Samsung keeps announcing new phones every passing week that look similar to its current flagship, the Galaxy S3. If the Galaxy S3 Mini was not enough, yesterday Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Premier.
The Galaxy Premier is a successor of the Galaxy Nexus with design cues borrowed from the Galaxy S3. The specs of the handset include a 4.65-inch Super-AMOLED HD (1280×720) display, 1GB of RAM, 8 or 16GB of internal memory, a microSD slot, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC and a beefy 2100mAh battery. The dual-core OMAP 4470 processor inside the Premier is clocked at 1.5GHz, and is accompanied by a PowerVR SGX544 GPU.
At the back of the handset is an 8MP camera with an LED flash, while a 1.9MP camera in the front takes care of all your video calling needs.
Even though the Galaxy Premier is a successor to the Galaxy Nexus, it does not carry the Nexus brand with it. Samsung has made full use of this opportunity and has infested Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean with its TouchWIZ enhancements like S-Beam, Pop-Up Play, S-Voice, Smart Stay and more.
The Galaxy Premier will go on sale from next month in Ukraine and other surrounding regions for around 5,555UAH ((650$). It is not yet clear whether Samsung will be releasing this handset in other regions of the world or not.
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.
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 -:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
– Restaurant reservations
– Hotel confirmations
– 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
It has been known since quite sometime now that HTC is working on a 5-inch Android handset with 1080p resolution. The specs of the handset was leaked by XDA developer, Football, a couple of weeks ago.
Today, the folks over at Android Central got their hands on some pictures of the handset thanks to one of their source. The picture clearly shows the Verizon branding on the phone, with the DLX having the same styling clues as the DROID Incredible series.
The Android Central source also sent a picture of the handset’s About device page that confirmed the specs of this monster – a 1.5GHz Quad-Core Krait SoC, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage and a non-removable 2500mAh. The lack of a microSD card slot and a non-removable 2500mAh battery might be a disappointment for many and turn out to be eventual deal-breaker. Hopefully, HTC will release a 32GB variant of the handset as well.
On the software side, the DLX will be running on Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean with Sense 4+ on top of it. There is no word as to when HTC and Verizon will be announcing the DLX, but it should be out around thanksgiving.
Motorola has updated its Android OS update timeline page to reflect when its devices will be getting the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update. Keep in mind that the timeframe listed by Motorola is only for its U.S based devices.
Below are the list of devices that will be getting the Jelly Bean update from Motorola -:
DROID RAZR M (XT907)
DROID RAZR HD (XT926)
DROID RAZR MAXX HD (XT926)
Atrix HD (MB866)
Photon Q (XT897)
Electrify 2 (XT881)
DROID RAZR (XT912)
DROID 4 (XT894)
DROID Bionic (XT875)
XOOM (Wi-Fi and 3G/4G)
Of all the above devices, Motorola will be bringing Jelly Bean to the RAZR M, RAZR HD and RAZR HD MAXX before the start of 2013. Other handsets will hopefully get the update sometime next year.
If your Motorola device is not in the list above, it would be safe to assume that it won’t be getting the Jelly Bean or even Ice Cream Sandwich update.
The decision to bring the Jelly Bean update to the family edition of the Motorola XOOM and the Xyboard tablets are still pending though, and will be announced by Motorola sometime later.
Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S owners can download the OTA update zip file from here and here, respectively. Owners of Nexus S (I9020 and 9023 variants) can manually install the update by downloading the OTA update, renaming it to ”update.zip” and then transferring it to their handset. Then, reboot your handset into recovery mode by pressing the Volume Up and Power key and finally select the ‘install update.zip’ option.
The steps to manually install the OTA update on the Galaxy Nexus are a bit complicated, but if you are still interested, then head over to this thread on XDA for the steps.
Owners of the Wi-Fi variant of the Motorola XOOM will be automatically notified when the update is available for their tablet. The 4G LTE variant of the XOOM and the Galaxy Nexus will get the update only after Verizon is done with its internal quality testing, which can take quite a while.
LG today announced via a press release that it will soon start rolling out the Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean update for some of its devices. LG has hardly updated its handsets to Ice Cream Sandwich, with only the Korean version of the Optimus 2X tasting Android 4.0 until now.
The first handset from LG to receive the Jelly Bean update will be the Optimus LTE II. The handset should taste Jelly Bean next month, but LG is known to delay its Android OS updates, so don’t get your hopes too high. Second in the list is the LG Optimus G, which should taste Jelly Bean sometime in December.
Last, and hopefully not the least, are the Optimus Vu and Vu II devices. LG will update them to Jelly Bean sometime in the Q1 of next year, which shows how slow the company is in rolling out updates for its high-end devices.
Surprisingly, the LG Optimus 4X HD was missing from LG’s press release, which is shocking considering the handset was the Korean maker’s flagship handset for sometime in 2012. If the list is anything to go by, it looks like LG won’t be updating any of its 2011 handsets to Jelly Bean including the Optimus 2X and the Nitro HD.
The Jelly Bean update will bring with it Google Now, minor UI tweaks, Project Butter along with some new apps from LG including Q Slide.
Back in September, Google Motorola released a couple of trio of new RAZR branded handsets, the RAZR HD/HD MAXX and the RAZR M. The RAZR M is a small powerhouse, packing in a 4.3-inch Super-AMOLED display with an edge-to-edge design, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor.
The only problem is that the RAZR M runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, instead of Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. Motorola promised that it will update all the three RAZR handsets to Jelly Bean by the end of this year, but by that time, Google would have released a new version of Android along with a new Nexus handset.
For all the impatient RAZR M owners out there, veteran Motorola developer – P3Droid – has leaked a Jelly Bean firmware for the handset.
Keep in mind that if flashing the leak on your phone will void its warranty. The installation steps are pretty easy. Simply download the zip file from here, and transfer it to the RAZR M’s memory card. Then, reboot your phone into recovery and select the install zip from SD card. Once the zip file has been flashed, reboot your handset. Do keep in mind that the first boot is going to take a long time, so please be patient.
Way back in October last year, when Google introduced Ice Cream Sandwich, it showed off the beautiful new Contacts app which made use of high resolution contact images for one stunning incoming and outgoing call screen.
Sadly, Android users later realized that this new feature was only partially implemented by Google. The problem was that when a user synced his contacts with Google Contacts, the high resolution contact images would be downsized to 96×96 resolution. This was a limitation of Google Contacts, which many people hoped will be solved quickly by Google. Or not.
In Jelly Bean, Google increased the contact photo resolution size, but did not fix the low resolution contact images problem in Google Contacts. The Android community complained to many Google Android engineers numerous time about this issue to no avail.
Now, after truck loads of complaints from Android users, and a year after Ice Cream Sandwich was released, Google has finally fixed the low resolution contact images in Google Contacts. Yes! Finally!
Now, when you add a beautiful high resolution image to any contact, the image resolution will be kept intact, when they are synced back to Google Contacts.
As an Android user, this issue has been bugging me for the last one year or so. I am happy that Google has finally fixed the issue, and sad that it took Google so much time to fix such a small issue.
Since the change is related to Google Contacts, it might not be available to everyone right now, but will be gradually.