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Is Android 4.2 Really That Big a Deal?

Steven Blum
6

 

Undoubtedly, it's going to take a long time to get a taste of Android 4.2, unless you happen to own a Nexus. Google announced the latest version of Android last week but, with manufacturers and carriers to contend with, by the time you receive your update Google may be ready to announce an even newer version of Android.

But...should you care?

Yes, on paper at least, Android 4.2 seems to be a fairly sizable update. But many of its star features are already available to you if you're running a skinned version of Android.

Gesture Typing

Use Swype. Really. Gesture typing in Android 4.2 sounds great, but there's a fairly large chance that it will be watered down anyway by the time it reaches your phone. Manufacturers typically install their own keyboards, and there's little reason to believe this trend will change by the time Android 4.2 rolls around.

Wireless Mirroring

This service is already available to HTC and Samsung owners through Media Link HD and AllShare, respectively. 

Google Now Enhancements

 

Available to you NOW. Simply go to the Google Search app in the Play Store and click "update."

Lockscreen Widgets

Okay, this one is harder to replace. You'll have to wait for this to roll-out to your model. That said, I wouldn't call this a major feature.

Quick Settings

Already standard on most manufacturer phones, this will only be an upgrade if you're running stock Android.

Support for Multiple Users

Only rolling out to tablet owners. 

Music Explorer for Google Play Music

This will likely roll out as an update for the Google Play Music app, so no need to fret.

New Camera UI

Looks great, but will likely be replaced with manufacturer skins once the update rolls out anyway.

Google is unofficially calling Android 4.2 a maintenance update, because it really ain't that significant. That said, if you don't want to wait around for an update that will most likely be lackluster, I'm sure we'll be able to help you install the unedited version of this update on your rooted phone in the coming days and weeks.

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Comments

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  • Mark R. Nov 2, 2012 Link

    The updates might be minimal but steady improvement & evolution is a good way to proceed when something is already well polished.

    I think the whole point of Nexus is that one can buy a product with an interface as the original designers intend. This also shows the flexibility of android in the way that it allows so many different 'flavours' and choice. This allows others to play tunes on the OS which ultimately strengthens and improves the product.

    plus nexus owners need some compensation for no SD slot ;)

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  • Eric McBride Nov 2, 2012 Link

    I think it's a VERY big deal. Google not having to do a complete Android overhaul shows us that Android is getting where it needs to be. Tweaks vs major dev'ing = good sign of software stabilization.

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  • Steven Blum Nov 2, 2012 Link

    For sure. Larger point: you don't need to worry so much about waiting for it, because many of its star features are available now. But the improvements are still important for Android's OS in the long run.

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  • Anna F. Nov 2, 2012 Link

    Lockscreen widgets aren't a major feature?!! THEY SURE AS HELL ARE TO ME!!! I have a widget on my 2nd homescreen that displays my school timetable and another widget that shows my homework. My phone is always in my pocket and it's pattern protected. So when I'm at school and wanna add new homework or can't remember what my next lesson is I have to wipe my phone out, UNLOCK my phone (which can be very frustrating when I'm doing it under my desk almost without looking because I don't want the teachers to notice me), slide my finger to the right and take a look at the widget. So if my phone supported lockscreen widgets and somebody asked me what my next lesson is, I'd get my phone out of my pocket, wake it up, slide and BAM! My next lesson's history!

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  • Robert Jansen Nov 3, 2012 Link

    I'm guessing the lockscreen widgets will not work though when you're using pattern protection.

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  • Anna F. Nov 3, 2012 Link

    @Robert They do work. I saw a video uploaded by Google that shows just that. You can view the widgets but if you tap one of them you'll have to enter your pattern before it takes you to the corresponding app.

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