

Lockscreen Widgets

Finally! With Android 4.2, Google has finally made the lockscreen infinitely more useful thanks to widgets. At the moment there is not much known about how lockscreen widgets, except that they can be accessed by swiping right or left across the lockscreen. However, The Verge does have a video which shows the lockscreen in action for a short amount of time.

Miracast Wireless Display Support

Android finally gets an Airplay competitor with Miracast Wireless Display support. Even though Miracast is a relatively new technology, it should become a frequent feature in TVs by next year. If your current TV does not feature Miracast, you can add it by using an after-market dongle.

Notification Quick Controls

With Android 4.2, Google has finally provided users with quick access to toggling certain settings such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and more. This feature is something which every Android OEM has added to stock Android via their skin, and considering its usefulness, the amount of time that Google took to implement it is just mind boggling. Users can access the notification toggles by pressing a button on the notification bar. Alternatively, they can swipe down the notification bar using two fingers to directly access the toggles.

Below is a video showing the quick controls in action -:

New Clock App

The current Clock app in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is nothing short of ancient. It lacks all basic features like a stop watch and timer which in 2012 is nothing short of shameful. Thankfully, with Android 4.2, Google has completely over-hauled the Clock app and added new features to it including World Clock along with stop watch and timer.

Google Now

With Android 4.2, Google has made Google Now smarter. It can now directly read and display flight confirmations, hotel reservations, shipping details, movie times, nearby attractions and more. Google Voice Search, which is an integral part of Google Now, is also more powerful now allowing users to directly launch apps or schedule calendar appointments.

Since Google Now is not a part of the core Android OS, the update is already available to all Jelly Bean running devices via the Play Store.

New Linux Kernel

With Android 4.2, Google has updated the stock Android kernel to be based on the Linux 3.4 kernel. The new kernel improves memory utilization, security and more. From what I have read, the Linux kernel 3.4 should also allow Android OEMS to easily port the latest version of the Android OS to their devices. It will also allow Google to keep the Android kernel version in sync with the mainline linux kernel.

Google Search/Now Updated — Now Launch Apps, Track Packages, Schedule Meetings And more

Biggest advantage of de-coupling core OS apps from the Android OS itself? You get updates instantly. With Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Google enhanced Google Now with more features including the ability to notify you about hotel or restaurant confirmations and reservations and more. The best part? The update is already live in the Play store.

Since Google Now/Search is not a part of the core Android OS, Google can easily update it without waiting for OEMs to update their Android devices to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Below is the full change-log of the update -:

What’s in this version:
For Android 4.1+ (Jelly Bean), Google Search is faster plus:
– Google Now works with Gmail (English only)
– Flights
– Restaurant reservations
– Hotel confirmations
– Events
– Packages
– New Now cards: nearby attractions & photo spots, movies opening in theaters, concerts & more
– New voice actions: launch apps, schedule meetings & check when your next appointment is
Google Now puts you in control: at any time, adjust or turn off individual Now cards within Settings.

Keep in mind that the update is only for Android 4.1.x Jelly Bean running Android devices, and not Ice Cream Sandwich.

Nexus 7 Gets 32GB Of Storage Space And A HSPA+ Radio

The Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 were not the only new devices unveiled by Google today. The company has announced new storage options for the Nexus 7 as well. The 16GB Nexus 7 will now sell for $199, while a new 32GB variant will cost $249.

Along with more storage, Google also added a HSPA+ radio to make the tablet more mobile. The HSPA+ version will come with 32GB of on-board storage and will cost users $299. Like the unlocked Nexus 4, the Nexus 7 can operate on 200 different network providers including AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States.

The Nexus 7 will also be available via T-Mobile for $199 on a tw0-year contract with 16GB of storage space.

Google Unveils The Nexus 10 Tablet Boasting Next-Gen Exynos 5 SoC And Retina Busting Display For Only $399

Along with the Nexus 4, Google announced a new 10-inch Nexus tablet manufactured by Samsung. The tablet is a powerhouse with a retina busting 10.1-inch display sporting a resolution of 2560×1600.

Internally, the Nexus 10 packs in the next-generation Cortex-A15 based SoC — Exynos 5 — which also includes an ARM Mali-T604 GPU. Other specs include front-facing stereo speakers, 2GB of RAM, NFC, Wi-Fi, GPS, and the usual stuffs. The press release from Google states that the Nexus 10 is capable of playing back videos for up to 9 hours or up to 500 hours of standby time, all thanks to its beefy 9000mAh battery.

On the software side, Nexus 10 runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean that includes multiple user profiles, a swype like keyboard and other tablet related enhancements. The 16GB version of the tablet will only cost $399 while the 32GB variant will set you back by $499. It will be available for purchase directly from Google Play on November 13th in the U.S, U.K, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Canada and Japan.

Google And LG Unveil The Nexus 4 – No LTE and Only 16GB Storage With A Killer Price Tag

Google may have had to cancel its Android event in New York today due to Hurricane Sandy, but that did not stop the company from officially announcing the next Nexus handset – the LG Nexus 4.

The Nexus 4 is the first Nexus branded handset to be made by LG and is a beast in every sense. The handset has leaked numerous times over the last few weeks, and the press release from Google just confirms it.

Inside the 9.1mm thin body of the Nexus 4 is a quad-core Krait processor from Qualcomm clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, a 8MP camera in the back, 1.3MP in the front, 4.7-inch WXGA (1280 x 768) resolution, 8 or 16GB of internal memory, NFC and wireless charging. A beefy non-removable 2100mAh battery gives the handset a talk time of 15.3 hours.

“LG is proud and excited to play this role in helping build the latest Nexus smart-phone,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Com-munications Company. “Users will be delighted by the perfectly balanced combination of form and function with the latest generation of Android.”

The handset will come with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on-board that brings with it certain new features including enhanced security, quick settings in the notification bar and more.

The Nexus 4 will be sold unlocked and is compatible with GSM/HSPA+ networks on more than 200 different network providers. The handset will be available for purchase on Google Play from November 13th in the U.S, United States, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia. Asia, Europe and other major regions of the world should get the handset sometime towards the end of November.

The price tag of the LG Nexus 4 is what that makes it interesting. Google will be selling the unlocked Nexus 4 for only $299 for the 8GB variant, while the 16GB variant will cost only $349. A T-Mobile variant of the Nexus 4 will also be available soon for $199 on a two-year contract.

Google Postpones Its Android Event Due To Hurricane Sandy

Android lovers and fanboys, here is some bad news for you. Google has just confirmed that it is postponing its ‘The Playground is open’ Android event on October 29th, which was to be hosted in New York. The reason Google is postponing the event is due to Hurricane Sandy that will be hitting New York sometime on Sunday night.

Below is the official statement from Google -:

We are canceling our Monday morning event in New York due to Hurricane Sandy. We will let you know our plans as soon as we know more.

While this news will definitely break the heart of a lot of Android lovers who were eagerly waiting for Google to unveil the Nexus 4, Nexus 10 and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean at the event. At this point, there is very little information left to leak regarding Google’s Android event. The specs of the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 have been confirmed, and so are some of the new features in Android 4.2. The only thing over which the question mark still remains is the pricing and availability of these devices.

On the other hand, Microsoft loyalists should be very happy because the company will be unveiling Windows Phone 8 on October 29th at San Francisco, and the OS won’t have to share the limelight with any other OS.

Via – Marketing Land

HTC One X Jelly Bean Update Rolling Out

Back in late September, HTC promised that it would be upgrading the two of its One series handsets – the One X and the One S – to Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean sometime in October. Now, with just a few days left for October to end, reports are pouring in on XDA forums that the Jelly Bean update for the One X is live in Taiwan and certain other regions of the world.

The Jelly Bean update brings with it quite a lot of enhancements and new features to the One X including an enhanced notification bar, Google Now with enhanced Voice Actions, Project Butter for a lag-free UI navigating experience, and more. HTC has also taken this opportunity to bump the Sense version to 4+. The latest version of Sense is even lighter than before with quite a few unneeded animations removed, improved Camera app, a new Power Saving mode, and other minor UI enhancements.

For the Tegra 3 variant of the One X, the Jelly Bean update also includes a new kernel that brings USB OTG support to the handset and also noticeably improves performance and battery life. The 340MB+ update is being rolled out via OTA, so make sure you have enough battery and access to a fast Wi-Fi network before you start the download.

Via – GottaBeMobile

Nexus 10 Pictures And Specs Leak; Exynos 5 Coupled With Retina Busting Display

Up until now, the Nexus 10 was just a rumored tablet from Samsung and Google that sported a Retina display like resolution and an Exynos 5 processor.

Today, the folks over at BriefMobile have got their hands on some pictures of the Nexus 10 running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean confirming that the tablet is indeed real, and will be unveiled by Google at its event on October 29th.

The Nexus 10 is going to be a complete destroy all other tablets in the market whenever it is launched. Below are the ‘confirmed’ specs of the tablet -:

  • Dual-core Exynos 5 SoC based on the ARM Cortex-A15 architecture clocked at 1.7GHz
  • ARM Mali-T604 GPU
  • 10.1-inch Super-AMOLED display with a Retina busting resolution of 2560×1600
  • 5MP rear camera, LED Flash, NFC, front-facing camera, Wi-Fi
  • Dual speakers

On the software side, the Nexus 10 will be running on Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean”. The tipster also confirmed all the features which were earlier leaked including quick settings in the notification bar, multiple user profiles, a re-designed Gallery and updated Camera app.

If Google and Samsung manage to price the Nexus 10 right, we might just see Android tablets pose a serious threat to iPad’s market domination.

Head over to BriefMobile for more pictures and other tid-bits about the Nexus 10.

P.S. – Yes, those bottom navigation buttons really look out of place and I really hope they are not final.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Coming To iOS And Android Later This Fall

Last year, Rockstar games released GTA 3 on the iOS and Android platform, and this year, they brought Max Payne to two of the world’s most popular mobile OS.

Today, Rockstar announced that they will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of one of its popular games – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – that was released on October 29th, 2002, by releasing some never-seen-before artworks, new anniversary trailer, and a limited number of collectable promotional items.

Most importantly though, Rockstar will be releasing an Anniversary edition of the game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, for selected iOS and Android devices. GTA 3 is one of the most graphically (texture) intensive games available for Android devices, and it looks like Vice City will be no different. Rockstar states that GTA Vice City will feature native high-resolution graphics and several other enhancements “unique to the iOS and Android platforms”.

The official announcement from Rockstar does not mention any exact date as to when the game will be available for Android and iOS platforms, except for a vague “later this fall”.

Upgrade To Windows 8 Pro For Only $19.99/Rs 1,999

Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled its much-awaited successor to Windows 7 – Windows 8. The company has been working hard on Windows 8 for the last few months, and aims to change how people use a computer with its new Modern UI, inspired from its own Windows Phone 7 UI.

Unlike Apple which usually charges around 20$ for its operating system upgrades, Microsoft is known to charge a couple of hundred dollars for a Windows license. Thankfully, with Windows 8, Microsoft has kicked off a new promotional campaign that will allow existing Windows XP, Vista or 7 users to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for only $19.99 or only Rs 1,999 for us Indians.

The promotional offer is, however, only valid from October 26th to 31st January, 2013 and is limited to five licenses per customer. Keep in mind that this promotional offer is only for users who already have a genuine license of Windows XP, 7 or Vista and are interested in upgrading to Windows 8. The full terms and conditions for the promotional offer and other information are available here.

If you got a new Windows based PC after June 2 with Windows 7 pre-loaded, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for only $14.99 or Rs. 700 INR. Head over to Windows Upgrade Offer to register yourself and get a Windows 8 Pro license copy for cheap.

Samsung To Open Source Exynos 4 Platform — There Is A Catch Though!

Recently, Samsung has received a lot of criticism from the Android modding community and developers for the relatively closed source nature of its Exynos platform. The Exynos platform powers all the high-end products from Samsung including the Galaxy S3 and the Note 2, and the closed source nature of the platform hinders development for these devices.

After a lot of complaints and negative feedback, Samsung promised that it is looking into the situation of open-sourcing its Exynos platform.

Today, the company announced via its Twitter account that it will be open-sourcing the “integrated source code” of its Exynos 4 family of processors by the end of 2012. The company will also setup a git server which will be available to the public by November 2012.

Don’t jump to any conclusions and start praising Samsung here. The company will only be open-sourcing the source code for its OrigenBoard development board. The problem is that CyanogenMod developers still need the source code for other parts of the phone such as the Yamaha audio chip on the Galaxy S2, the Camera on the S3 and more to get a stable AOSP ROM on the S3 and the S2.

Until and unless Samsung open-sources or release AOSP compatible binaries for other closed source parts used on its handsets, getting a stable AOSP ROM on Exynos powered Samsung devices is going to be quite a challenge for developers.

Sprint Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean Update Rolling Out

Surprise surprise! Samsung and Sprint have started rolling out the official Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S III in the United States. It was only recently that Samsung started rolling out the Jelly Bean update for the international Galaxy S3, so such a quick JB update for the Sprint Galaxy S3 is quite surprising.

The Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean update for the U.S Galaxy S3 will bring it with an enhanced notification bar, Project Butter for a buttery UI navigating experience,  offline text-to-speech support, Google Now with enhanced Voice Search, Android Beam, updated keyboard with next-word predictions and much more.

The update is being rolled out via OTA, and users will be automatically notified once the update is available for their phone.

U.S carriers are known for delaying OS or software updates to Android devices through their internal carrier testing, but it looks like Sprint decided it would be nice to give some priority treatment to its Galaxy S3 owners for the Jelly Bean update.

SwiftKey Flow Combines The Power Of Swype With SwiftKey’s Prediction System

SwiftKey is hands down the best keyboard for Android devices out there. The keyboard has arguably the best prediction system out there, which makes typing on touchscreen slabs a breeze.

Today, the folks behind SwiftKey have unveiled what they have been working on for the last few months — SwiftKey Flow. Think of SwiftKey Flow as a combination of SwiftKey’s brilliant prediction system with the swyping power of Swype. The combination of these two should lead to a killer single hand typing experience on Android devices.

Here is a video of SwiftKey Flow in action -:

The best part of SwiftKey Flow is that, unlike Swype, users can either glide across the screen to enter a word or go the traditional tap an alphabet mode.

Sadly, SwiftKey Flow is not yet available for beta testing. The developers are still busy putting some final touches to the keyboard before they release a beta version to SwiftKey VIP members. Head over to SwiftKey’s website to register yourself to for an exclusive access to the beta version.

Samsung Galaxy Note Jelly Bean Firmware Leaks

A developer over at XDA forums – eybee1970 –  has managed to get his hands on a half-baked Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean firmware for the original Galaxy Note. The firmware is in very early stages of development, and is not really usable as a daily driver.

The leaked Jelly Bean firmware confirms that Samsung will be bringing some of the software features of the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 to the original Note. While the multi-window multi-tasking won’t be coming to the Note, Samsung will be bringing all the sensor based gestures from the S3/Note 2 to it.

As stated, the firmware is in very early stages of development and has a lot of bugs. It is not even available in a CWM flashable zip format, and the installation steps are pretty complex as well.

If you are willing to put the life of your Galaxy Note on risk for some Jelly Bean goodness, head over to this XDA thread and start searching for the download link and installation instructions.

Samsung will be rolling out the official Jelly Bean firmware update for the Note before the end of this year.

Certain Apple Stores Will Replace Less Than 30 Days Old iPad 3 With The Fourth-Generation One

Yesterday, Apple surprised everyone by announcing the fourth generation iPad with a much faster A6X SoC (System-on-Chip), a new Lighting port, updated LTE baseband and upgraded FaceTime HD camera. Refreshing a product within six months of its release is not something Apple is known for, and this move has clearly disappointed many existing iPad 3 owners.

If you got an iPad recently, you will certainly be feeling the burnt more. Thankfully, certain Apple stores will be replacing the iPad 3 for the fourth-generation iPad, only if the device is less than 30 days old. CNET reports that this is not a company wide policy, and so not all Apple stores will be replacing the iPad 3 for the new iPad.

Oh! and don’t think Apple will replace your third generation iPad for the new one if you give your for servicing due to some hardware fault. Apple has a big pile of refurbished iDevices, and will promptly replace your iPad with a third-gen iPad only.