Android 4.1 Jelly Bean has been receiving quick fixes in the form of minor updates. The first was the Android 4.1.1 update right after release. Today, the Android 4.1.2 update is seeding to Google’s Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S smartphones. This may be the last minor update before the next iteration of Android is seeded to them, i.e. Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie. Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie is the next step in the Android OS, with Project Roadrunner leading the charge to bring better battery life to Android smartphones. How that goes, we shall find out soon enough (with LG Nexus 4 waiting on the wings for an imminent November release).
Android 4.1.2 doesn’t bring any major new features. In fact, there are hardly any new features incoming with the new Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update. What comes is on-screen rotation for the Google Nexus 7 Tablet. This feature is absent from the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S smartphones (even after the update).
Digging deeper, we find out the smaller changes (complete change log not released yet). One of them that has been uncovered till now is the bug fix:
bug #34212 On Jelly Bean, failed to connect to WPA enterprise wireless
This is one bug which was fixed with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update. But that isn’t what’s really in our mind. We are more in anticipation of the Android 4.2 update.
Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie
Android 4.2 is said to be the next pit stop in Google’s effort to fix the issues with Android. It goes like this:
- Android 4.0 ICS brought the entire OS to a new level. Think of it as Windows Vista
- Android 4.1 started optimizing and fixing the issues with ICS. Think of it as Windows 7
- Android 4.2 is to make Jelly Bean faster and improve battery life. Think of it as Windows 8
As you can see, the relation holds very well. Google is following a similar path (albeit at a much faster, less than a year gap rate between successive iterations).
The most exciting feature in Android 4.2 is Project Roadrunner. Like Project Butter was to enhance (and fix) the UI from Android 4.0 ICS to Android 4.1 Jelly bean, Project Roadrunner is to fix the long standing poor battery lives that Android smartphones are generally associated (bar phones with 2000 mAh and upwards battery ratings).
We are really glad that Google has initiated this project. We really are tired of 1 day battery life and running to the room at night to charge our phones. Nokia has proven that modern OSes (Symbian Belle) can also have as long as 4 days of battery life, even with relatively smaller 1300 mAh battery sizes. Same case applied to Windows Phone (WP7) which too has good battery life (of 2 days on a battery rated about 1300 mAh). We sincerely hope Google matches up to that with Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie.
Which devices will be updated to Android 4.2?
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It is uncertain as to which devices will receive the Android 4.2 update. Although we can confirm that the next generation of Nexus devices (LG Nexus 4, Samsung Google Galaxy Nexus 2, Sony Nexus X, Samsung Google Nexus 10 tablet) will come with Android 4.2 onboard. Additionally, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will definitely receive the Android 4.2 update, and so will the ASUS Google Nexus 7 tablet. What we can’t really be sure is whether the old Samsung Google Nexus S will also receive the update. We really don’t see why it shouldn’t, considering that this is an incremental update to do with battery life and not a huge change (like Android 4.0 was in comparison to Android 2.3 Gingerbread).
The Fragmentation Issue
Apart from that, we can’t really say anything about other Android smartphones. Fragmentation continues to exist (the situation is slowly improving though). Just when ICS devices are starting to get common, Google is on the verge of releasing Android 4.2. It can’t even be said how many devices would get the Jelly Bean update, let alone the Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie update. The Custom ROMs scene at XDA is the real gem, and groups like CyanogenMod continue to support devices which manufacturers (big ones that too) have dropped support for. It’s really a shame that the fragmentation issue is nowhere close to being resolved.
But that being said, Google is indeed working hard to fix this issue. And that is why Google is working so hard to release multiple Nexus smartphones for it’s next generation packing a wide range of specifications and targeting different price ranges. What Google aims to do is simple, provide 3-4 Nexus smartphones packing pure Android experience and sell them directly on Google Play Store for reasonable prices (for example, the LG Nexus 4 is rumored to get listed on Google Play Store for just $399 only). This is a step toward fighting fragmentation. We hope Google does fix the issue and updates come to more and more devices in the future.