Quick Look At Jelly Bean 4.2 Features on the Nexus 7 tablet

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New Lock Screen

As always with Android updates, Nexus products get the latest upgrade first. So when our Nexus 7 said it was time to update, I downloaded and started snapping screen shots to show off the new features presented as on my Google Nexus 7.

First off, the most noticeable change is the lock screen. Previously, unless using a third-party lock screen app (like GO Launcher Ex Lock screen, an add-on to their launcher), there was only the clock and date available. Now, you’ll note that you can swipe to the left and there is a large + sign. This allows you to add several other widgets to the lock screen. You can choose between a calendar, inbox from Gmail or the clock. At the moment, these are the only ones from Google, but it appears that some app developers have the ability to make widgets for the lock screen, as I found a widget for Tweetings sitting there.

These are the standard Google widgets available. Developers should be able to add theirs through updates.
These are the standard Google widgets available. Developers should be able to add theirs through updates.

The second, and most welcomed, addition is that screen rotation is now system wide, rather than only certain apps and situations. This means two things. One, you can stop flipping your device up and down, and a more comfortable read. Two, when the device is in a stand/dock, you won’t have to crane your neck or move the device when to read some screens anymore. You can even unlock the screen with face unlock in portrait mode.

The notification bar at the top has two different modes. If you swipe down from the top right of the screen, you are given options to change things such as WiFi, Bluetooth, settings, etc. Swipe down from top left, and you are shown all the notifications your device has received. This is, of course, making the most of the Nexus 7 screen size. I’m yet to see what it will be like on a smaller device like a 4 inch phone.

Swipe down from top right for this tab to turn most common settings on/off
Swipe down from top right for this tab to turn most common settings on/off

Another great feature of 4.2 is that you can have separate users on the same device. Each will have their own desktop with their own arrangement of icons. You can choose who the users are from the settings menu, as well as adding and deleting users. When you turn the device on, you will see icons at the bottom of the screen to identify the users who have a profile on the device. Simply tap on the icon, and that user can log in.

Tap on the icon at the bottom to switch user
Tap on the icon at the bottom to switch user

There  is also the Daydream feature. This is essentially a screen saver which will activate either when placed in a dock, or when charging (or both). There are several different screen savers such as a clock, random colours, Currents, a photo frame, a collage or photos. This is a nice feature to leave your device out when charging in a dock.

The final feature I spotted is the basic photo editor. When looking at a picture in the gallery, you’ll see an icon of three rings together. Click this, and you are given the options to edit the image with preloaded filters. You can also add frames, straighten the picture or rotated it. You can even go as far as altering the different colours of the picture (Red, Green, Blue or all three). It’s no Photoshop, but it’s slightly better than Instagram.

A simple photo editor to rival Instagrams filters with some advanced options
A simple photo editor to rival Instagrams filters with some advanced options

Have you spotted any other features we missed out? If so, put a mention in the comments.

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