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Android 4.2 “A New Flavor of Jelly Bean” – Gesture Typing, Photo Sphere, and More

The information keeps pouring in this morning as Google has made Android 4.2 “a new flavor of Jelly Bean,” official. Below we have listed out the new features that are highlighted in 4.2 and thrown in Google’s explanations on each one. So far, the big ones, which are Photo Sphere, multiple user account support for tablets, gesture typing, and wireless display support all seem to be fantastic additions to the Android OS we know and love. 

Once the morning slows down, we’ll come back to these and go over which ones we love and which ones we can’t wait to get our hands on.

Photo Sphere:

Up, down and all around you, it’s like no camera you’ve ever seen. With Android 4.2, snap pictures in every direction that come together into incredible, immersive photo spheres that put you right inside the scene. View your photo spheres right on your phone, share them on Google+ with your friends and family, or even add them to Google Maps for the world to see.

Multiple User Support on Tablets:

It’s your fully customized tablet. And theirs, too. With support for multiple users, you can give each person their own space. Everyone can have their own homescreen, background, widgets, apps and games – even individual high scores and levels! And since Android is built with multitasking at its core, it’s a snap to switch between users – no need to log in and out. Available only on tablets.

Gesture Typing:

Writing messages on the go is easier than ever with Gesture Typing – just glide your finger over the letters you want to type, and lift after each word. You don’t have to worry about spaces because they’re added automatically for you.

The keyboard can anticipate and predict the next word, so you can finish entire sentences just by selecting suggested words. Power through your messages like never before.

Android’s dictionaries are now more accurate and relevant. With improved text-to-speech capabilities, voice typing on Android is even better. It works even when you don’t have a data connection, so you can type with your voice everywhere you go.


Daydream lets your Android device display useful and delightful information when idle or docked. Show off your photo albums, get the latest news from Google Currents, and more.

Wireless Display:

Android 4.2 allows devices to enable wireless display. You can share movies, YouTube videos, and anything that’s on your screen on an HDTV. Just connect a wireless display adapter to any HDMI-enabled TV to mirror what’s on your screen quickly and easily.

More Expandable Notifications:

Android has always put you in control when it comes to staying notified and connected. Just swipe down from the top of the screen to see all your notifications in one place. Late for a meeting or missed a call? Take action in an instant directly from the notifications shade.

So, what do you think? Have a favorite new feature that you can’t wait to try out?

Via: Android

  • djbkbb4

    Will the Droid Razr ever get Jelly Bean?

  • This is great news! Looking forward to running 4.2 on my G-Nex. Can’t wait to send Photo Sphere pics to all of my iFriends.

  • Kevin Olson

    I noticed that the Nexus 7 info page says the Nexus 7 comes with Android 4.2. Since we can buy the Nexus 7 now, I bet we’ll see 4.2 any time now!

  • CapnShiner

    I wonder how the developers of Swype, Swiftkey Flow, and other such keyboards feel about the new gesture typing in Android 4.2. I know it’s an open platform and there is no rule against competition (unlike Apple’s app store) but it just seems like Google is screwing over those developers and I assume that there may be legal action if anyone had patented the idea.

  • Raven

    Multiple User Support on Tablets is the thing that I have been waiting for since I first got my Asus Transformer. That should have been standard since Day 1 of Tablets.

    • Abgar Musayelyan

      couldnt agree more. sadly our beloved TF101 will probably never see any version of JB.

  • Jose Lopez

    Features are cool but when will we start to see them on our GNEXs?

  • Sam’s Son

    hopefully when the gs 3 does get Jelly Bean it gets 4.2 instead of 4.1

  • socalrailroader

    I wish these programs would put two spaces after periods instead of one, I’m 41 and that’s what I was taught in school.

    • Yes, 2 spaces after a period were the rule during the days of typewriters and their monospaced fonts however, with the advent of proportional computer fonts, 1 space after a period is now the correct rule.

      In fact some professors these days mark off points for 2 spaces after a period.

      • Morghan

        Try using a monospace font, I do fairly regularly, the programs still try to correct double spaces.

  • Chuck Finley

    Now, I can’t wait for the Bugless Beast 4.2 release…

  • Charlie Rodiger

    Does anyone have any idea as to what daydream looks like? I’m curious 😀

  • chris125

    so when will this be pushed out? Can’t wait to get this on my nexus 7

  • Christian

    You guys better let us know as soon as this hits AOSP! 😀

  • Tom Ball

    Wireless display looks awesome. I wonder how much an “adapter” will cost? (Could be already available and I just don’t know about them.)

    Edit: Also curious as to when 4.2 will hit AOSP.

    • Hoping it can be added to GOOGLE TV with an app!!! Pleeeease!

      • Tom Ball

        That would finally convince me to buy Google TV.

  • JBartcaps

    Any camera improvements? That’s what I want.

    • sk102704

      Yep, a huge improvement. Check out photosphere, it looks sweet!

  • DanSan

    any info on this wireless adaptor? universal work? i would assume since they arent apple it would be very open on selection

  • Chuck Finley

    Need to hear more about this wireless display adapter… Price point, etc…

    • lostsync

      I’m pretty excited about this, too. I can think of so many uses for it. The MHL adapter for the galaxy nexus was cool but a total pain to use (at least mine was). If you could actually still hold the phone from wherever you were sitting to control the screen, that’d make a huge difference in usability.

      • Chuck Finley

        AMEN to that!
        When I owned a Bionic for about 3 months, I used a 15 ft HDMI cable to mirror my phone (don’t ask me why I got a 15ft cable, it was cheap and I let the neighborhood kids lasso wild boars with it…).

  • joejoe5709

    Alright I’m officially super excited. Photosphere is somewhat gimmicky but very very cool. I hope we’re able to share it to non-android and non-Jelly Bean users. It would be annoying to have this awesome photosphere that isn’t compatible across the board. Being able to post it Google Maps is downright mind-blowing. I’m thinking interior views of shops, stores, and tourist destinations are about to explode. Multiuser could be pretty cool if it’s implemented correctly. Sadly, it says tablet only at this point… I bet the dev community will fix that. I’ve never gotten into Swype or similar keyboards but I’m willing to give the format a chance if it’s in stock Android. For those running stock unrooted Android this will be a great addition. Daydream sounds great for a tablet or if you dock your phone often. Otherwise it’s useless. I don’t think I’ll use the wireless display very often but I’m sure there are plenty of people very excited about that. I have a feeling there are lots of modifications to the notification system that they haven’t released yet. I’m very very excited about that as well. The quick controls aren’t that amazing to me because I’ve got CM10, but again this will be very exciting for someone running stock Android. I love how Google is really making the stock experience great. It’s becoming less and less necessary to download basic customization apps and it’s definitely becoming less and less necessary for the OEM’s/ROM’s to modify a whole lot of stuff. Apple, THIS is innovation!

  • Bauce40

    I’m interested in the Wireless Display. I’ve always like Air Play, glad to see they’re bringing it to Android (yes I know Samsung already does this and HTC to a degree).

  • duke69111

    I guess we are not going to get any of the rumored battery improvements?

    • sk102704

      Yeah, what happened to project Roadrunner?

      • it was outed as a hoax/spoof. no validity to that (remember “customization center” was also included as well as a few others.

  • Kevin Olson

    When do the current devices get 4.2?

  • Tomas

    Isn’t it odd to be discussing 4.2 before 4.1 is released on a whole bunch of devices?

    • No. If people are worried about staying updated they need to buy Nexus devices.

      • dangolds

        And not be on Verizon, apparently. I’m sorry, but I agree with the OP. I have a GS III for example, which by most accounts is the most popular Android phone on the market. Isn’t it a little ridiculous that 4.2 is being introduced before 4.1 has fully rolled out to this phone? I get that U.S. carriers like Verizon are notorious for holding up the upgrade process, but Google needs to do a better job dealing with the Verizon customer base if they expect to get my business. If their business model is to cede the U.S. to Apple while they go after the global market, good for them. But it certainly won’t make me want to buy their Nexus phones anytime soon. Most important thing is the quality of the network. If GS III never gets to 4.2, for example, it will make me think twice about getting an Android phone again. I’m more loyal to Verizon’s coverage and LTE network than I am to Android vs. iOS. Maybe if AT&T didn’t suck so bad in my area, it would be a different story.

        • Understand (I have a VZW Galaxy Nexus LTE)…I will see whats out there next year I guess.

  • Veritas99

    Hoping this is the reason why the Razr HDs shipped with ICS…Moto knew 4.2 was coming and will update straight this version of JB (a boy can dream, right?).

    • Greg

      I had a the same thought…

    • I thought it might be possible, but their update page says Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) specifically.

  • chanstar

    Wireless Display!! I just purchased a new MHL HDMI adapter too lol….sigh.

    • BTLS

      I use my MHL adapter DAILY and would love to get this Wireless Display ASAP… For $14 + a $2 HDMI cable, I definitely got my money’s worth out of my MHL already and would gladly pay triple for wireless…

      • chanstar

        I agree with you there buddy! I would love to be able to pause and play while laying in bed lol.

  • dsass600

    Google makes me horny

  • Looks like the same number of icon rows. We fall behind again!

  • Android 4.2 looks exciting. Wonder how photo sphere will fare on the Gnex.

    The Nexus 4 is underwhelming.

  • Dear AOKP, Please hurry. I would like this asap.

    • Evan Wickes

      i couldnt say it any better myself.. AOKP FTW!!

  • Havoc70

    Friggin SWEET! when will we see this on the N7?

  • Sam’s Son

    I hope they patent this Swype like keyboard so that IOS can’t use it and claim they came up with it.

    • CapnShiner

      I hope you’re trying to be satirical.

  • What about Project Roadrunner?

  • Bionic

    Wondering when my nexus 7 will be updated

  • JoeTi

    Wireless Display Adapter. Yes please!

  • CHRIS42060

    Photo Sphere……. I wonder if iPhone 5 owners are still excited about the panoramic camera??

    • Find me an Apple follower that actually knows how to use their panoramic camera. 😉

      • bigbuckin

        No joke, I actually had to show an iPhone user how to work it, and I own nothing apple.

      • dangolds

        I’ve had to show Android users how to use panorama on their cameras too. I’m pretty sure the inability figure out features on a phone isn’t limited to iPhone users.

        • Morghan

          Why the down-votes?

          Apple has dumb users, Android has dumb users.

          Probably several orders of magnitude less than Apple, but we do still have them.

  • cykotix

    Will any wireless display adapter work?

  • Chris James

    Bye bye Galaxy Nexus like, hello Nexus 4 – I’ve just signed up for the alerts 🙂

  • Andrew Remmers

    Sooo When can we have a ROM running 4.2?

  • igotgame

    See Apple…THIS is innovation

    • dangolds

      No, this is incremental tweaking. Just running down the list – Google improved its personal assistant, added a couple cool features to its camera, enhanced DLNA functionality to mimic Airplay (but without requiring a separate set top box) and improved their notifications. By comparison, iOS 6 improved its personal assistant, added a couple cool features to its camera, expanded its Airplay functionality (e.g. mirroring enabled from a Mac) and improved the access of some key settings (bluetooth, WIFI, etc). When iOS 6 came out, it was rightfully met with a rousing “eh” because it wasn’t a radical change to the software.
      4.2 is the same thing from Android’s side. Would I rather have 4.2 than the ICS I currently have on my phone? Sure. Do I think it will make for a radically different user experience? No, because these changes (as well as the changes in 4.1) are fairly incremental at this point. Nothing wrong with that, by the way – every iteration of software isn’t going to be a major update. But please spare me the “innovation” comparisons. If Apple did something like this from one version of software to the next, I doubt you would use the word “innovative” to describe the change. All I’m asking for is some perspective and consistency around what we refer to as “innovation.”

      • adam king

        I think you’re mistaken about your position. This, coming from a current iPhone user, can attest to how these features are innovative. Innovation is defined as the “deliberate application of information, imagination, and initiative in deriving greater or different value from resources, and encompasses all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products”. In this respect, it is clear that apple has not met this standard and google has specifically pertaining to the criterion of imagination and initiative.

        Apple is in a goldilocks zone that any technology company wants to be in. For this reason, anything we see from apple from here on out will not be innovative. Instead, I would define it as progression. Because of its large following, Apple cannot delineate from the formula it has found for success without potentially compromising about 3-4% of its current smartphone market share. This 3-4% represents individuals who thrive on the simplicity and stability of the Apple iPhone.

        Apple is now in a position that it is becoming a victim go its own excess. With the passing of Steve Jobs, Cook will not sign off on anything that could potentially be a mishap for the company. Google in comparison is nothing but mishaps. Fragmentation, glitchy apps/software; Google is the epitome of beta, but here lies its niche for innovation. To be competitive, Google takes chances and introduces elements onto the smartphone platform that do not already exist. Show me where features such as the new camera are implemented on other software platforms. This may be an incremental upgrade, but is still innovative far beyond anything Apple will be willing to set forth from here on out until it becomes a Nokia or Blackberry and is forced to innovate.
        Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/innovation.html#ixzz2AjDIqWo1

        • dangolds

          I think we’re both in agreement that Apple has been stagnating lately on its products and software – no huge debate there. I also agree that in general, Google has taken more of a “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” mentality to drive innovation, and in a lot of recent cases they’ve been successful. All I’m pointing out is that in my opinion, this particular iteration of Andrdoid OS is no more innovative compared to 4.1/4.0 than iOS 6 was to iOS 5.
          The original poster commented that this software release is what Apple should look to as an example of innovation. Lately, it seems like every time Google announces something, no matter how minor, I see several posts immediately pop up echoing the same message as what the original poster said. I disagree with that train of thought – I think Apple should instead look to something much more significant than the 4.2 upgrade as a good example of innovation. And not necessarily something that’s limited to their existing mobile OS. Perhaps something broader, like the next evolution of devices beyond the smartphone and tablet (e.g. Google Glass project).
          What made Apple such a popular brand in the first place was its ability to create new commercial markets out of thin air for various electronic devices. Why was the iPhone huge? It wasn’t because of iOS being better or worse than Android. It was because before the iPhone, the average person either wasn’t aware of a smart phone or didn’t think he/she needed one. Same thing with the iPod and the iPad for mp3 players and tablets, respectively. Apple created a combination hardware/software platform that was well built and easy to use, and then discovered a way to effectively market the platform to every day customers with 500 other things to do in life besides reading tech blogs.
          If Apple uses what was incrementally done in 4.2 as a marker of innovation, then many folks (including Android proponents) will continue to criticize them for resting on their laurels and not taking chances. And for those who support Google, I would not point to 4.2 as a shining beacon of innovation either. Google has introduced far better examples of innovation in its recent past than Jelly Bean and Jelly Bean: The Sequel.

      • Chris

        I do agree that it isn’t “innovation”, but it’s not JUST incremental tweaking.

        Multiple users is great.
        Photo sphere is also really awesome.
        And built in Swype features is also really useful!

        All iOS6 did was update some stuff, but they didn’t really add anything new. 4.2 did add new stuff!

  • thebruce44

    Can someone explain Miracast and wireless display adapters or point me in the right direction? I’m very interested in this. Could it work with a PS3 or do I need to buy a new piece of equipment?

  • Ravi Rao

    Think someone would be able to get wireless mirroring working with Apple TV?

  • DanWazz

    Gesture typing and wireless display have me excited.

  • markgbe

    i love it

  • When will current Nexus 7’s get 4.2????

    • sk102704


      • He said “When”. . . But to answer his question, I would imagine very soon – likely one of the first devices to get the upgrade.

        • Robo


  • Jason Naylor

    The official death of swype

  • monkey082506

    I want 4.2 right meow!

  • Slow down droid-life I can’t keep up today lol

    • Tell that to Google 😛

      • duke69111

        No don’t tell that to Google. Keep it coming. 🙂

  • Kriven

    Is there a release window? for current nexus devices?

  • ksat

    LOVE the Multi-User on Tablets! Can’t wait for our XOOM WiFi to be updated!

  • even though gesture typing is just swype, im looking forward to having it. still sad that verizon wont be getting a nexus

  • hkklife

    Multiple user support is the BIG one, at least for me personally.
    What I REALLY want to see (yeah, right) in the next update to Android is “Secure expansion card support for external media files” or something along those lines.

    • lostsync

      Yeah, on our family’s tablet we just all have our own launchers and a family account for our Google account. it works but users would be so, so much better. Unfortunately, I don’t think the OG Galaxy Tab will be getting the upgrade heheh.

  • William Peterson

    Pretty sure I just had an OSgasm!

  • Android +1 !!

  • sc0rch3d

    my first thought was…. “What is the look on the face of the Swype CEO?”

    • CHRIS42060

      They probably knew this was coming. That is why Swype has been in Beta stage for like a year.

      • More like 2 years

        • michael arazan

          If i was swype right now, I would ask Google if they’d want to buy me out and make myself look as appealing as possible.

    • strikeir13

      Between this and the imminent SwiftKey Flow, Swype is going to have to innovate pretty significantly in order to remain relevant. Hopefully it’s innovate and not litigate…

      • master94

        No worry they aren’t Apple

    • j__h

      Looks like Swype will be at least moving to the Play store. I think it will be hard now to sell to OEM’s given that Android now will have one build in. Now the main customer is the consumer.

  • Patrick Da Silva
  • MikeCiggy

    I want the wireless display thingy now!

    and can’t wait for CyanogenMod to bring googles multi-user support to my Gnex

  • Droid Burgundy

    I don’t see how any of this will make my Gnex any better… hopefully there is some more butter under the hood as well?

  • DigitalEnforcer

    Photosphere doesn’t make much sense right now….

    • Tommy Thompson

      You can take massive photos with it. In the video on The Verge was a photosphere photo of the Grand Canyon, looked great.

    • lostsync

      I think it’s probably a shot back at Apple for kanging 4.0’s panorama feature in iOS6.

      • Viciousking1914

        Panoramic shots are soooooooo last fragment…

  • Tarak

    Google rocks!

  • Tommy Thompson

    The photo sphere sounds pretty cool. The photo the Android team showed The Verge was crazy good!

  • 4n1m4L

    Day dream sounds great

    • CHRIS42060

      I was thinking the same thing, but I am also thinking it will eat through battery life quick.

      • Sounds like it’s meant for use while docked to me.