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My Android 4.2 Thoughts

Positives
* Text is noticeably sharper across native UI elements. I think there's still further progress to me made in this area, but the improvements here are a great step forward.
* The new multitasking animations are very slick.
* Multiple user support on tablets is a great feature.
* Photospheres are fantastic, and could be a real killer feature going forward.
* The Swype-style keyboard works really well.
* The Gallery app has been tightened up nicely.
* I'm excited to see what comes of the multiple-screen and Miracast features going forward.
* Some welcome new security features.
* The refined clock widget looks great.

Shrug
* Daydreams. They work just fine, but I do find it very strange that they don't function out of the box, and you must both enable and configure them. Given this, I can't imagine many muggles will ever see them. I'm sure this will evolve into a cool feature for the fridges of tomorrow, but I don't envisage using it much currently.

Negatives
* I really don't like the lock screen widgets. Some of my major gripes: the camera shortcut is now removed from the lock screen; the UX flow for adding widgets is vastly different compared to on the launcher; the widget 'pages' now have rounded corners. Finally, I can't shake the feeling that if someone is willing to have their inbox/calendar available insecurely on a lock screen widget, why wouldn't they just disable the lock screen entirely and get to their home screen faster?
* The notification preferences look good, but usability wise they are a bit of a mess: clicking my profile image does nothing useful unless I'm on a tablet with multiple users; Airplane mode is an actionable toggle; Brightness spawns overlayed UI; and the rest of the items are just shortcuts to pages in the Settings. I'd have preferred each option on this shade be a toggle. As it stands, I don't see much point in this notification shade.
* The camera app changes in every release, but it's still yet to reach the point where it is great IMO. 
* Creating good photospheres can be a really finicky and slow exercise.
* Why this policy of linking the Gmail app and OS releases rather than releasing the updated Gmail app via the Play Store? Swipe-to-archive requires some new 4.2 specific system API? Puh-lease. I can understand the need for a separate Gmail app for 2.x users, but surely all versions of Android 4.0 (arguable 3.0) and above should be using the same version of Gmail. Google advise developers to take this course of action with their apps, and they should be setting an example here.
* The Clock app received some long overdue love, but I don't much fancy its UI. It feels a bit like its trying a touch too hard to be stylish at the expense of usability to me. Certainly, alarms should have more prominence IMO.
* I've definitely experienced quite a few stability issues than under 4.1. The Gallery app in particular seems to FC very often when loading a photosphere. 
* Sometimes I find pressing the power button does not wake the screen as quickly as it did previously. This delay is annoying, because I often find myself pressing the button again thinking the button press hasn't registered, only to find the screen powering on and then off again. 
* It is disappointing that this is seemingly the end of the line for my much beloved Nexus S, but I do appreciate support for it had to end at some point.
* I can't shake the feeling that something about Android 4.2 just feels a little rushed. Also, it does not feel like a unanimous step forward, as Android releases always have previously for me.

cc/ +Adam Koch,  +Adam Powell,  +Dan Morrill, +Dianne Hackborn, +Kirill Grouchnikov+Matias Duarte, +Nick Butcher, +Rich Hyndman,  +Roman Nurik, +Romain Guy, +Reto Meier. 
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47 comments
 
Do Daydream(s) include electric sheep?
 
Great thoughts. I, too, am disappointed in lock screen widgets and the quick settings panel. Honestly, I feel more bad than good was done in 4.2. Too many missteps and not even forward progress..That said, rockin the Nexus 4.
 
Can't really disagree with anything you've said. For me, 4.2 definitely has some stability issues on my Nexus 7, I've had several resets and noticeably more laggy. I do like the swipe keyboard, been a big fan of Swype on my Desire and Galaxy Nexus but this is an excellent first iteration by Google.
 
To go with the power button delay. I find that the rotation lag is now sometimes too slow.
 
I just like how you tagged some of the people on the post, I just hope they read and take the positives with the negatives, especially when it comes to the Gmail app 
 
Agreed.
Battery life seems a little wonky on my Galaxy Nexus too. Seems less linear than 4.1, causing difficulty in planning for heavy usage.
 
I'll consider myself an Android noob. I only joined #TeamAndroid in April of this year on my Gnex. In that time I've gone from 4.0.2 all the way up to 4.2 (plus tons of ROMs in between)

So I can't speak to all of the points, but  I'll touch on a couple (again, in my opinion -- a noob remember!)

- Dreams: I like it, although like you said its kinda odd that it's tucked away. I use it at night when my phone is charging next to my pillow
- Camera: I HATE that the whole app/UI has to rotate, rather then just the buttons like in 4.1 and previous.
- Photospheres are cool, but I just don't have any luck pulling off a decent one. I'll chalk it up to a combo of user error and somewhat alpha camera build. 
- Lockscreen widgets: security hole, laggy, and a pain in the butt (on the Gnex anyway. Hopefully they work smoother on the N4). I don't use them, but I do miss rapid access to the camera from the lockring ala 4.1 and previous
- Clock app. Like the new widget, but the actual interface (as you said) could use some work.
- And yes, this one does feel a bit rushed. The upside of this is there will certainly be patches/upgrades coming. Bad from a consumer point of view, but it does help with my need/addiction  to flash stuff to my phone
 
Like the Gmail swipe to delete though - assuming it's part of jellybean. 
 
+Chris Lacy: Daydreams launches automatically, on the pogo pin docks; however it remains a useless application.  I agree with everything else you've written.  4.2 is buggy, and it's the first release of Android i am not very excited about, or in love with.

I'm actually writing a hefty piece of the missed opportunity of docking software.  I'd like to get your opinion when it posts.
 
Agreed. Rushed...I haven't played around with it... I watched a video on the toggles in the bar and was thinking how silly it is that most of those settings can be changed with one click using any of the dozens of third party apps that allow you to pin a toggler to the top of your notifications shade.

Also the Lockscreen widgets is something that should appeal to me I often love changing everything. Although uccw and others are quickly updating to work with the Lockscreen widgets, It just looks messy. And again rushed. I think they should have just allowed for more apps to be launched from the unlock circle and called it enough. That's all I use widgetlocker for
 
Agree. Also the button top stop the alarm are incredibly hard to use when you're sleeping. 
 
Interesting comments, and they're helping temper my impatience for a Nexus 4 (I'm finally replacing my much beloved Nexus 4). Thanks for sharing them.

Regarding the lock screen widgets, I certainly plan to use the calendar widget and I wouldn't dream of leaving my phone unlocked. I don't care if anyone sees my calendar -- there's nothing super secret on it. But I definitely don't really want someone picking up my phone and making long distance calls, sending texts, buying apps with my money, sending emails as me, or posting as me on social networks. Yikes!
 
Guys guys guys. Swipe the lockscreen left to reveal the camera.
 
I agree with most of your point but I must emphasize on how annoying it is for the camera app to rotate as +Andrew Penner said. It used to be much smoother before.Face Unlock also got a substantive speed reduction.

I do like the lock screen widgets if only because they allow me to have security enabled and quick access to the camera. Before I just had the simple slide to unlock "security" measure in order to unlock directly to the camera. Now we can have pin or pattern security and still access the camera from the lock screen. That's a plus for me. I also like how the new clock widget looks. On the other hand I agree that whole UI for adding new lockscreens is a mess. 

I also like how the settings work in the notification shade. I like that wi-fi isn't a toggle since most times I just want to access the menu in order to change networks (Android is very bad in choosing good networks). Still, I think they should let users choose whether they want them to be toggles or not.

Finally,I haven't experienced stability issues with the gallery or other apps...maybe I was lucky.
 
+Karl Smith I'm aware of that. My point is this functionality is now hidden by default, which I think is a step backwards.
 
I'm not sure if I'd say that it's completely hidden, the UI hints that you can swipe either way from the lockscreen. It's not immediately clear that the camera is there though, however I do like when UI is discoverable... In other words once you've learned it's there it's easy.
 
Most of the points here are good ones, but a couple of thoughts: 
- The Gmail exclusivity has happened with 4.1 too, which eventually got backported to 4.0 and released to the Play Store. I expect the same will happen in a couple of weeks. 
- I disagree that disabling screen lock isn't the best way to reach your stuff re: lockscreen widgets. I have an SMS lockscreen widget, I can't pull down the shade and quickly view who has just sent what. But I don't want my phone to be unlocked because then if I lose it, the person has access to everything on my phone. Security in terms of people looking at my texts isn't a big issue but security of, e.g. Google account is, and that still can't be reached.
 
+Chris Lacy I'm doing an experiment - coming from an iPhone 5 and spending a week with Android and the #nexus4  - so far my feelings have been pretty positive much like yours. Great progress has been made with the smoothness of the OS. My feelings so far are that its the app developers who need to start producing quality products that LOOK as good as they function.
 
+Adrian Cantrill are you leaning toward or away from making the switch to android? You got the right phone for the test..that's for sure.. I found the nexus line a year into owning a nexus device and realized the differences.... nexus is the way in android
 
Agree with pretty much everything. I'm pretty disappointed with photospheres. I find they really don't work well. Could be cool in the future when the algorithm for stitching of the photos is further refined.

I love the keyboard. No more Swype or Swiftkey for me!
 
For a moment, the UI hints that something is off to the sides, but there's no indicator as to what is there. I think this change is far closer to making the functionality 'hidden' than 'discoverable'. Previously someone picking up my Galaxy Nexus from the table of the pub had a chance of loading the camera app from the lock screen. But not any more. 
 
+Michael Geer at this point I'm still deciding. Based on the fell and use the android for sure. Remains to be seen if the negatives are an issue.
 
My thoughts exactly. Thanks for posting
 
I've been pretty happy with 4.2 thus far, with the exception of the alarm function in the Clock app.  I have a pogo pin dock for my Galaxy Nexus, and use it as my alarm clock.  In 4.1, when the alarm triggered the entire display area would effectively become two buttons; top two-thirds to "snooze", and bottom one-third to "cancel".  This was nice because I didn't have to worry about focusing my near-sighted eyes on the phone to see what to hit.  In 4.2, I now have to drag an icon either up or down to snooze or cancel, in the same way that answering a call works, which isn't really an intuitive action to take out of a deep sleep.  It's too easy to hit cancel instead of snooze.

I also didn't like that the clock daydream was rather bright by default, making it unwelcome in a dark room while trying to sleep.  In 4.1, the clock text would go through two stages of progressively dimmer text, changing first to blue, then dropping the brightness as a whole; this could be triggered by touching the screen, or would happen with sufficient idle time.  I did finally find the settings for the clock, which includes a "night" option, but dislike that this isn't automatic like it used to be.  Additionally, finding this setting was unintuitive to me, as I wasn't aware (until finding it) that the clock had been rolled into "daydreams".  Previously, you could alter settings from within the app itself.

I like having the camera accessible from the lock screen while still retaining (relatively) secure lock screen protection, but am underwhelmed by the available lock screen widgets.  A weather widget here would be nice, but I'm not terribly interested in having my personal email or calendar accessible to just anyone.
 
About the lock-screen-widget, gmail and calendar is just some examples, if you think that's not suitable for lock screen, just don't add them (also I think calendar is less confidential than gmail and is OK to put on lock screen). It's truly handy for the likes of camera, music search widget and other potential 3rd party apps.
 
Why do you need a widget for camera on the lockscreen?  It is swipe to the right now isn't it?
 
The new swipe feature in the android keyboard does not allow me to use swear words.... Duck!!
 
I really like the lock screen and its associated widgets and camera shortcut on my Nexus 4, but it did feel buggy on my old Galaxy Nexus
 
+Chris Lacy You said it.The unlock animation delay has been bugging me too.Also,I agree that the multitasking animations are amazing but I don't think you noticed that once I clear my multitasking tray completly,there is some really annoying lag from the multirasking tray to homescreen transition.

I blogged about this too - http://www.thetechcritic.tumblr.com
 
I agree about the Gmail releases (share the love) and the quick settings: give us the option for either a toggle or for us to bring up its setting page.
 
I would have to agree with the original post almost entirely.  I like it, but 4.0 and 4.1 felt like grand slams to me.  4.2 feels like the quality of 2.3 with the features of 4.1.  I have the feeling a few updates will fix that.  I can't stand not having slide to go to the camera on the homescreen anymore, and the lockscreen widgets seem pointless to me.  
 
All good points, except for fridges having screens... ludacris idea.
 
+Chris Lacy let me say this, if you didn't use the Nexus 4 you haven't used 4.2. Nexus 7 is not good enough.
 
Now I am experience glitches in Android 4.2. The Lock screen spontaneously fails to respond to touch at times. The camera/ video recording severely drains my battery. 
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