Google launched many devices today, and their unifying factor was the new Android 4.2. Thought it’s still called Jelly Bean, it comes with plenty improvements and new features. This isn’t a small update. Here are a few new features:
Photo Sphere is an awesome new feature inside the camera app that allows you to take a photo of your entire surroundings. Yes, all 360 degrees. And Android will stitch the photos together for a uniform look.
The photos will be standard JPEG files, and the info for looking around then is in the XML metadata, meaning not only can they be viewed on your phone, but also Google+ and any other place that decides to support Photo Sphere.
We were inspired by Street View in Google Maps, and the sophisticated pieces of equipment that Google custom-developed in order to bring you 360-degree photos from all over the world – cars, trikes, and even backpacks.
Photo Spheres make you feel like you’re really there. When you’re snapping a photo sphere, you can move in every direction, you can look up, you can look down, every detail from the original scene is just there.
Photo Spheres are stored as JPEG files, and all of the information required to view them is embedded as open XML metadata in the image itself. So you can email them, post them to Google+, put them in Google+ photo albums. Check it out and also check out all of our Nexus news.
It seems that Swype is getting a resurgence of popularity, and this is the second wave of everyone trying to implement Swype-like technology into their keyboards. Google has implemented just that: gesture typing. While it isn’t all that important to many, it is still a nice added feature. Better that it’s there.
Multi-User Account Support
This is a first for any major OS (except Amazon’s limited attempt at it in their Kindle Fire HD series). User accounts can be made, each with their own homescreen, wallpapers, and even app data. And you can switch between user accounts really easily. Good job, Google. This makes a family tablet a very viable device.
Wireless Display Aupport
Android now comes with the ability to connect to wireless displays. You can use a wireless display dongle to connect to an HDMI port in a TV and mirror your screen wirelessly. Quite simple but could be useful for many of you.
Is this useful? No. But it’s new. It will show your Gallery photos or feeds from Google Currents when your tablet isn’t doing anything, thus wasting battery instead of showing useful information or sleeping. But hey, it’s pretty.
Notification Power Controls
Now, Google didn’t really speak of the notification power controls, but they did post a photo of the new button to open it. It can probably be opened with a second swipe down, as reported before. Anyway, this is a fantastic feature that Google implemented and we’re surprised they’ve put such little attention on it.
Google has also improved Google Now for Android 4.2, with the inclusion of flight info, restaurant reservations, nearly landmarks, and even package tracking.
So there you go, most, if not all, new Android 4.2 features. What do you guys think of the new update? Is it big, or just incremental? And do you like the new features? Be sure to tell us in the comments!