While most of the Chinese phones still come with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Google started to roll out the next next version if their operating system. Nexus device owners can install the shiny Jelly Bean 4.2 update since November 13th. For those of you who are curious what the small 0.1 step means, here are a few pictures and a short summary what can be expected from the new release.
Right after the installation has finished the first changes shows up immediately. The upper part of the lock screen is now an area that shows special widgets. Swiping left and right moves between the widgets. So far a clock, a gmail and a calendar widget are available. The lower part of the lock screen shows another big news – multiuser. All jelly bean 4.2 tablets allow sharing the tablet between several users. All users can have their own set of installed apps and data. Changing the user can be done via the lock screen or via the notification bar.
Interesting has also happened to the notification bars that slide down from the top of the screen. Sliding down from the right third of the screen opens a new notification area that gives quick access to system settings like WiFi, Bluetooth or display brightness. Unfortunately these symbols don’t all directly change the settings but often show the corresponding settings page. Sliding down from the left two thirds of the screen shows a bar that has all other notifications. This change seems to be an attempt to include quick settings that can be found in many manufacturers system modifications in Google’s plain android system. It needs to be proven if this is really a benefit in daily use.
Another major change has come to the onscreen keyboard. Text can now be entered by swiping across the keyboard. The methods is just the same as the Swype app was offering before. Whether or not this entry method suits you can only be determined by trying it for a while. I didn’t like Swype bit the new jelly bean keyboard feels good and gives surprisingly good results.
Daydream is yet another new feature. It is a new interactive screensaver that can show a clock pictures from several galleries or Google currents while the device is locked.
Smaller changes can be found e.g. inside the gmail app. E-mails can now be zoomed to fit the screen. Individual zooming into our out of the screen is also possible like in the webbrowser. Also the clock app has been updated. Basically it seems to be a completely new app. The main screen can show clocks from different time zones besides the home timezone. Previously missing features like a timer and a stopwatch have been added, too.