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.