Spotted: Android 4.2.2 update for Google Nexus devices
Minor over-the-air release to arrive in waves
Owners of Google Nexus devices have reason to hover anxiously over their System Updates screens once again, with reports surfacing that the Chocolate Factory has slowly begun rolling out the latest update to Android 4.2 "Jelly Bean".
A Reddit user going by the handle "WeeManFoo" was among the first to report receiving the over-the-air update on Tuesday, when he posted a screenshot that confirmed his Samsung Galaxy Nexus was running Android 4.2.2.
Around the web, other Android users soon chimed in, with owners of Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 fondleslabs also claiming to have received the update.
Curiously, El Reg's research didn't reveal anything about Google's latest mobe, the Nexus 4. It looks like the update has not yet been made available for those devices – but presumably it will be soon.
Just how much this latest minor-point release actually improves on the previous one, however, is not clear. The überfans over at Android Police have posted the raw developer changelog for the update, but although it lists lots of technical tweaks, it leaves the effects of those patches largely open to speculation.
Google has yet to issue a plain-language changelog for ordinary folks, and it did not respond to The Reg's request for further enlightenment. All the update's package manifest says is that it improves "performance and stability."
It's here, but what does it do? (Source: WeeManFoo)
To hear WeeManFoo tell it, however, even that is debatable. He's spotted a few trivial cosmetic tweaks and he thinks some of the animations are actually slower, but otherwise he says little appears to have changed.
Many users had been hoping that the update would fix an issue that cropped up in Jelly Bean 4.2.1, when music streamed over Bluetooth would occasionally "hiccup." But while WeeManFoo says his music seems to get interrupted less often with 4.2.2, he doesn't think the problem is entirely resolved.
On the other hand, Android Police's sleuths have been digging through the screens on their updated devices and have uncovered a few new features, albeit fairly minor ones. App downloads show animated progress notifications in 4.2.2, there are new toggle controls for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in the Quick Settings, and Google has supplied a few new system sounds.
There's also a new security feature that makes it harder for someone to slurp the data off your phone using USB debugging. But unless you're an Android developer yourself, you may never even notice it.
Other than that, most of the changes in the latest Jelly Bean release appear to be strictly under-the-hood fixes.
If Google holds to its past practice, it may be weeks or even months before the update rolls out to every Nexus device. When owners of devices other than Google's Nexus line will be able to upgrade, however, is anyone's guess.
In fact, not even every device badged "Nexus" can run Android 4.2.2. Google dropped support for the Nexus S when it bumped Jelly Bean from 4.1 to 4.2, and it looks like Verizon's LTE version of the Galaxy Nexus will remain stuck on 4.1 forever, too, having been discontinued by the carrier.
Still, not having the latest version of the OS doesn't seem to be a problem for the majority of Android users. In all, only 1.4 per cent of all Android devices are running Android 4.2, according to Google's latest figures, and just 13.6 per cent are running any flavor of Jelly Bean at all.
Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich", a reasonably recent version, is now running on 29 per cent of devices. But fully 56.1 per cent are still running Android 2.3 or earlier – versions that are more than two years old. Compared to that, waiting for Google's staggered Nexus updates to arrive is no big deal.
Then again, if you're the type who absolutely cannot wait to get the latest Android releases, you can download and install 4.2.2 manually according to instructions found here. The process isn't for the faint of heart and you could end up disabling your phone if you don't know what you're doing, but who are we to stop you? ®
@Ambivalent N7-owning AC
I love my N7. But then again, I don't use it for work, but as a media device.
Kindle, Netflix, surfing, casual gaming: it does all of those things will aplomb and it's light enough to hold comfortably on the tube, or when lying on my side in bed. The battery life is more than adequate too.
So I agree, it's a toy of sorts. But I've always loved toys, and this is a good one...
Android Honeymoon Over
My Android Honeymoon is most definitely over. I don't really want to go Apple though.
- The lockscreen widgets corrupt the screen occasionally with PIN security.
- The lovely visual style that was created for ICS is being compromised already with apps like the Alarms that while highly usable break the aesthetic.
- The bluetooth started having issues it didn't have before with 4.2 on my Galaxy Nexus.
- Google Now's voice recognition which used to be quite impressive ("listen to Snowpatrol" worked well with Spotify) has turned into a lemon.
- Google Navigate overloads you with directions when you don't need the stress of it. it never used to! I find it easier to mute it which I think comes from very poor QA and testing.
- Google seem to be discontinuing progress on their built in browser which has far better visual integration and great features like tap to reflow text. It's moving to Chrome on mobile, which lacks some features the integrated browser has and on top, it doesn't gel the same with the UI. So disapointing. Password sync on Chrome doesn't seem to work properly.
I don't really see a better alternative, but I think the regressions Google makes in it's products hurt it the most. When you have something that works and it starts not working after an 'update', it's a really sore point.
Apparently Google have updated the Play store listings for the Nexus 7 - the battery life figure has been changed from "up to 7 hours" to "up to 10 hours" - that this has happened the same day 4.2.2 started rolling out - leads many to believe there are significant battery fixes in this update.