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What's new in Android 4.2?


The Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 will launch with Android 4.2, with other Nexus devices receiving updates soon after. What's new?

The Verge has a full list of what's changed in the new release, namely:
  • Photo Sphere panorama photos
  • Gesture typing on the keyboard
  • Lockscreen improvements, including widget support and the ability to swipe directly to camera
  • Expandable notifications with that let you take actions directly
  • Message zooming in Gmail with the ability to reflow text automatically
  • Daydream screensavers
  • Accessibility improvements: triple-tap to magnify the entire screen, pan and zoom with two fingers. Speech output and Gesture Mode navigation for blind users.
  • Miracast support for wireless display sharing
  • Google Now can use Gmail as a data source for new cards, including improved flight tracker, hotel and restaurant reservations, movie and music recommendations. Photo Spot card recommends interesting places to take photos based on your location.
Photo Sphere panorama photos are street view style images that can be navigated around - pretty neat. Gesture typing is Swype / Swiftkey Flow like functionality and given the popularity of the former, it's certain to be a welcome addition to the base OS. I think the lockscreen improvements are particularly welcome (i'm interested to see if the widgets are display only though rather than interactive, I hope so!).

We've all seen the Gmail improvements already in the leaked APK and aside from some new sources for Now, the biggest addition is Miracast support. Soon to be integrated into TVs (and available via plug in boxes), this allows content to be streamed directly from your device to your TV... Airplay for everyone!

Cue the constant refreshing of device updates, AOSP and stock image pages... :)

About the author

PaulOBrien's Photo
Paul O'Brien founded MoDaCo in 2002 as a site focused on Windows Smartphones and has grown it since then by concentrating on providing a friendly community for both experienced and beginner mobile enthusiasts.

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19 Comments

Any more technical details on the Photo Sphere thing? iPhone5 has totally upped the game with the panoramic feature compared to anything I've seen on Android, so I hope that the Photo Sphere isn't limited to tiny resolution photos again.

Wonder if they've fixed IMAP support in the (non Gmail) email application? Can't be THAT Hard to make it sync remote email deletions.
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Joe Simpson
Oct 29 2012 06:15 PM

Any more technical details on the Photo Sphere thing? iPhone5 has totally upped the game with the panoramic feature compared to anything I've seen on Android, so I hope that the Photo Sphere isn't limited to tiny resolution photos again.

Wonder if they've fixed IMAP support in the (non Gmail) email application? Can't be THAT Hard to make it sync remote email deletions.


IMAP is quite difficult to "sync" things as it wasn't designed for mobile.

Photo Sphere looks to be like being able to create Google Street View alike photos (one of the Android team said they based the idea off Street View), which are a lot lot better than basic panoramas.
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Photo sphere looks superb!

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comicbookguy
Oct 29 2012 06:39 PM
So will the N7 and gnex get Miracast?
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I think I saw a new 'quick settings' section from the notification pulldown.
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I don't think that new Android 4.2 is a leap ahed from Jelly Bean....
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4.2 is still Jellybean..... its just a simple point release.
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4.2 is key lime pie not jelly bean
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Richard_Arkless
Oct 29 2012 11:04 PM

4.2 is key lime pie not jelly bean


Google has announced that it is still jelly bean so I suspect Key Lime Pie will be 5.0
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I'm quite excited by PhotoSphere - but not just for the ability to take 2D panoramas on my phone...

I already take quite a few panoramas using my compact and SLR cameras and stitch them on the PC using either Autostitch or Microsoft ICE, but as soon as you use more than half a dozen images they become cumbersome to view and navigate around. The Streetview style navigation announced yesterday should be a great addition.
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T39andcounting
Oct 30 2012 10:07 AM

So will the N7 and gnex get Miracast?

I wondered the same. Reports I read on the Nexus 4 implied it was a hardware improvement, rather than software. But it'd be great if it just needed a software patch to put it on the older Nexus devices!
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glossywhite
Oct 30 2012 08:29 PM
"Key Lime Pie"? I suppose it must mean something... to Americans :/
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The Soup Thief
Oct 30 2012 11:24 PM
@glossywhite
It's a pie made from Key Limes - a type of Lime grown in (among other places) the Florida Keys. It's popular in the US but not unknown beyond their borders.
You may have noticed a theme among Android dessert name builds, that they favour US desserts (donut, rather than doughnut; froyo; jellybean etc). This is because they are an American company. We may be waiting a little while for Spotted Dick, Kulfi, Mochi or Strudel builds (though Eclair did well to make an appearance)
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glossywhite
Oct 30 2012 11:47 PM

@glossywhite
It's a pie made from Key Limes - a type of Lime grown in (among other places) the Florida Keys. Visit popular in the US but not unknown beyond their borders.
You may have noticed a theme among Android dessert name builds, that they favour US desserts (donut, rather than doughnut; froyo; jellybean etc). This is because they are an American company. We may be waiting a little while for Spotted Dick, Kulfi, Mochi or Strudel builds (though Eclair did well to make an appearance)


I'm waiting for the release codenamed "Cookie" - perfectly sums up Google! ^_^
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Chrisund123
Oct 31 2012 09:14 AM

I'm waiting for the release codenamed "Cookie" - perfectly sums up Google! ^_^


Missed the boat with that one, cupcake has been and gone - you'll need to wait for it to go round the alphabet again and hope they keep to the naming convention lol.
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google also said that there are significant performance improvements too which would be very nice. I would assume they fixed app encryption now so that 4.2 users will now be given encrypted apps as 4.1 gave us this bug was buggy so google disabled encryption on all apps on google play.
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iPhone5 has totally upped the game with the panoramic feature compared to anything I've seen on Android,

The Galaxy S3 has that feature, and had it before iPhone5. It's a good feature though, and it's a shame it's not more widespread throughout Android.
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glossywhite
Nov 01 2012 12:15 AM
The ".2" is new :P
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The Galaxy S3 has that feature, and had it before iPhone5. It's a good feature though, and it's a shame it's not more widespread throughout Android.


Don't think they meant panorama per se (clearly not new idea) more that it had a better way of making them
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