Android 4.2 Jelly Bean officially announced by Google

Google unveiled its newest version of Android, despite the press event being canceled today and have decided to name it Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Google also unveiled the Google Nexus 4 and the Google Nexus 10, a phone and a tablet which will take over as the company’s newest flagship devices.

Despite has chosen to stick to the Jelly Bean name despite Android 4.2 featuring several new features and improvements over .  Android 4.2 will officially roll out to devices when the new devices go on sale on November 13th. Meanwhile, let's take a look at some of those new features now.

Multiple user accounts

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean for tablets adds multiple user account support. This allows multiple family members to use a single tablet and allows Google to better compete with the recently launched Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Once a user is logged in, they will have their own personal home screen with widgets, wallpapers and app shortcuts. Games will even maintain their own individual high scores and levels.

Photo Sphere

Google introduced Panorama mode with  and they have now enhanced that to allow users to capture photos in multiple directions (up, down, left or right).

This feature which is known as Photo Sphere will allow you to navigate through the whole image, which will be saved on your device as a collection of JPEG files. You can then share the image on Google+ or even contribute the image to Google Maps.

This feature has obviously been inspired by Street View and is an intuitive way for Google to get something out of users taking photos on their new Nexus devices.

Hugo Barra, Project Management Director for Android explained that the photos will have embedded XML metadata which allows you to easily share them on Google+ and put them into Google+ albums for your friends to be able to view them.

Gesture Typing

Android now offers a replacement for Swype, with Gesture typing. Just like with Swype it allows you to swipe your finger between letters to make up the words you want to type. This feature adds on to the already available word prediction and offline voice typing features of Android to make the experience of messaging on Android quite comprehensive.

Settings Center in the notifications drawer

With Android 4.2 Google has taken notifications to a new level. You can now perform tasks like toggling WiFi, adjusting brightness and toggling your Bluetooth or airplane more directly from the notification drawer.
This is a feature already available from manufacturers like Samsung with their TouchWiz UI or HTC with Sense UI, but it is good to see this has become a core part of Android.

Google Now updated

Google Now has been updated and adds several new cards to its service. You can now also feed data directly from Gmail which will allow new cards like package shipment information to be displayed.
Google Now also features new cards for events, restaurant reservations, hotels, and flights, with hotel and flights cards being location-specific. It also features cards for movie screenings, concerts, stocks, public alerts and breaking news stories.

Wireless TV streaming

Android finally allows users to share their screen with a display of your wireless TV set. All you will need is a wireless display adaptor connected to your HDMI enabled TV and you can mirror your device display using DLNA.

While this feature is available to Android through several manufacturers, it's great to see it become a standard feature on the Nexus Series.

Widgets for lock screen

You can now easily assign widgets to your device lock-screen. This adds to the great features of Jelly Bean which allows you to easily sort, resize and move your widgets and you can even add a music player widget to your home screen for quick access to your controls.


This is a new feature on Android which allows you to display your photo albums while the device is idle or docked. It’s a neat way of using your Android device as an (an expensive) photo frame.
Google has also added some additional micro yet useful improvements to Android with version 4.2
  • You can now pinch to zoom within GMail for enhanced reading
  • Triple tap magnifies the entire home screen
  • You can now pan and zoom with two fingers.
  • Enhanced speech output and gesture mode navigation for visually impaired users.
What do you think about the newest features of Android? Will you be getting a Nexus 10 or a Nexus 4 this holiday season? Let us know in the comments section below.


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