Over the past week it’s been a Microsoft and Google world. With Apples latest device the iPad Mini getting bad reviews and Microsoft and Google putting out device after device, all WinPhone and Fandroids are in geek heaven. In particular, I am ecstatic as it’s soon going to be a new Android build Jelly Bean 4.2!
4.2 is nice in that it’s just an interface focused update and some minor bug fixes. Mainly what we have to look forward to are the new applications coming to Android. I cannot wait to use the 360 photo gallery app. It’s such a useless feature but it’s something about having that ability. Google’s taking it a step further than just having a 360 image by allowing you to share 360 views on Google+ and also share the XML data wherever you choose. You can share the pictures with other Android devices and send emails of your 360 view that can be displayed in Google maps.
Another feature that’s going to be useful on my tablet is multi-user account support. The way Google is implementing the technology is unique in that it allows users to share application resources. So if one user has Spider Man loaded, then another user wants to load Spider Man, the OS only loads user specific data in each log on to save space.
This intelligent design is seen in a lot of places throughout the OS, Android 4.2 allows devices to enable wireless display. Allowing you share movies, YouTube videos, and anything that’s on your screen on an HDTV. All you need is a $20 Cisco wireless adapter for good integrity in my opinion; connect to any HDMI-enabled TV to mirror what’s on your screen quickly and easily.
Some other features Android will have in a few days are amazing in the ‘Moral’ category, such as screen magnification to easily zoom or pan the entire screen to get a closer look. Visually impaired users can now enter full-screen magnification with a triple-tap on the screen and even type and interact with the device while zoomed in.
Blind users can use Gesture Mode to reliably navigate the UI using touch and swipe gestures in combination with speech output. Once its setup for a blind person they can have their devices do say two things, call 911 and navigate home from wherever I am. Or complete more complex task like navigate by voice to a store, doctors office or strip club…what? Just because they are blind doesn’t mean the other senses are not working.
Google promises more reactive and uniform touch responses, futuristic new features in Google Now, new Swype-like keyboard by default; you can Swype or not. I do have a Verizon Galaxy Nexus so I did have to root to make sure it’s up to date immediately! so I do not have to worry…I do however, hope the carriers quit being greedy and update these “older” devices.
Not that even Android 2.3 Ginger Bread is a bad OS and Verizon will eventually push the updates… it’s just it would be pretty cool if all Android users could have these features day one.