Each and every fan of Google’s operating system is talking about Android 4.2, the yet-unannounced new version of our beloved mobile platform. Rumor has it that we will be able to see it in flesh next Monday, therefore we thought it’s about the time to gather all the rumors and leaked features and present them to you in this article.
As you probably know (or not), Android 4.2 will not be a major update like the transition from Android 2.3 Gingerbread to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was, but rather the same Android 4.1 Jelly Bean we all love, with some bug fixes, security improvements, and one or two minor changes in terms of UI of certain applications.
Even though there are some voices saying that Android 4.2 will be called Key Lime Pie, I am 100% certain that Google will stick to the name of Jelly Bean for the new update.
To be honest, I was a bit surprised when the Mountain View-based giant decided to call Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, as it wasn’t intended to be a major update for ICS. Still, it was later proved that Android 4.1 Jelly Bean brought more than a minor update and all I’m reminding you of are the expandable notifications, Google Now, and the smooth Project Butter. I know, there’s more about Jelly Bean than these three major improvements, but nothing to get near the transition from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich.
Therefore, if you were thinking that Android 4.2 will be called Key Lime Pie, I will come and shatter your dreams. Not that it would really matter, but I am confident Google will not change the nickname of the Android version until Android 5.0 when we will be able to taste the Key Lime Pie, Kefir, Kiwi Cheesecake, or whatever the next version will be called.
The upgrade brought by Android 4.2 will be too minor to deserve a new name.
It was reported that Android 4.2 Jelly Bean will come with a two-steps drop down notification area. The first drag will allow you to access a quick settings menu, then after a full drop you will be able to see the notifications.
Well, it seems that the Android 4.2 team has forgotten about this feature and since the first rumors appeared, it transformed into a single button that will give you access to a quick settings menu. Well, the quick settings menu will give you access to functions like WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, Data and stuff like this.
Does it sound familiar? Of course it does. Samsung’s TouchWiz has this feature since Froyo, there are skins out there to bring this feature too, while the custom ROMs even allow you to choose what toggles to be displayed in the notifications area.
Sources are indicating that Google will also change the Gallery App in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Details about the new Gallery app appeared a few days ago, after the guys at Android Police torn apart a leaked Android 4.2 early build, revealing that the Google engineers have changed the application’s design.
The new Gallery app will receive a new icon and a refreshed user interface, with more white areas, and, to me, the resemblance to Google Plus is uncanny. If you were hoping to be able to delete Picasa or Google Plus photos from the new Gallery app, I would have to disappoint you and say that this is not possible yet. This inconvenience bothers a lot of the users and it seems that the Android software engineers haven’t found a solution yet. Or maybe the solution is out there, but it would make the Gallery app less stable.
The Carphone Warehouse UK retailer has listed the LG Nexus 4 as available for pre-order a couple of days ago, a smartphone expected to run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box. The same retailer was talking about a new feature of the Camera app, called “amazing 360 degree camera.”
After tearing the early Android 4.2 build apart it was discovered that the Camera app will also receive a new icon, therefore we should expect some new features, too. I don’t know whether the “360 degree camera feature” is real or not, but let’s hope that Google will surprise us again.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich introduced the data counter feature and those of you who got to mess around with it know how annoying it can be as soon as it starts to warn you that you’ve passed or got close to the data usage limit you’ve pre-set. This feature was also be integrated in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and it’s just as annoying as it is in Android 4.0 ICS, because it wouldn’t allow you to dismiss the warning in the notifications area. Well, it seems that Android 4.2 Jelly Bean will be less annoying regarding this matter, and as soon as you update your device you will be able to get rid of the annoying data warning notification.
There are voices saying that Android 4.2 Jelly Bean will come with a multiple-account feature as well. In my opinion this would be great for shared tablets, because it will work in a way similar to how Windows user accounts work.
If the rumor is accurate, the it means that you will be able to create an “admin” account then make a couple more for other persons using the tablet. This means that each account will display certain applications and have certain privileges.
Moreover, it seems that parental controls will come packed in Android 4.2, so the “admin” account will be able to control the activity on the tablet or smartphone, like blocking Play Store downloads or certain apps. This feature will come in handy on your kid’s smartphone, as you will be able to block adult content or restrict shopping in Android 4.2 Play Store.
As usual, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean will first hit the Google-branded devices belonging to the Nexus line up. First in line for the update will be Nexus 7, Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S. The highly anticipated LG Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 (a 10.1-inch tablet co-developed by Google and Samsung) will reportedly run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box.
The main problem with the new Android software updates are the big waiting times for the devices outside the Nexus line-up. Since there are so many smartphone and tablet makers developing Android-powered terminals, the fragmentation inside Google’s mobile operating system has become an issue.
Statistics show that the majority of activated Android terminals is running on Android 2.3.x Gingerbread, even though this software version was released back in December 2010, so don’t expect the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update too soon unless you own a Nexus device.
The manufacturers and carriers are to blame for the Android fragmentation. More often the flagship devices are the only ones to receive the latest Android updates, while the old models and low-end devices are left to rot on an ancient firmware.
Soon after the Nexus devices are upgraded to the latest software version, namely Android 4.2, the unlocked flagship smartphones and tablets will follow (most likely a couple of months later) then the devices purchased on contract are upgraded, but only after carriers’ software engineers test the firmware and install the bloatware.
As you probably know Google will host a press conference next Monday, on October 29th, where the search engine giant will reportedly introduce the new Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. We might also see the new LG Nexus 4 smartphone and the Nexus 10 tablet in flesh at the same New York-based event. Other reports are suggesting that the Mountain View-based company will also unveil a 32 GB Nexus 7 model, but also a 3G variant of the new 7-inch Google tablet, aiming at iPad Mini.
What are you expecting from Android 4.2 Jelly Bean? The comments section below is all yours.