Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Review
The stock keyboard on Android is great, but to make it even better Google brings Gesture Typing, a Swipe-like experience, on 4.2. We still feel faster typing with our two hands, but if you want to type single-handed, Gesture Typing is definitely a good option to have. With your finger leaving a fading blue trace, all it takes it a slight pause on a letter to get Google’s intelligent word recognition software kick in.
7. Google Now
Google Now, the card-based system that was introduced in 4.1 is also updated. It taps into your Google search history and automatically assembles short cards with relevant information. It now integrates flight and hotel reservations, arriving just the day of your flight for example.
8. Improved security
Security is given a big boost in Android 4.2. Android is already a very secure platform if you shop on Google Play. If you experiment with third-party stores, though, problem is they don’t have any malware scanners, and this could be a problem. Google now solves the third-party app problem as well. Back in February the company introduced Bouncer, a Google play system that detects malware and basically does not allow malicious apps.
However Android has remained troubled by premium texting applications and spyware. As you’d guess, such apps do not come from the Play Store. With Bouncer now on Android 4.2, you can however easily and quickly have Android check even third-party apps for such misconduct. Kudos, Google.
Android is a massive platform - it is the world’s biggest mobile operating system. It beats iOS by a huge number. That is why accessibility for all kinds of users is very important. In Android 4.2, Google adds options like triple-tapping acting as a magnification gesture. Additionally, the system helps out blind users by voicing their every action.
9. Daydream mode
Daydream mode is another small improvement in the system, but this one is better suited to devices with larger displays. Imagine you could turn your tablet into a picture frame with a built-in application. That is daydream. You can customize your device to show most recent news and the time as well.
10. Miracast, multiuser support
Miracast is a very important feature, but it is one of the future rather than the present. For starters, out of all Android devices, it is only available on the Nexus 4. What’s more it requires a Miracast-enabled TV. What it does with this setup is wirelessly mirror the content of your device to the TV set. The implications could be great for gaming, watching movies and just about everything you do on the device. And with the constantly varying MHL/HDMI cable standards (for example the Galaxy S III uses a 5-pin MHL port that requires a new cable, different than the 11-pin one for say the Galaxy Nexus), this could answer many people’s prayers.
At the moment, though, it is a promise that is not yet fulfilled.
Android 4.2 introduces multiple user support for tablets. In quick settings, you’d notice your profile name along with a picture, and while that is not functional on smartphones, a simple tap on that icon switches users on tablets. If you have a tablet, chances are it has become the kids’ (wife, girlfriend, etc) favorite. Having multiple user support allows you to not only keep your data safe and out of their reach, but also gives the opportunity for everyone to customize their homescreens, and use the device happily in the family.
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is a new flavor of Jelly Bean, and it is the one that tastes best yet.
Moreover, it looks best, and that’s what has been on Google’s radar lately. While Android in the Gingerbread and pre 2.3 era was a pain for the design-conscious eye, starting with Ice Cream Sandwich Google has been improving the style and usability of Android in leaps and bounds.
It now seems that Google has taken a confident lead over iOS and Windows Phone who could earlier claim a more consistent and overall pleasing design. While Windows Phone can still claim the unique card, iOS is starting to show its age in comparison to the newest Android.
The improved camera and gallery apps seem of biggest importance in Jelly Bean. They show that Google is committed to improve its native applications, much like Apple is with its paid iPhoto app for example. We consider home-grown apps like iPhoto, iMovie and now the Google Gallery essential to a platform’s success.
The existential question we are left with thus is “when Google updates Android, does this make a sound in the Android ecosystem?”
We have been saying this for the past years, not months - what Google needs to do is not only update Android, but make sure everyone gets it. The celebrations cannot start when a fraction of Android users have the latest version of the operating system. Truth is carriers and OEMs are the first to blame for slow updates, but whatever the reason, this should stop.
Until then, 4.2 will be the best Android yet when everyone gets it. And if they get it.
- Camera app gets a modern and very practical new UI
- User experience improves in many ways
- Tablet interface gets unified with phone interface
- It will take months until carrier and OEMs deliver this
- Some features like Miracast are not yet practical
- A lot of small (and not so small) bugs have crippled in
1. sheik (Posts: 249; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)
I love android. Hope Galaxy Note II get that very soon
11. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 2439; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
Very soon equates to about three to six months.
17. MobileCaseReview (Posts: 239; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Probably near the end of the December with some fancing porting from alot of the devs. Plenty of roms are currently being worked on.
21. adelta90 (Posts: 63; Member since: 14 Sep 2012)
people who choose android very often dont wait for the manufacturer to release it, we just use AOSP till the manufacturer chooses to release the latest version
22. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 2439; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
I see a few commenters had to wait three to six months for the latest update.
27. tedkord (Posts: 3409; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
"Google is doing tremendous work on its operating system and keeps pushing the pedal with quick updates, and it seems that it has taken a confident lead in terms of features over iOS and Windows Phone."
He reads that, and it bothers him, so he has a deep rooted need to say something negative about Android.
33. JasonJia11 (Posts: 6; Member since: 01 Dec 2012)
I see your name on just about every Android article trolling and hating on Android. You also said in one of your comments that you were an Apple fanboy. If you have so much time in your day to be hating on Android, why don't you go and read articles about how Apple is outdated, is getting old, and just plainly sucks? Get it into your head iSheep.
34. rusticguy (Posts: 2699; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
Well he specialises in "Hit N Run" ... never comes back to reply or discuss :)
35. tedkord (Posts: 3409; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
What else can you do when the facts ruin contrary to your argument?
36. Airforce (Posts: 60; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)
Apple has really inspired Android to go further and be the leading phone os
2. wendygarett (unregistered)
Wonderful review pa :) keep up the good work
3. networkdood (Posts: 4749; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
The only 'bug' I have found is that even when my wifi is set to never turn on when device is asleep, the tablet will sometimes decide to 'wake up' and start using wifi....other than that is an excellent update.
6. thelegend6657 (unregistered)
Good things come to those who waited . Just be patient .
Thats what you get for not buying a nexus
9. SleepingOz (Posts: 2009; Member since: 22 Oct 2011)
If you don't want to wait for the official updates, you can always flash it yourself..
14. nyamo (Posts: 273; Member since: 19 Mar 2011)
go over to xda and see whats cooking, i'm sure you'll get a port
37. eddo85 (Posts: 11; Member since: 03 Dec 2012)
i am using an aokp rom on my s2 and i am not missing touchwiz at all
5. protozeloz (Posts: 5188; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
=-O is that you Victor? You look nice :>
7. xfire99 (Posts: 262; Member since: 14 Mar 2012)
Like the new 4 native lockscreen, swiping right for camera and the new security features. Gmail updates are also welcome.
Bring it to Note 2 ASAP now pls.
12. JunitoNH (Posts: 650; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)
It may be a good review. However, just go surfing, and read about the pain on the a** this update has become. 1. The camera UI is hideous, annoying, and just plain ugly. 2. Widget screen just a total waste of time and energy. 3. Went from project butter to lags and slow as molasses, performance issues a sure bet. 4. Bluetooth disable, unable to use headphones and/or Bose speaker or Monster. My advise, just like iOS 5 users are on the sidelines until maps are repair, wait until Googles fixes all the bugs. Update will make you wish you were back using gingerbread.
18. Fallout09 (Posts: 397; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
I dont know what you are talking about with system lags. I updated my Nexus 7 and it performs better than ever.
13. yowanvista (Posts: 253; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)
4.2.1 is out, fixes all those small bugs
15. nyamo (Posts: 273; Member since: 19 Mar 2011)
4.2 is nice, but for those of us who have been using custom roms for years its not nearly as much of a gain. the toggles are semi useful but still not my cup of tea (perhaps they will grow on me).... as for the lock screen widgets, useless, especially since a lock screen still allows widgets to bypass and be used.
but i digress, for the average user, 4.2 will be a wonderful update
16. AmitMajumder (Posts: 79; Member since: 21 May 2012)
After John, Victor is the one who showed his face. Why doesn't everyone in PA show off their faces? Are they too shy??
19. ap1989 (Posts: 143; Member since: 12 Oct 2011)
Cant wait til my Gnex gets it. Android > iOASS
20. LOTR12 (Posts: 13; Member since: 04 Nov 2012)
Multi-user support is good for keeping "data" out of others reach. If you know what i mean!
24. DOGIEFRESH (Posts: 302; Member since: 15 Jul 2009)
Nothing new besides same old fragmentation.......!!!!!!
28. tedkord (Posts: 3409; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
If by fragmentation you mean, "a confident lead in features over iOS and Windows Phone..." that leads to it selling 5x more than any other mobile OS, then yes.
30. DOGIEFRESH (Posts: 302; Member since: 15 Jul 2009)
Have read the latest news Iphone has reclaimed the top spot in the Cell market and is one Phone against 400 androids model with 20 different types of softwares......!!!!!
31. tedkord (Posts: 3409; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
I read it. Did you comprehend it? In the US only, and only for the one quarter. It happens every year around launch time, but year over year, every year, Android grows at a faster rate than iOS.
26. networkdood (Posts: 4749; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
go to XDA and get your update faster...lol
29. Loubielou (Posts: 114; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)
Hope Soon Google can had Sleeper Screen on a Future Update so a Clock can be seen on the Screen without turning the Phones on,Nokia did this on Symbian N8 an it was a superb function,without draining the Battery
32. rusticguy (Posts: 2699; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
Manually upgraded my GNex to takju 4.2.1 (from yakjuxw 4.1.1) and loving it. So henceforth all updates directly from GOOG.