It’s again Jelly Bean…but this time, Google brings a ton of gradual improvements! Last year, Google introduced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean; afterwards they also released another semi-major update to version 4.2, which shares the same name. Since then, it is only for the first time when Google posted its official changelog, which listed every feature change that Android received while being updated to version 4.1. Android 4.2 is a new flavor of Jelly Bean, which comes with the latest features like Google Now, Photo Sphere, completely redesigned camera application, multi-user options for tablet users, Android Beam, and more. Some of these are marked as “new” actually identify features that have been included in Android 4.2 since its initial launch. However, some of its new features are not previously touched on. Little confusion but if you are really curious to go over the full list of every new feature, then check out them in details here.
Earlier, 4.1 was all about Project Butter and speed… as now 4.2 moves the focus back to the user. Here, Google has effectively improved Jelly Bean in all needed aspects like camera UI, lockscreen with widgets, keyboard and security. Below are given detailed and reliable information about each and every new feature.
Camera is the most used feature in phones nowadays, so let’s start with the ruler. For user’s convenience, Google has rebuilt the camera interface with a new radial menu. With this, you can get fine tune Flash usage, Exposure, White Balance. A new version provides camera access straight from your phone’s lock screen.
The second big update is the addition of Photo Sphere app (sounds a lot like Microsoft’s Photosynth app); this is really great news for photography enthusiasts. Taking inspiration from Google Maps’ Street View, Photo Sphere is added for a deeper, more interactive and fun way to capture your surroundings. It is a panorama application that allows you to stitch images into a larger one – not only in vertical orientation, but also in full 360 degrees. Even in the Gallery application, you can get a brand new photo editor features, including a bunch of Instagram-like filters, borders and other tools to easily customize your photos. It also includes various editing options, starting with the most basic cropping and rotating the image to deeper tweaks – levels, contrasts and other adjustments.
From the beginning, widgets have been a key part of the Android experience. As now with Jelly Bean Android 4.2, Widgets work like magic. When you place widgets on the screen, everything else moves automatically to make room; in simple words if they’re too big, widgets resize on their own.
On the other hand, Android phone makers like Samsung, HTC and others have long been trying to fix the static lock screen in stock Android, by adding some shortcuts. But now, Google finally solves this problem and brings widgets to the lockscreen. Widget on the lock screen is the most exciting new feature in Android 4.2. Now, users can add Gmail and Calendar preview widgets or other kinds of widgets to their lock screen. Hence, they can simply access widgets by swiping to the left or right without need to unlock the phone.
Before adding some of these widgets, make sure about privacy concerns. Here, anyone can see the widgets without being asked for a password as Lockscreen widgets do not require a password even if you have your device password-protected. If you are concerned about the privacy of your email, don’t use those lockscreen widgets that reveal your information. Also remember that Google allows only one widget per screen right now, so you can’t have two widgets on the same screen.
Google brings Gesture Typing, a Swipe-like experience, on 4.2. Writing messages on the go is easier than ever with Gesture Typing – even if you want to type single-handed, Gesture Typing is definitely a good option. Just you need to glide your finger over the letters you want to type, the keyboard can anticipate and predict the next word, thus you can finish entire sentences just by selecting the suggested words. Also, you don’t have to worry about spaces because they’re automatically added for you. Moreover, voice typing on Android 4.2 becomes better with improved speech-to-text capabilities and more accurate & relevant Android’s dictionaries. This feature can work without a data connection, so you can type with your voice everywhere you go.
Google Now is also updated, this card-based system was introduced in 4.1. Google Now brings you the information you need, before you even ask. It taps into your Google search history and automatically collects short cards with relevant information. Google Now tells you today’s weather before you start your day, it uses Gmail to pick up data like flights and hotel reservations and show you just the day of your flight arrival or show the time in a card when the next train will arrive while you’re standing on the platform. With the latest version, you can see popular photo spots nearby and track packages easily. The cards also keep you up to date with movie and music recommendations.
Multiple user support for tablets
Android 4.2 introduces multiple user support, which is available only on tablets. Multiple user support allows you not only keep your data safe and out of the reach of kids’, wife, girlfriend, etc., but also gives opportunity for everyone to customize their own homescreen, background, widgets, apps and games – even individual high scores and levels! Thus, you can give each person their own space. In quick settings, you’d notice your profile name along with an image, and while that is not functional on smartphones, a tap on that icon switches users on tablets. Up to eight users are allowed. Among them, only 3 users can be active at a time, and they can all sync data like email at the same time, even reuse apps if another user has installed it.
Share what’s on your phone on the big screen
Android 4.2 allows support for new wireless display settings, including the ability to discover and connect to Miracast compatible devices via Wi-Fi Direct. So, enjoy Full HDMI mirroring with notifications and multi-display support.
This setup wirelessly mirrors the content that’s running on your screen on an HDTV. Just connect a wireless display adapter to any HDMI-enabled TV, now quickly and easily share movies, YouTube videos, and anything that’s on your screen on an HDTV. It requires a Miracast-enabled TV. Also, it solves issues with the constantly varying MHL/HDMI cable standard usage.
Beam photos and videos
Using this new feature, you can easily share your photos, videos along with contacts, web pages, YouTube videos, directions, and apps just with a simple tap. You just need to touch two NFC-enabled Android devices back-to-back, and then tap to beam whatever’s on the screen to your friend.
Daydream display mode
In Daydream mode, your Android device displays useful and delightful information. When your tablet or phone isn’t being used or docked, a new display mode allows apps to display interactive screensavers – like a photo album or current stream. Basically, it sounds like a snazzy screensaver. With this built-in application, you could turn your tablet into a picture frame, even you can customize your device to show most recent news from Google Currents. This is small improvement in the system, but it is better suited for devices with larger displays.
Expandable, actionable notifications
Just swipe down from the top of the screen, and it will reveal the notification pane that allows you to see all your notifications in one place. As now with the latest feature, you can instantly take an action directly from the notifications shade. It means if you spot a missed call, you’ll also see a button allowing you to return it or if you have an invitation, you can expand it and accept directly from the spot. Moreover, it allows you to get an image preview in notifications after taking a screenshot, meanwhile, you can quickly share the screenshot straight from the notification.
Fast and smooth system experience
The latest version makes everything feel fast, fluid and smooth. It offers more reactive and uniform touch responses. Even, it boosts up your device’s CPU immediately when you touch the screen, on the other hand turns it down when you don’t need it to improve battery life. Jelly Bean makes your Android device more responsive with buttery graphics and silky transitions, so moving between home screens as well as switching between different apps is like turning pages in a book.
A new look for Google Search
In the new version, Google Search can be opened directly from the lock screen by swiping up. So now, you can rapidly explore and browse quick search results. If you are tired of typing, it also lets you search the web with your voice; even this feature is convenient for getting quick answers on the fly. You may be glad to know that using Voice Search, you can now hear a spoken answer for many search queries performed. Also, it is powered by the Knowledge Graph, which helps it in bringing a precise answer and precisely ranked search results. Thereby, you can always find out more and more for every search.
With the new accessibility focus feature, you can double tap anywhere to launch the current item. It lets you quickly access your favorite apps from any homescreen and gives improved access to your notifications. For getting a closer look, it also allows screen magnification to easily zoom or pan the entire screen. So now with ‘Magnification gestures’, blind users can enter full-screen magnification with a triple-tap on the screen and they even type and interact with the device while zoomed in. Blind users can also use Gesture Mode to reliably navigate the UI using touch and swipe gestures in combination with speech output. At the best, ‘TalkBack’, a screen reader, can be directly accessed right from the power menu.
Messaging and Talk
The new version provides great support for group messaging via MMS as well Talk features a new notification style. Now, your Gmail auto-fits messages to your screen and lets you pinch-to-zoom, so emails are easier than ever to read. While viewing your Gmail inbox, you can now swipe to archive or delete emails. You can attach videos right from Gmail when composing a message, Gmail also gives you larger photo previews and a gallery views to enjoy the photos more quickly and easily.
Quick Settings & Improved Security
Now, you can access settings directly by tapping the Quick Settings icon in the notification shade or you can swipe down from the top right on tablets or with two fingers on phones to access settings. In Quick Settings, you can quickly toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with a long press.
Moreover, you can get improved security for devices with debugging enabled in Android 4.2. Here, you can enable debugging for each new debugging client. It introduces app verification service, which provides enhanced security along with always-on VPN. Also, you can receive alert before an app tries to send SMS messages that may take charges.
Get more information about new features here.
5 Best Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Features! video from youtube: