Posted by: Brett
Google took the wraps off Android 4.2 today, and while it’s still being called Jelly Bean, it packs some great new features which make the OS even better. Keep reading to find out what’s new.
Photo Sphere in Android 4.2 isn’t anything groundbreaking, but it’s still a nice addition, allowing you to take panoramic photos by moving the device in any direction, not just left and right or up and down. You’ve been able to take panoramas, but this just adds a bit more flexibility and it appears to work nicely. Google says the feature uses the same technology used to create Street View images.
Gesture Typing is essentially Google’s version of and answer to Swype, the keyboard which lets you swipe from letter to letter to form words, rather than tap each letter individually. If you’re good at it, typing can be faster than when using the keyboard regularly and the auto-prediction will help with inputting words faster.
Although this feature is only on tablets, Android 4.2 now has support for multiple user accounts. This feature will be ideal for families using one tablet or even for having two accounts, one for work and one for play. Each separate account can have different apps, settings, photos, home screens, and more. If both accounts have the exact same games, high scores, levels, and other achievements will be kept separate.
Android 4.2 allows for device mirroring which is essentially what AirPlay on iOS does. You can mirror the devices screen to an HDMI-enabled TV to show your photos, videos, and more.
Daydream will let you display things on your lock screen like photos, Google Current news, and presumably other app info once they’re updated. Weather apps would presumably be one of the more popular pieces of information to display.
Android finally has quick settings built into the notification pull-down like most manufacturer skins have had for years. All you have to do is pull down your notifications and click the quick settings button on the top right and setting toggles will appear. On the Nexus 10, it appears there are two pull-downs – one on the left for notifications and one on the right for quick settings.
Goggle Now has been updated with some new features like the ability to track packages, grab flight info from your emails, show popular photo spots nearby, recommend restaurants, get information about movies, and recommend music.
Here’s the condensed list of all the new features (courtesy of The Verge):
- Photo Sphere panorama photos
- Gesture typing on the keyboard
- Lockscreen improvements, including widget support and the ability to swipe directly to camera
- Expandable notifications with that let you take actions directly
- Message zooming in Gmail with the ability to reflow text automatically
- Daydream screensavers
- Accessibility improvements: triple-tap to magnify the entire screen, pan and zoom with two fingers. Speech output and Gesture Mode navigation for blind users.
- Miracast support for wireless display sharing
- Google Now can use Gmail as a data source for new cards, including improved flight tracker, hotel and restaurant reservations, movie and music recommendations. Photo Spot card recommends interesting places to take photos based on your location.