Android 4.2 Features: Improved Gmail, Settings, Security, Other Upgrades [REPORT]
The next iteration of the Android operating system, Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie, is expected to be released on Oct. 29 at a special press event that Google is hosting in New York City. Google sent invitations to journalists earlier this week that strongly alluded to a major upgrade to Android.
The invitation for Google's special press event was sent just days after leaked photos of the LG Nexus 4 began circulating the Internet. The LG Nexus 4, for the uninitiated, is a device that's reportedly a variant of the LG Optimus G and will be used to introduce Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie at the event. The LG Nexus 4 is reportedly packed with excellent hardware include a quad-core APQ8064 that runs at 1.5 GHz, a 4.7-inch screen that displays images a t 1280x768, 2GB of RAM, 8GB or 16GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 1.3 mega-pixel front-facing camera and a 2100 mAh battery.
The LG Nexus 4 is expected to be accompanied by other Nexus-brand devices made by other companies. Rumors suggest that Google will be loosening its grips on the Nexus brand and offering it more as a certification of excellence rather than as a brand designated locked to one device per generation of Android. Sony (see the Sony Nexus X here), HTC, Samsung and ASUS are all rumored to be pursuing Nexus-brand phones, and they may make an appearance at the Oct. 29 event.
The devices, which have been widely reported and are almost certainly launching at the upcoming Google press event, will likely be equipped with Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie. Google has historically reserved the Nexus brand for major updates to the Android operating system. This time, even with the announcements of several Nexus-brand devices, it seems likely that the company will release a new iteration of Android.
Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie feature details are pretty skimp at this point, but there are a few things that most developers have agreed will most likely be included in the operating system. One of the most well-known and widely reported updates featured in Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie is something called "Project Roadrunner."
Project Roadrunner is an initiative created by Google to encourage developers to increase the efficiency and battery life of all Android devices. It's the follow up to "Project Butter" an initiative that focused on the operating system's finish and overall smoothness. Project Butter was implemented with tremendous success, and it's likely that Project Roadrunner will also be implemented without a hitch.
Aside from Project Roadrunner, it's difficult to confirm any of the existing rumors, so we have to emphasize that all these rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. There have already been a slew of rumors circulating the Web that were revealed as false by Android and Me. With that in mind, here are the rumors that we think have the most plausibility.
Android Police, a popular technology blog covering all things Android, has reportedly received a beta version of Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie through a LG Nexus system dump. In essence, it doesn't have all the new features available, but rather, it's an in-progress version of Android 4.2. We encourage you to check out the blog's Android 4.2 teardown series, where they're literally picking apart the system for updates, if you want a full explication of the new system. Here's a shorter rundown of all the Android 4.2 features.
Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie will likely feature a "quick settings" function, which has historically been featured as a widget on phones that allows users to adjust Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Sound, Screen Rotation and other connections and power options. The quick settings feature allows users to pull down the notifications bar and quickly adjust settings on the phone. Android Police believe that the new Nexus phones will features a "double swipe down" feature that enables users to access the standard Notifications Center, then by swiping again, they'll be able to access the quick settings function.
Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie will also include several security updates including SELinux, VPN Lockdown and SMS Confirmation. "Security-Enhanced Linux [is] essentially a set of kernel add-ons that keeps applications from running rampant and having access to all the user's files," reports Ars Technica. "[VPN lockdown] ensures that certain data is sent only while connected to a specific network... [SMS confirmation will] help combat recent malware that charged user accounts for text messages they never actually sent."
Gmail will likely be updated in Android 4.2 as well. New features that are likely to be included in Gmail include pinch-to-zoom, archiving abilities, delete-by-swipe functions and much more. Here's a short video of Android Police showing off the new app. The popular Android tech blog is also reporting that the Gallery app is running an entirely new design and that Android 4.2 will introduce several new icons for the home page.
The precise features included in Android 4.2 are tough to determine at this point, especially since one technology blog has a monopoly on the most believable rumors. Thankfully, Google's Oct. 29 press event is just days aways, so we'll all find out what updates are being made to Android soon enough.
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