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Android 4.2 is Here; Retains Jelly Bean Moniker but Comes with a Ton of Advancements

Despite the cancellation of the event slotted for today, Google went ahead and released a host of devices including the Nexus 10 tablet and LG’s nexus 4 smartphone.  The company also announced the latest version of the Android operating system, Android 4.2.  Contrary to widespread rumors, the new version of Android retained the Jelly Bean Moniker and did not come with the much pontificated ‘Key Lime Pie’ nickname.  Although it retains the Jelly Bean name, it has a ton of great additions that makes it way better than the 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Top on the list of improvements is the new quick settings menu which is easily accessible from the notification pull down.  A user just needs to tap on an icon on the top right corner to toggle WiFi and Bluetooth, switch profiles, adjust screen brightness, switch Airplane mode on and others.  As expected, the new operating system also supports multiple user accounts which means that family members or friends can now use the same device while maintaining their own unique settings.

The photo gallery application is also now revamped and features Photo Sphere.  This is essentially an application that a user can use to create a 360 degrees panoramic photos and easily share them on social sites (Google+) or Google Maps.  This application is clearly Google’s fast response to iOS 6’s Panorama feature, but we haven’t tested it yet to see just which one offers better performance.  Check back, we will compare the two soon and give our verdict.  There is also a new screensaver by the name ‘Daydream’ which displays news, photos and other information or content when the device is docked or when it is in idle mode.

Another new feature is gesture typing which looks and works a lot like swyping.  In this typing mode, the user just glides the finger over letters to form words rather than tap individual letters.  Miracast wireless display is a great tool that simplifies the sharing of files for example beaming movies, pictures and games on to another device’s display.  If you will be running Android 4.2 on a tablet, you will enjoy the new stock user interface which has received smaller but noticeable tweaks that brings it a little closer to phones’ display.  The new design is a lot easier to use and it provides display consistency across devices.

Finally, another great improvement in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is Google Now.  The development may be described as creepy as it can now monitor your Gmail email account to extract relevant information like flight times and numbers.  It also presents hotel and restaurant reservations, shipping details and packages as cards.  The new Google Now service will also remind the user of events that they have purchased tickets for – which makes it a great integration with the calendar.