New Android 4.2 features unveiled: gallery changes, multi-user accounts and parental controls

October 20, 2012
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We already (think we) know that Google will unveil the LG Nexus 4 running Android 4.2 on October 29 and launch the new products in the weeks thereafter, but until Google takes the stage at its upcoming media event we’ll keep looking at current rumors and reports detailing these products.

In earlier posts we looked at various Android 4.2 features, such as the new notification settings, the Gmail 4.2 app that was later pulled by Google and a variety of security features that could be found in Google’s upcoming Android version.

Now we have more Android 4.2 features uncovered coming via the same source, Android Police, that continued to dig for more details in the Android 4.2 version it got to play with. In its latest report, the publication details new gallery changes, multi-user accounts and parental controls.

Like with the previous set of features, it’s not yet clear whether these features will be indeed found in the final version of Android 4.2, but it’s still worth taking a look at them.

The gallery and camera apps are apparently getting new icons, although the graphics found in this Android 4.2 build are not final. More importantly, the gallery app is getting a makeover, although when it comes to functionality, things appear to be exactly the same as in Jelly Bean:

The Gallery is getting a reskin! It’s still a rough work in progress, but we can at least see what direction they’re going in. Albums have a polaroid-style bottom white label (which matches the new icon!) and the background is a light-gray color [see left screenshot in the image above]. Everything else about the Gallery is exactly the same. And when I say exactly the same I mean exactly the same. You can’t delete Picasa/G+ photos, there are no new editing options, you still can’t rotate with a gesture, and Instant Upload Albums are still capped at 500. In its defense, it isn’t anywhere near finished – in fact, they haven’t even incremented the version number. 1.1.40000 is the same as the Jelly Bean version. It’s promising that they’re looking at it.

In case taking pictures on your Android device isn’t that important, especially if it’s a tablet, then you’ll be happy to hear that Google is apparently working on multi-user accounts, which is definitely good news for tablet owners. According to Android Police, there’s evidence in the Android 4.2 version it tested that Android 4.2 will support multiple users. Various apps have permissions that reveal the multiple users features including the Phone, Setting and SystemUI.

Even the Google Play Store will keep track of what apps are installed for each user, showing the relevant ones for each one.

One of the perks of a system that has multi-user support is that it can offer parental controls. Apparently Android 4.2 will also offer this feature, which will allow parents to control the activity of their children on Android devices, especially when it comes to getting new content from the store – purchasing can be blocked with a PIN and downloads censored depending on their rating.

We’ll be back with more Android 4.2 details once we have them. Meanwhile, let us know what you’d like to see Google announce in just over a week from now.

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