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Google Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is on the way. It’s the operating system that will ship on the Nexus 10 tablet and Nexus 4 smartphone, and Android 4.2 should be available for other devices soon.

While you might think this is a minor update, since Google is keeping the Jelly Bean moniker, there are a number of big changes in this release.

Google Android 4.2 on the Nexus 10

Here are some of the things that are new:

  • Photo Sphere camera lets you snap photos and by moving up and down, left and right to create giant panoramas.
  • The Android 4.2 keyboard now supports Swype-style gesture-based text input. Slide your fingers from key to key to enter text without lifting your fingers from the screen.
  • There’s a new quick settings area in the notification pull-down menu. Tap the icon and you get toggles for brightness, wireless, and other settings.
  • Improved text prediction let Android guess the next word, allowing you to compose entire sentences just by tapping the suggestions.
  • Android now supports multiple users on the same device with user accounts. Each user can create their own homescreen and keep their own app and game settings, scores, and other data. For now the multi-user accounts will only be available on tablets.
  • There’s support for streaming content to a TV or other display with a wireless HDMI adapter.
  • The new Daydream feature is basically a screen savor… that grabs pictures from your photo albums, news from Google Currents, and other “useful and delightful” information when your device is docked or idle.
  • You can add widgets to the lock screen to view a camera or launch some apps (like the camera) without first unlocking your device.

Google is also improving Google Now by adding the ability to track packages, view upcoming movie details, and other information. It can also monitor your Gmail account for flight or hotel information or other travel plans. It will send you reminders of events if you’ve bought tickets. Kind of creepy… kind of awesome.

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7 replies on “Here’s what’s new in Android 4.2”

  1. Um, anyone looking at the from a “big picture” perspective? As in, who holds a competitive advantage when they have the new OS and the other guys don’t? They already have the price advantage, so they throw in the OS advantage just for the hell of it? This is nuts and getting more nuts.

    But for the details, sounds wicked. Can’t wait. I’m liking this wireless HDMI bit. I’m geeked.

    1. Ideally, you don’t want anyone to hold too great a competitive advantage otherwise you end up with another situation like Windows dominating the desktop for almost the last two decades.

      After Netscape was crushed by Microsoft, browser innovation basically ground to a halt until Firefox and then Chrome came along because MS was the only game in town. Competition is good for the consumer, so long may the oneupmanship continue.

      1. As long people get decent quality of goods in a reasonable price I don’t mind one company running the game.

        Google is trying their best to stay in the market .. I hope the others will learn from them and throw around more efficient goods at nice price tags … that way they won’t have to disappear into the oblivion.

  2. ‘There’s support for streaming content to a TV or other display with a wireless HDMI adapter.’ Because, what, it would cost $7 to put a mini HDMI adapter on the 7 or 10? While you could probably charge $35 for the adapter? And don’t even get me started on the lack of an SD card on the Nexus tablets.

    1. Wireless HDMI adapters still cost a lot more than $35 unfortunately, even if you only have to get the receiver for the TV.

      Though it seems MS is trying to run a similar tactic with the Surface. Since it’s pretty clear it comes with a Micro HDMI port but at launch MS is describing it as a proprietary HD Video port and for the adapter cable they’ll be charging a whopping $50!!!

      Now, Micro HDMI adapter do cost a bit more than Mini HDMI adapters but that’s quite the premium and it’s not even that long of a cable they’re providing and it’s not converting anything other than the size of the connector and possibly pinout arrangement.

      While Intel has their own proprietary WiDi for wireless streaming, though the latest receiver has gotten to a more reasonable pricing at $65 plus tax… compared to previous well over a hundred dollar models.

    2. It supports USB Host, and there are a number of microSD card readers that have microUSB ports, so you can just plug that in.

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