It is hard to fathom the fact that while devices like the Motorola Droid Bionic are just now getting the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update, others are about to receive the newest Android 4.2 update.
In case you didn’t quite understand that last part, we’ll repeat it. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is here! Even if it will be another year before you see Android 4.1 (that may be a slight exaggeration).
The Google Nexus products will undoubtedly be the first to receive the latest update, while the rest of the Android market will have to wait until service providers and manufacturers work out their own updates. Once again, the Android community is left to the whim of wireless service providers and mobile device manufacturers.
Let’s not focus on the negative, because with a new Android update also comes lots of new features we can look forward to!
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean: Features & Upgrades
If you’ve been paying attention to Apple news, iPhone users just gained the option to take panoramic photos with the stock camera app in iOS 6. With 4.2 Google just snickered at Apple and said, “Panoramic Shmanoramic.”
With Jelly Bean, Android users now have the option to capture panoramic photos that extend in every direction. Essentially, the panoramic image creates a spherical scene that can be zoomed, panned and edited further. The finished product resembles a large, 360 degree mural.
When the image is compiled, you can then view the entire photo sphere via your Android mobile phone.
Hopefully you know what Swype is by now. If you don’t, it’s a third party keyboard, usually included as a native keyboard option on mobile devices that allow you to slide your finger across the virtual keyboard to type.
With Jelly Bean, Google has also created their own version of the gesture typing keyboard that allows you to trace out words with a single finger.
Multiple User Support
Do you own multiple Android tablets or devices in your home that are used by various members of your family?
You’ll be glad to know that with Jelly Bean, Android now supports multiple user profiles. Each user gets their own customized version of Android, just as if they had a totally different device. Users can specify a custom homescreen, background, widgets, install their own apps and even save individual game states like scores and game saves.
There is no need to sign out when switching users either, Jelly Bean has been optimized to allow for multitasking even between users!
Wireless Screen Sharing
With HDMI outputs a common feature on most phones, it’s a wonder that developers haven’t found a way to unlock enhanced features. With Jelly Bean, Android users will now have the option to stream device content to an HDTV using an HDMI wireless display adapter.
That means, with the appropriate adapter, you can stream YouTube videos, photos and movies that are stored on your device to your TV!
When your tablet or Android device is docked, it’s essentially useless. With Jelly Bean, you can now use your Android device to display photos, news, and more via a screensaver-like function, called Daydream.
Expandable, Actionable Notifications
Android Developers have taken the expandable notifications from ICS a step further and added new functions and features. Now you can pretty much control an entire app via the notifications window if you so desire and if the app offers the feature.
Google Now was the premiere feature of Jelly Bean and was initially added in Android 4.1. It has been updated even further in Android 4.2.
It will be improved with new cards and personalized interactions.
Other Features in Android 4.2
Of course, the Android developers have also changed a few other features in 4.2. The overall performance of the Android OS has been improved, to include a much more responsive experience. The device’s CPU is now boosted as soon as you touch the screen, and then throttled down to conserve battery life when you’re not using it.
Android Beam has been added, to enable select devices with NFC support to beam photos and videos with just a simple tap. You can touch two NFC enabled devices back-to-back and then tap the screen to beam content.
Android 4.2 is Still Called Jelly Bean, Will Arrive Soon
Even though the update changes the version from 4.1 to 4.2, Google is still calling the latest update Jelly Bean. Despite having a similar name, 4.2 is a significant update from 4.1, and it contains all the features listed above and more.
Android 4.2 will roll out to Google’s line of Nexus products soon. As for everyone else with a third party Android phone, there’s no telling when the update will appear. Hopefully we’ll all be happily shooting panoramic photos with 4.2 by the end of 2014.