Oct. 29, 2012 at 3:58 PM ET
Along with a small mountain of new Nexus devices, Google announced also Android 4.2 on Monday. It's still called Jelly Bean, just like the prior version, but it's made just a little bit sweeter by the addition of new features such as Photo Sphere, Gesture Typing, multi-user support and more.
Like iOS, Android now has a baked-in tool that'll help you create panoramic images. In Android 4.2, you can take photos in any direction — an improvement on the panorama feature in iOS 6 — and they'll be put together into "photo spheres," which allow someone to explore the images you took as a 360-degree environment. (If you've ever used Microsoft's Photosynth app, it sounds a lot like that.)
Plenty of third-party keyboards, such as Swype, offer users the ability to type by dragging their fingers across the on-screen keyboard, and now this feature's built right into Android. Additionally, the new keyboard will "anticipate and predict the next word" you intend on typing so that you can simply select suggested words without even needing to type.
Multi-user support on tablets
Sharing an Android tablet with a family member will be significantly less awkward thanks to multi-user support. Each user can have his or her own homescreen, background, widgets, apps and games. Toggling between users is supposedly as easy as switching between apps.
Android 4.2 has a Wireless Display feature, similar to Apple's AirPlay, which allows you to share movies, YouTube clips, and whatever else might be on your screen to an HDTV. You'll just need to attach a little adapter to any HDMI-enabled TV and you're set to mirror content.
Daydream is described as something that allows your Android device to "display useful and delightful information when idle or docked." It sounds like a snazzy screensaver, basically.
Swiping down on your Android device reveals the notification pane. And now you can instantly take an action directly from that spot. This means that if you spot a missed call, you'll also see a button allowing you to return it.
When do I get this?
No word as to when Android 4.2 will become available for various Android devices, but we do know that the new Nexus lineup, which ships on Nov. 13, will be pre-loaded with the latest version of Jelly Bean.
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