Exciting features in Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)

Nexus-phone owners received Android 4.2 OTA update since mid-November. Having been an Android phone user since Android 2.1 (Éclair), it is exciting to live along with Android updates over these years. The last one being termed “Project Butter”, the user interface indeed has become smoother and faster. Though it’s a little late, let me share some awesome features updated in Android 4.2 (the codename still being Jelly Bean).

1. Photo Sphere mode in “Camera app”

Android 4.0 (Ice-cream Sandwich) came with “Panorama” mode in camera, but this Photo Sphere mode is much more exciting. It allows us to capture the 360-degree view. With extra patience, you can capture really amazing landscape photos. Together with this, a new feature has been added to Google+ where we can upload and view the photos in Google-StreetView alike gallery.  Below is the landscape of the new KICT building at IIUM, taken last month using “Photo Sphere” from my Galaxy Nexus.

2. Photo filter: With the new Android update, you can do basic photo editing, cropping, color adjustment, etc. in the gallery app itself without the need to install other apps.

 3. Gesture Typing: This is another awesome update that comes with Jelly Bean. Previous Samsung phone owners might be familiar with this, which is Swype like keyboard. Since we can just slide our fingers over the words and it also comes with next-word prediction function. This new enhanced keyboard makes typing a lot faster.

 4. Full font support for Arabic: Google released updates for many international Unicode support, but the one that directly concerns us is “Arabic”. Before this, Arabic fonts cannot be displayed correctly, hence, many app developers has to use images for Arabic text. Starting from Android 4.2, we no longer need to use images, which is a great relief and allows us developers to write more compact codes.

 5. One tablet, many users: This is a long-awaiting feature, which allows many users to share a tablet with different login and a dedicated user space.

 6. Lock Screen widgets: Another interesting update for the developers, now we can target to develop Lock Screen Widgets so that users can access updates from the app without the need to unlock their screen.

 7. Daydream: This is a feature that allows us to display slideshows (like the computer screensavers) on our phones/tablets.

 8. Developer options: You won’t find “developer options” anywhere inside settings after you have updated to Android 4.2. Aha..don’t get panicked! Google gets it hidden by default, but there is a way to get “developer options” back. Open Settings->About Phone, scroll to the bottom till you see “Build Number”. Tap the build number seven times, tada! the developer options will appear.

 9. Miscellaneous

– New way to create UI: Nested Fragment (<a href= >sample here</a>)

– One-click installation of ADT bundle: Previously, developers need to download Eclipse IDE separately, install ADT plugin, then download Android SDK tools/emulators, etc. Now, Google has bundled them into a one-click tool and can be downloaded from <a href=>here</a>.