Android Jelly Bean 4.2: Gesture-Based Typing, Multiple Users And Other New Features

Google updated Android to version 4.2 today. The latest version keeps the Jelly Bean name, but adds improvements including gesture-based typing, support for multiple users and actionable notifications.

Gesture-Based Typing

Like the much-beloved Swype, Android 4.2's keyboard now offers gesture-based typing where you can draw words with your finger instead of poke at each key individually. They keyboard will also try to anticipate your next word so you can skip having to type every character.

Multiple Users

One of the biggest complaints users have about tablets is that they're hard to share. You can't switch between multiple users, which makes living in a multi-person household a little difficult if you don't want lots of different devices. Android 4.2 changes that, allowing you to instantly switch between users direct from the lock screen.

Actionable Notifications

Notifications aren't particularly useful in and of themselves. Android 4.2 allows you to act on them. For example, you can return a missed call or start an email directly from the notifications shade.

Other New Features

Android 4.2 adds some other nifty features as well. Daydream adds interesting information to your lock screen, such as a photo slideshow or news. (Windows Phone 8 also has a similar new option.)

Photo Spheres allow you to create beyond-panorama images. Shoot all around you and Android's camera app will stitch those images together. Widgets now work a bit better, you can beam photos and videos between devices (if both have NFC), and several accessibility improvements have been made. Check out the official Android page for more information.

As ever, it will take some time for these features to roll out across carriers. 4.2 will be on the newly-announced Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 devices when those launch later this year.

What's New [Android]


Comments

    The thing is, my GS3 doesn't have 4.1, most devices don't even have 4.0, so who the hell gives a crap about 4.2?

      Those that give a crap about 4.2 or any other update wouldnt have got a GS3 in the first place. This is primarily an announcement about Nexus technology, those people do care and so this is highly relevant as they will be getting the update within days/couple of weeks. If you didn't get a nexus device then clearly updates aren't a priority for you and you don't care, as you have admitted! So what's the problem? Nothing to see, move on. Changed your mind about updates? Or exorbitant prices? 1) learn for next time and go nexus, 2) as the other person said learn about custom ROMs on xda

        I agree, my mum has a Nexus (S i think), she loves it and she loves getting new updates, makes it feel like a fresh new phone, so much so that after over a year with it, she isn't bored with it yet (unlike me who got bored of my iPhone 4 iOS4 after a few months, and bored of iOS5 after a few weeks, and bored of iOS6 after 10mins).

      My Galaxy S 1 has 4.1, yours can too... All you have to do is download and flash a suitable ROM.

      Get a customised ROM.... I have the S2 and i am on 4.1.1.... it is worth it! Just check out a site like XDA developers...

    Learn to use xda and flash ROMS.

    I have a Nexus 7 and will probably get the update, but this fragmentation of OS versions and reliance on carriers has always been one of the biggest issues putting me off Android. It's slowly growing on me but I'd still recommend an iPad to friends and relatives as it means less desktop support calls (I fix stuff all day at work and would rather not do it at home too)

    Has this actually been rolled out on Google devices yet? Haven't seen any available updates on my Nexus 7.

      No, we just got 4.1.2 in the last month. I don't believe Google had a release date in this info.

        Thanks! Got confused by the opening "Google updated Android to version 4.2 today." comment in the article.

    Sigh. Are we now officially at the point where ANY mobile phone based OS article has a mandatory requirement of at least 80% dickhead comments? Even if the article is as innocuous as this? I'm off to read the article about pen and paper. At least you don't get idiotic and/or elitist comments there about the benefits of an HB pencil over an H pencil.

      1st dickhead comment above.

    My Nexus S is about to be replaced by a Nexus 4. Your mum is a smart lady, you should follow her lead.

    Actionable notifications were already available to developers in Android 4.1. Already seeing them on my Transformer Prime for some apps (Gmail and Calendar are top examples).

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