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Video: Android 4.2 Feature Overview – Gesture Typing, New Gmail, Multi-users, and More

With Android 4.2 officially official, rolling out to select devices (Nexus 7 and GSM Galaxy Nexus), and arriving pre-loaded on the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10, we want to make sure that you are ready to take full advantage of its new features. In the lengthy video below, we’ll cover the new Gmail, take a second look at multi-user support and lock screen widgets, Gesture typing, Photosphere and the new camera, and more.

While the jump from 4.1 to 4.2 may seem small in numbering scheme, the update continues to polish our favorite mobile OS in big ways. As one would expect, this is the best version of Android to date, by a lot.  



  • JC

    As much as I love Android, these updates seem to show why they haven’t quite matched iOS smoothness and fluidity. With all these new add ons, (some good and necessary while some aren’t so necessary), doesn’t it require the system to do more, thus slowing performance? iOS runs the way it does because Apple hasn’t really added any significant features or updates since it came out so they are able to just further refine the responsiveness. Does this make sense to anyone else? lol

  • ddevito

    Lock screen widgets are stupid and are a security issue (shouldn’t show user data without unlocking), adding multiple users slows down performance and eats unnecessary space, the N7 pull down bar in portrait is counterintuitive, the dock icons are shrunken down for some reason, chrome scrolling is choppy, N7 cannot view photo sphere pictures, and the new crop tool doesn’t allow you to make your own sized crop. This is the firsdt time Android has downgraded with an update.

    I’m going back to 4.1.2. Fail.

    • DC_Guy

      I definitely thought about that once they showed the example of being able to access personal email from the lock screen…no Bueno.

  • envoy510

    Hey, 4.2 on the GNex doesn’t have HDR in the camera!

  • ddevito

    Adding a second user kills the performance of the nexus 7. Bummer.

  • Zac St. Louis

    wowww I want all of those devices, I’ll trade you a droid charge for it 😉

  • Hey can I ask what wallpaper that is on your Nexus 4?

    • Bishop

      I’d like to know that as well. It’s very nice. I asked on YouTube in the commenting section of the video but got no reply 🙂

    • Bobby Cornwell

      It’s from the Tersus icon pack

  • Greg Suskin

    The lockscreen seems to have all sorts of irks. My biggest problem is on the Nexus 7, the new fade-out “animation” feels pointlessly slow and less snappy than just a screen shutoff.

    • NicholasMicallef

      Can you change that through animation scale settings in Developer options?

  • rickrmsy

    How do you enable the pinch to zoom in gmail

    • NicholasMicallef

      fit to page in settings I believe

  • The Dude

    Does HDR mode work in GSM Galaxy Nexus too? That’s a nice feature to add, if it is there…

  • derek connolly

    On daydream while charging or docked you have to let the device fall asleep by itself. if you turn the screen off by itself it won’t daydream. however if you let the screen timeout it will begin daydreaming while charging.

  • j__h

    I cannot seem to Swype my email. I added it but it just does not work.

  • omgitzjose

    lock screen widgets are so pointless. i wish there was an option to disable them all together.

  • Justin Halcomb

    What if in the next update they take the pull down out of the lock screen. Basically pulling down on the notification bar on either side or with one or two fingers can not be access. Instead find a way to bring notifications to the lock screen and add quick settings to the lock button. Basically implement that circle menu that is available on the updated camera.

  • Wow, they really made the lockscreen confusing didn’t they. Most people will never realize how to get to the camera or Google Now or to the widgets on the left.

  • absolu7

    what wallpaper is he using on the LG nexus?

  • Jonah

    I wish we could get group messaging

    • DC_Guy

      AGREED! That’s one thing I definitely miss about my iPhone.

  • Wow, so many things copied from webOS.

    -Swipe to delete in GMail
    -Pinch-to-zoom in GMail
    -Daydream (which is Exhibition on webOS) – that is actually patented by HP so that probably will mean Google has to pay
    -Wireless charging – not the concept but the charging dock is exactly the same as the Palm Touchstone which is patented by HP so that probably will mean Google has to pay
    -Quick settings bar (at least on the Nexus 10 where you have to swipe it from the right side, that’s actually the ripped off thing not the bar itself)

    Too bad they couldn’t think of own things enough. I mean, the camera is original, the lock screen is original, the gesture typing also somewhat original, the multi-user original… come on Google, be original for 99% again like it was up to 4.1

    • omgitzjose

      the guy who designed webOS is in charge of Android now only make sense hed bring over some features and since webOS is dead for like 2 years now im sure no one cares

      • Well I do care. And webOS isn’t dead, look at OpenWebOS and how it’s currently being put on new LG TV’s. Or do you think LG TV’s aren’t popular?

        But still, even if he takes good features he shouldn’t copy things that are patented.

        • MikeSaver

          If he designed them, whats the big deal? also, what’s webOs?

          U mad bro?

  • “Never been a big Swyper.” Swypes like a boss.

  • Kevin Olson

    OMG, that screen.. that phone,. gorgeous. Can’t wait to get mine.

  • Is it worth going back to stock on my N7 or should I just wait for AOKP to adapt to 4.2?

  • chronoquestion

    1. Just my personal opinion but I think the lock screen is too busy now that it has widgets, notification/settings panel, user switching, Google Now button and the lock slider. I prefer the camera and Google Now to be accessible via the lock slider.

    2. On the N7 at least having to pull down on the left for notifications and pull down on the right for quick settings is a terrible idea in portrait mode. I think a better implementation in this instance would be to replicate the phone mode. Also, I am not a fan of the bounce back when you pull down the notification bar.

    • Zach Armstrong

      I’m not a big fan of the lock screen widgets either. The two pull down notification trays are ok but not my favorite.

    • tu3218

      you nailed exactly my two gripes with this update. everything else is very nice. I hope google hears the large crowd against these two updates and fixes them.

    • Agree on all fronts, plus that zone that flashes everytime you go to unlock to remind you where you can place new widgets is annoying.

    • joserilla

      Then don’t update your device

      • j__h

        Wow, brilliant!

    • MikeSaver

      Agree agree agree agree. I guess i have to hold my nexus 7 exclusively with my left hand

    • JMonkeYJ

      i agree with everything except the bounce back. it’s useless, but i like it.

      has anyone else noticed how much better text looks on the N7 now tho? web browsing is a much better experience (and it was already very good). i also like the new task switching animations. and of course the keyboard is just awesome.

      overall it’s a mixed bag for me. i think the new polish is really great, but some of the new features are “meh” or worse.

    • This is the most disappointing upgrade I’ve ever had on an Android device. Some interesting new features, but the first you see – the lock screen, is a complete visual mess. Big step backwards in design. I hope Google is listening to all the user feedback.

    • MikeSaver

      Can we make a petition for Google to change this? It would be the lamest petition ever but whatever.

      At least on tablets, have it so there is just one pulldown when in portrait mode. Its so frustrating with my Nexus 7 to try to pull down a notification and I just get the stupid quick settings bar that I don’t even need.

  • bogy25

    My coworkers tell me Droids suck they are too big and the iphone is god…….I don’t understand how they can believe this…I should show them this video

    • Droids do kind of suck, I hate that Verizon was successful in making the term “Droid” synonymous with “Android”. Nexus devices, however, totally rock!

  • Derek Traini

    DL, you forgot the fact that 4.2 also has its own emoji keyboard. And its awesome! Head over to the settings or you can hold the space bar and select emoji! Its awesome!

    PS: Also the text slightly renders better as well, check AC’s post about that.

    • JetBlue

      Can’t use the gesture typing though if you want emoji.

      • Derek Traini

        Well, yeah you do have to change the keyboard. And well imagine using the gestures on the emoji keyboard, you would have the icons all over the place lol

    • TheDrunkenClam

      What’s emoji?

      • JetBlue


  • I disagree that this is the best version of Android yet. I’m probably going to roll back to 4.1.2 on my N7 until at least the first 4.2 point release. Too much stuff (lock screen widgets, quick settings bar) feels half-baked for me so far in 4.2.

    • Pratyush

      The lock screen seems buggy, also, the time in the notification bar shows up when the screen locks, which wasn’t the case prior to this update. Also, what’s up with the new clock fonts!! Last one was the best so far, this one..not so much.

    • Exactly my thoughts. In a rare and disturbing twist, I’m glad my VZW GNex won’t be getting 4.2 just yet. It seems like they threw in a bunch of not-completely-thought-out “upgrades” that really serve to just clutter everything up.

    • kixofmyg0t

      What I’m waiting for, is to see what Moto does with 4.2. They have their own lock screen, so what of the widgets?

      Otherwise Blur is pretty close to stock…..should be interesting to see what they do to correct 4.2