(Updated) Android 4.2 Rumors Starting To Filter Out, What Might We See Next?

Update: Google employee Dan Morrill is having a good laugh at the latest round of rumors with a simple “Reading rumor sites…. LOL.” comment on Google+. When pressed for more information, Morrill wouldn’t disclose which site(s) he was referencing, but I think the below information is the pretty obvious choice. It’s possible that Morrill is laughing out loud because of how dead on this information is, or how very, very wrong it is. Hopefully we’ll find out soon enough. 

The following post has enough unconfirmed information to call for a well emphasized “rumor” warning to everyone before reading, but we’re confident enough in our friends at Androidandme to say that there is probably some truth to what they’ve uncovered in Android 4.2, Google’s next-generation of Android.

First things first, comes word about a new Nexus program, which won’t come as much of a surprise given that rumors hinting toward a multiple Nexus device launch have been around for months. The idea that Google will push to have more manufacturers on board with the Nexus program doesn’t seem like a far-fetched premise to us at all, in fact I think they would prefer multiple devices. The devices themselves will have to fulfill some basic requirements: run a stock version of Android, have enough power to run all “Nexus Games” and support Google Wallet with NFC.

The next rumor highlights a new Customization Center, where you’ll be able to quickly change ringtones, language packs, background, launchers and more. There are two new features that will be included: templates that change the appearance of all dynamic icons at once, and post filters that change the appearance of the UI ala Instagram. This rumor stretches itself a little when it says manufacturers will provide their own custom UI through the new Customization Center, but aren’t required to do so. According to this rumor, if Google were to upgrade Android and a manufacturer failed to offer a compatible version of their own UI, the device would revert back to stock Android as the user waits for the manufacturers upgrade to catch up. Honestly, this seems a little far-fetched and we’d have to show some skepticism on this one, it almost sounds to good to be true. The idea that manufacturers would allow Google to upgrade the “base” Android OS without having their own UI ready sounds like something Samsung, LG, HTC etc would take issue with.

We’re familiar with Project Butter, Google’s effort to enhance Android responsiveness in Jelly Bean. Now it’s time to meet Project Roadrunner, an effort by Google to show major enhancements to battery life. We love the idea and we know that manufacturers like Motorola are dedicated to improving battery life, so even if Google isn’t working on Project Roadrunner, we have faith in companies like Motorola and Samsung to enrich battery life.

Our next bit of intel indicates Google is working to update Google Play with new features like “personalized search, optional promotional campaigns with notification center integration, more billing options and easier in-app micro-transactions.” We’d love to see Google continue to morph Google Play into something more feature friendly, and even if this rumor isn’t correct, at least its not iTunes.

An updated version of Google Now seems like a no-brainer and given that Apple released an “enhanced” version of Siri with iOS 6, we have little doubt that Google will do the same with their next version of Android. According to Androidandme information, Google Now will offer help for basic functions or tasks like “Where can I activate bluetooth,” or “How can I tone down the brightness?”

The last bit of rumored intel indicates Google is working to update the stock video player app with a major revamp and a brand new set of APIs for other video services to connect with. Apparently, this effort is the first step in a bigger media streaming service Google will offer in the future.

We have to again emphasize the idea that all of this is rumor-based with no concrete evidence that any of it will actually come to pass. As Androidandme points out, some of these details get pretty specific so it seems unlikely that their source would make this up, and with sightings of Android 4.2 popping up in server logs across the tech blog world, it seems fair that a release is imminent. I’m not sure I would sign off on all the above information, but things like an enhanced Google Now or improved Google Play seem like no brainers with every new Android release.

Still, I would love to see the Nexus certification program come to pass and watch Google get more involved in taking control of the Android experience. Nexus devices show off the very best of the Android platform and they should receive as much attention as necessary to help promote the platform in its best light.

As for the rest of info, I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.


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  • whatever happened to the enhanced assistant program I wonder? haven’t heard how that project went.

  • Mirad77

    Rumors like this just makes me hold my breath more and jump the likes of GNote 2. Can’t wait to see what Google has for us next.

  • J-Hop2o6

    Can’t wait for 4.2 on my GNex! But I really want the next Nexus (hopefully a few choices) with S4Pro (Quad Core) + 2GB RAM.

  • Gabrielsp85

    if i just could have a Note 2 like Nexus ill be so happy!

  • Josue

    I’m looking forward to this

  • Guest

    Look forward to this never having on your current phone.

  • squiggleslash

    My guess: people who aren’t developers or users complaining about “Fragmentation” ;-)

    Looking forward to 4.2. 4.1 was a surprisingly substantial upgrade. It’ll also be nice to see the new features of 4.1 polished in 4.2, just as the new features of 4.0 were polished in 4.1

    • Anonymous

      i’m excited for 4.2 mainly because poor battery life is my main issue with numerous android phones. my htc amaze, samsung galaxy 3, htc one x.. all needed to be charged multiple times a day… which should not be the case.

      • Ulysses Geist

        That seems about right. All of the androids I have owned have needed to be recharged at least once before I leave the office.

        • ObsceneJesster

          My GS3 is the first Android phone I’ve owned where I haven’t had to charge it more than once a day. My phone comes off the charger at 6am and doesn’t go back on until 11pm. In the past 3 months, I’ve never even needed to use my car charger.

      • Drew Vallejo

        I suspect sense and touch wiz have a lot to do with that. My vanilla galaxy nexus does pretty good on battery life.

        • Anonymous

          While that is probably true, it doesn’t reflect the true fragmented nature of the android platform, which is spread out through multiple phones/companies/carriers. Most people do not have nexus devices, so i hope google eventually has a “fix”

        • You mean like the recent flap where Motorola said no newer versions for the devices they said would be supported for 18 months?

  • Ulysses Geist

    Now the 57% of users abandoned forever on gingerbread will be three full versions behind! Can google ever just get ONE version out of beta before moving onto the next?

    • Anonymous

      and what exactly is wrong with gingerbread? it works fine for most cases, and the majority of devices on gingerbread are quire old and outdated now. or would you rather have the apple approach? everyone gets the same os……. except not all the features……..

      • Ulysses Geist

        What is wrong with gingerbread, let me count the ways……. gingerbread is unstable on my mytouch 4g slide. The battery gets hot enough to see from space on thermographs, battery life sucks and I am on my second phone and multiple resets. Thankfully on my nexus one, I could have custom roms, because the official gingerbread had a call delay that made answering the phone maddening. Gingerbread was great on some phones, and horrid on others depending on the device. If you were lucky enough to have a stable build on your phone, then count your blessings. I would rather have the approach that the damn phone was stable and just worked, I could care less about apple, I want google to actually fix things, make them stable rather than just keep releasing new betas they never fix. How pathetic is it that my two year old Nokia C7 running anna/belle is more stable than any android I have owned and I have had plenty.

        • Anonymous

          i bet you’re fun at parties

        • Ulysses Geist

          Thanks for bringing that up. I really am fun at parties. It is a gift. That and a really good skill at mixing drinks.

        • Drew Vallejo

          Your first problem is its a mytouch 4g slide…….second one sounds like a battery problem, not device.

        • Ulysses Geist

          Agree on the mytouch4g slide – it was not by choice, it was a replacement for my wife’s phone, a Sidekick 4g (which was the worst phone I have ever seen and that is saying something because I had a Samsung Behold II and Samsung Vibrant). The Samsung Sidekick 4g and that HTC Mytouch 4g slide sucked so bad it put her off android forever. As for the battery, that problem was eventually fixed in the last stability fix and now does not overheat. Of course I don’t care since I gave the phone to my friend’s daughter who doesn’t mind a battery pull here and there :) Me, I moved on to a Nokia PureView 808 which gets the best signal I have ever experienced and the pictures are insane – Just about as good as my DSLR.

        • ObsceneJesster

          “Pictures are insane- Just about as good as my DSLR”


          Ok I’m done.

        • Ulysses Geist

          Buahahahaha…….Did you inhale some laughing gas or something? Have you actually seen the kinds of pics you get off the pureview 808? I get magnificent pics in the phone I carry in my pocket. Go back to the laughing gas, enjoy yourself; I am with my 808.

    • Frettfreak

      None of these have been beta builds. Root ur phone and install a custom rom.

      • Ulysses Geist

        My Mytouch 4g Slide, dual core phone, was rooted immediately. HTC had proprietary drivers on the keyboard and camera. There were very few roms for it and even fewer stable. There is an cynaogen mod9 rom but it remains alpha and is not stable enough to use a daily driver. Just advising someone to “root ur phone and install a custom rom” is pretty worthless advise if the phone sold poorly, was a t-mo exclusive, was EOL’d almost immediately and has little 3rd party support.

        • Bratty

          Dont argue logic with most of these fools. The answer to everything is to root your phone.

        • Ulysses Geist

          Rooting is not as much fun as it used to be. HTC makes you use a bootloader unlocking tool and it requires that you give your imei, name and email. For your trouble you get an unlocked bootloader, a verified invalidated warranty and a phone that remains S-ON, which requires an SD Card Killing wire trick” to hopefully get S-OFF. There are too many phones for 3rd party devs to support. If you buy one and want to root, you had better get a nexus or something that sold really really well. Avoid T-Mo exclusives like the plague.

        • yeah, that’s the usual answer that I got with Android problems.. “dude root ur phone.” That’s the answer to everything. It crossed the line when my problem was with the built in non-gmail email client. The answer was always “root your phone” – as if that would magically solve the problem. (it didn’t.)
          Also, the darn Atrix i had came with a locked bootloader. Even trying to root the thing was *NOT* an easy task and quite a few people ended up with bricked phones.

        • ObsceneJesster

          Who gives a shit about Fragmentation. The only ones who really care are the ones to cheap to upgrade their 2 year old phone. I have a GS3 and I really could care less about Fragmentation. It doesn’t effect or bother me one bit.

        • I didn’t say anything about fragmentation.

        • Ulysses Geist

          Just for the sake of stupidity, the mytouch4g slide I had was dual core, with sufficient memory and of course sense bloat. It was less than 6 months from launch when I got it. Unlocking it required using HTC’s warranty violating unlocker tool. Getting S-Off required frying an sd card and using the wire tool. There were almost no stable roms, and most of those were still gingerbread…. and since you brought up fragmentation, and we are on jelly bean and this dual core phone not even 14 months old is stuck forever on gingerbread….. never mind it is not even worth the letters being typed.

        • copster

          I have a mytouch 4g slide. There are some really good ROMs on xda (cm9.1 with battery fix, virtuous inquisition) that give the pure vanilla android experience. You don’t even need to get S-OFF. I am S-ON but just do the command line “fastboot flash boot boot.img” after flashing. I used to hate MT4GS until I installed the above mentioned ROMs. Now it is really smooth and does everything a high-end android phone should do.

    • squiggleslash

      These aren’t betas, if they were it would certainly be harder for manufacturers to justify not updating the ROMs!

      (I think the exception is Honeycomb which, while technically not a beta, was treated by Google and everyone else as one.)

      I do think Google needs to do something like a kernel feature freeze so that a single kernel will work with multiple versions of Android. That, more than anything else, would help prevent manufacturers from being the blockers when it comes to OS updates.

  • Anonymous

    android is such a WIP (work in progress) sometimes I feel like we need to wait indefinitely.

    • Napster87

      if android is a work in progress then every other OS should be ashamed.

      • Anonymous

        I should have been more specific. I didn’t mean in terms of functionality, more like in terms of GUI smoothness and battery life, which are both immediately noticeable.

        Can you imagine a car that has all the features you want? all 4 door power windows, sunroof, navigation, bluetooth, bucket seats, premium leather. Except the ride is bumpy and choppy as hell and the engine sucks so much gas so fast that you literally see the needle drop as you press the gas pedal so you constantly need to be looking for a gas station? When new fixes come, the great majority of the older models of this car are left to rot with no updates, which means the ride will be shitty and the car will be a gas hog all the time.Yea, that’s android to me.

        On the other hand, you get a car that is extremely smooth riding and completely irons out road imperfections, and slowly sips gas so you don’t need to go to the pump as often. Each model of this car that is released comes with more and more features, plugging in any holes it had in its release. Not only that! The older models of this car will still get new features that the newest models have! Yea that’s apple to me.

        I’m not saying one is better than the others, but it looks like apples concept is more well thought out, and generally more pleasant.

        • Napster87

          High end android phones don’t have those issues :/ my s3 gets great battery and is smooth.

        • Anonymous

          haha yea i had a gs3 and htc one x

          for battery life, i’ve had mixed experiences. For my HTC phones, standby/idle/sync battery life is great, they could go for 2-4 days with light usage, but on screen time drains the battery too quickly. if I had the phone on auto brightness, it drained faster than the usb could charge the phone. For my gs3, idle time was horrible (drained 15-20% overnight for no reason, no apps appeared to be open, etc), but on screen time was abt 50-100% (1.5-2X) better than the one x (though the poor idle efficiency meant that it was charged daily). Whereas my ipad has week long idle time (also my blackberry), and on screen time is great, i can watch movies or read for hours and it will still have a lot left… something i haven’t been able to say about any android device yet.

          for smoothness – both the gs3 and one x were relatively smooth (with the gs3 being a little smoother). but my ipad still runs smoother and doesn’t stutter as much as the android hardware when looking at pics, opening apps, etc, and my friends iphone 4s is definitely smoother (and supposedly the iphone 5 is even smoother?). All of that goes out the window with jellybean tho, no discernible difference once you have jb… but we’re still months (or years) away from wide adoption. maybe i’ll just get the one x+ and hope that htc will eventually update it with 4.2

        • Napster87

          My s3 uses about 7-13% over night.

        • Anonymous

          yea see that was it’s problem. my one x uses 2-3% overnight, wifi on, mobile/data on, syncing off bluetooth off.

        • Napster87

          Ohhh, I think if I had WiFi on, my battery would last longer

        • MatthewMurawski

          My Galaxy Note has great standby time (2-6% overnight, 0-1% when airplane mode is on) and kind of Suckish screen on time cuz of the giant screen

        • he has a point i actually noticed lag and not so great battery life on my gs3. thats why i returned it

        • Napster87

          That’s crazy. I’ve loaded mine up with apps and am on it constantly.

  • how about…..

    -select a profile where i can set checking email from 8am-6pm every 15 minutes but then the rest of the time every hour or two hours. Or set a profile where each profile is meant for a different user, such as each one having a different wallpaper, ringotnes etc.

    -a do not disturb type mode

    -parental controls(this is a big one that i have wanted for a while) my kids play games on my phone while on drives or while waiting. I would like the ability to set passwords to limit access for looking at text messages or emails when someone else is using it.(dont need friends being able to search through things like contacts, phone call records/logs, text messages, emails etc.)

    -bring back SEARCH button. man how useful is this….one of the biggest reasons i chose the amaze over the iphone. the ability to search anything i am in just by pressing the button is a great feature. I would also like to add that alot of search buttons be added to the bottom of the screen instead of the top so its easier to press without using two hands or stretching your finger.

    -geolocation services…let me set up profiles based on my location…like turn off 4g and use 2g instead, put the phone on silent when walking into a movie theatre…fire up a reminders list when walking into a grocery store..etc.

    -a permanent set of live wallpapers and animations package, i love the htc weather widget with its full screen weather animations, those type of things.

    -being able to set an animation or video for specific callers instead of pictures.

    -massive overhaul to google now. make it a more conversational and in depth actual assistant.

    there are some hardware improvements that i would like to see made standard across all android devices. such as a

    -real notification light and also more notification lights with different colors.
    -much better and louder speaker
    -do something about keeping the phone from getting so hot

    i understand that many of the features i asked for are available from third party apps but i have tried many of them and i feel the quality would be much better and have less issues if made from someone like google. I also understand that specific hardware/software features belong to manufacturers but i would love the ability to have them across all devices. this is just a wishlist not a complaint or praise of other platforms or handsets.

    • Frettfreak

      make it more conversational? Dude its not siri and was never intended to be.

      • yes make it more conversational. dont see how you can say that would not be an improvement….what makes you think i was talking about siri? i was actually talking about svoice(since it can open apps etc.) but oh thats right because apple has it so you definitely dont want it. fos…what a lame sorry fanboy

        • Andrew Baxendale

          No, he doesn’t want it because it isn’t practical. It is a waste of space to have that function (though very little space).

        • tell that to google because voice actions has been something they have been working on for a while for those people who may be visually impaired or driving. but hey since one guy doesnt want…..well that settles it

        • Andrew Baxendale

          I’m just saying that talking to the device (having a pointless conversation with it) is a waste of space. Voice programming is very useful. But wanting Google to give Google Now the ability to talk to you is impractical. It seems like a waste of space because who really has conversations with their phone at least once a day?

    • Anonymous

      agree with the syncing/do not disturb

      the hotmail program has this and it’s extremely convenient. When I’m at work and I need to get my emails, it’s usually within work time anyways. When i’m out with friends or family at night and on the weekends, I don’t give a flying crap about emails. How difficult would it be to do this? Thats why I keep saying android is still a WIP.

      • my amaze has this feature and i feel its a great feature that should be standard. as well as not only apply to emails but other things also.

    • 2dott0

      You make it sound like you don’t want to touch the phone. Most of this can be done by either an app or just simply doing it manually. No offense but stop being lazy. It’s a phone not magic.

      • you obviously didnt get what i was saying so no offenCE but stop being stupid. its a comment and you dont have any comprehension ability

        • 2dott0

          Say what you want but it’s a freaking phone not a personal assistant. Jerk!

  • JBrowne1012

    Either spot on or very far away from the truth. I think its the latter.

  • still waiting….and hoping jelly bean comes to the amaze

  • When-will-Android-print

    When is Android going to get a system print architecture, an answer to Apple’s AirPrint?

    • Gouv

      I’m betting that’s something that’ll be left to the oem’s.

    • fixxmyhead

      u can do it with some samsung phones like my s2 but u need a samsung printer :/

    • Paul

      It’s called PrintShare: printed from my S2 and an HTC phone (ex gf so I don’t care to remember the model) and worked perfect with her HP all-in-one wireless printer.
      (sounds jerky but I’m really just sharing the info.)

      • peharri

        That’s something specific to the phones you’re using, it’s not on my GN, and it’s definitely not part of the official Google Android operating system.

        Google was promoting “Cloud printing” at one point, a system where you’re supposed to run a copy of Google Chrome on a computer that has access to the printer and then select that Google Chrome server on your phone and… yeah, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds.

        • Paul

          It’s an app I got from the Amazon App store, the play store has it as well. It shouldn’t be phone specific so it should work with your phone as well. Yes, it isn’t apart of the system but works none the less.

          I don’t trust the cloud systems.

        • squiggleslash

          An app is not a system printing solution. It should be possible from any app to send something to the printer. That’s not possible if the method by which it does isn’t standardized at a system level.

  • der wahnsinnig

    I would like to see the voice commands control the phone itself, i.e. turn WI-FI/bluetooth on, or change the brightness. That would be a great feature to work with and would better help the android community.

    • Anonymous

      tbh, with widgets.. by the time you are able to get the voice command prompt open, i would have disable then reenabled those features. it’s something that isn’t worth the trouble imo

  • Gouv

    I really hope they can execute road run we like they did with jelly bean. I’m sure these rumors are true because they seem practical. And even if they don’t show up in 4.2 they’ll likely pop up on the future at some point. I’m really rooting for road runner. Battery life on my galaxy nexus usually sucks in comparison to my iPhone 4S. This however would give android that much needed edge over iOS especially in the high end androids. Also the update thing is great too. This fragmentation due to the oem’s is pure nonsense. I hate that some phones are only now getting ICS. Freakin ICS!!! So if google has really figured out a solution to this than I say “more power to them”. The open nature of android Is nice an all but it’s about time google decided to be a enter parent to android

  • Dakota

    a lot of apps arent working with jelly bean either…but with only 2% having that, and new phone still selling with 2.3, android fragmentation is getting out of hand

  • Kenny O

    Android Police has an interesting comment thread going, it seems this might all be completely false. A person claiming to have pulled off the hoax has revealed himself and posted his complete exchange with Taylor from Android and Me. The plot thickens.