Google had to cancel its Android event in New York City due to Hurricane Sandy, but that didn’t stop the company from canceling its announcements. The Nexus 10 and Nexus 4 are now official members of the Google Nexus family. The new devices will be joined by a new version of the Android operating system.
Google detailed all the new features coming to Android 4.2, the OS powering the Nexus 10 and Nexus 4, today. The Nexus 7 will also get the upgrade when it becomes available. It brings a number of new additions to Android including a feature that should have been there from the start.
First up is the new photo sphere camera. It allows any camera to take wide panorama shots by stitching together multiple shots of the environment. It’s kind of hard to explain so here’s a video that shows off the new feature.
The touchscreen keyboard gets an upgrade in Android 4.2 as well. Google calls it Gesture Typing, the feature has users gliding their fingers over the keys to type words while only lifting their fingers to create spaces. The keyboard will also predict your next word so you don’t have to even finish typing sentences.
The best new feature in Android 4.2 is one that should have been there from the start. Tablets can now have multiple accounts with each person in the household being able to set up their own unique account that only they can access. Mobile devices are becoming more and more like personal computers and it’s about time they started acting like them. Having multiple accounts is a big step in that direction.
For those who have a wireless display adapter for their HDTV, Android 4.2 can now stream YouTube and HD video directly to the television. Since it shows whatever is on your phone or tablet’s screen, you can also take advantage of Daydream. It’s a screensaver of sorts that displays your photo albums or the latest news from Google Currents on your phone, tablet or wirelessly connected television.
Another big addition in Android 4.2 is expandable, actionable notifications. Users can now directly take action on notifications without having to open the app. It’s a major improvement over past iterations of Android that helps increase productivity.
Google Now received a sizable update that’s worthy of its own post. For more on that, check out our post on all the new cards coming to Google Now.
Just like in Android 4.1, Android 4.2 improves upon the core framework that powers the OS. It’s not a major update, indicated by it keeping the Jelly Bean moniker, but it features a lot of improvements that are much appreciated.
Android 4.2 will be first available on all the Nexus devices including the Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 10 tablet. It’s unknown if devices currently awaiting the upgrade to Android 4.1, like the Galaxy S III, will get Android 4.2 this year.