While all of the new devices got most of the attention yesterday when Google skipped their New York City press event in favor of a simple press release, there was more than just those tablets and phones. The Nexus 10 tablet and LG Nexus 4, to name just two, got most of the attention, but there was also a new version of Android unveiled as well. Given that version 4.2 still uses the "Jelly Bean" moniker, it would give the impression that there really isn't anything different about it, but, in fact, it is actually a brand new operating system, despite that it isn't the "Key Lime Pie" many people expected.
Photo Sphere: This is very much like the popular Photo Synth app from Microsoft. It provides a 360 degree camera app that allows the user to snap photos in all directions and then bring them together into immersive photo spheres. Viewing these processed images will give you the feeling you are actually there. You can also share the images on Google+ or Google Maps, the latter of which makes the picture visible to the general public. Ghacks has already published an in-depth look at this feature.
Multiple User Support: This is perhaps the coolest and most-wanted feature in Android 4.2. Users can finally have multiple accounts on one device, which will be handy for a "family" tablet. Each person can log into their Google account and access their own homescreen, background, widgets, apps and games. This feature is currently for tablets only.
Gesture Typing: It seems that Google has taken the popular Swype keyboard to heart and made it a part of the new mobile OS. You can simply glide your finger around the keyboard to type. You won’t have to worry about spaces because they they will be added automatically to your message. The keyboard can also anticipate and predict your next word, so you can finish entire sentences by simply selecting suggested words.
Miracast: An app that enables wireless display with any HDMI-enabled TV. You can share movies, YouTube videos, or anything else that’s on your screen on an HDTV.
Google Now Update: This one is actually for devices running version 4.1 as well. The new update to Google Search adds more functionality to the popular Now feature that was introduced earlier this year with Jelly Bean.
- Flights – get real-time flight status and traffic information to the airport
- Hotels – easily navigate to your hotel when you arrive in a new city
- Restaurant reservations – leave for the restaurant based on live traffic
- Packages – see when your online orders ship
Let's hope the roll out of Android 4.2 will begin quickly for existing devices, but unfortunately that is frequently up to the carriers in the vast majority of the cases.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.