Along with a slew of new Nexus devices, Google has just announced Android 4.2, a new flavour of Jellybean. While it doesn’t merit a new name of its own, it does add quite a few neat new features. Here’s a rundown.
Miracast Wireless Display Support
Android 4.2 will support Miracast, an AirPlay-like service. This means you’ll be able to stream YouTube videos, movies, TV and anything that’s on your screen to an HDTV if you have a wireless display adaptor. Who needs a Nexus Q, right?
The new version of Android will include a new keyboard feature that allows for swipe-style typing, much like Swype and the upcoming Flow for SwiftKey.
Just like your laptop — and Microsoft Surface — Android 4.2 tablets will now be able to support multiple user logins. Each user can have their own homescreen, background, widgets, apps and games. It even keeps things like game-save progress and high-scores separate. The update will also use multi-tasking to keep programs running in the background to make swapping users snappy. This feature is only available on tablets apparently.
Photo Sphere Camera
Like a beefed-up panaromic camera, Photo Sphere will let users do exactly what the name implies: take spherical photos. You can even add these spheres to Google Maps, which could make for some pretty cool crowdsourcing.
Daydream is a screensaver-esque feature that will let your device show off useful (or amusing) information when idle or docked. It seems that it’ll operating in a smart, Google Now-ish sort of way, and can show things like photo albums, news from Google Currents and more.
Certain Android 4.2 notifications will now let you take appropriate actions directly from the notifications pane. We don’t know exactly what notifications will support this yet, but the example Google gives is returning a missed call directly from the notification.
Improved Accessibility Options
Jelly Bean now supports a triple-tap to zoom in on small text, or anything else you need a closer look at. After you’re zoomed in, you can pan around with a two-fingered touch. There’s also Gesture mode for blind users, which uses touch and swipe gestures along speech output to make it possible to navigate the UI without having to see it.
Google Now Improvements
Google Now can now pull from Gmail to get ideas for new cards. It can also help you track packages, scout out movie information, and even help you find great spots for photo-ops based on your location. [Google]