While Microsoft is unveiling all about Windows Phone 8, Google ruined the party a little bit by ‘leaking’ all about Android 4.2, the Nexus 10 tablet, and the new Nexus phone, the LG Nexus 4. There’s some pretty awesome stuff in here from Google – except for the fact the devices themselves are kind of ugly.
To start with Android 4.2, this is an expansion which builds on Jelly Bean, which still carries some fun new features. The most interesting new feature here is multiuser support, which is a feature that should’ve been on tablets from the very beginning. I’ve noticed that tablets tend to get passed around like crazy among friends during get-togethers, and while I don’t have a family, I’m sure it’s the same there. Multiuser – which both Android and Windows 8 will now bring to tablets – will make that use-case a lot easier.
But even for me, this is a welcome feature. My Nexus 7 is my personal device, and much like how I don’t like people messing with my phone without asking (there’s personal stuff in there), I’m always a bit anxious about people handling my tablet, but with multiuser I can just set up a guest account and be done with it. I’m pretty sure iOS will follow suit soon.
It’s got a few other nice touches as well, such as zooming in Gmail (hallelujah!), widgets on the lock screen, accessibility improvements, improved Google Now, gesture typing, and so on.
As always with every new Android version, we’ve got Nexus devices. This time around, we’re looking at both a phone and a tablet – both pretty affordable, yet still entirely fully specced. The Nexus 10 is a Samsung-built, Google-designed 10″ tablet with a whopping 2560×1600 display (300 ppi). It’s powered by a dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a quad-core Mail T604 graphical chip. Google claims 9 hours of HD video playback, but we’ll need some proper tests to confirm this.
As for pricing, the 16 GB version is only $399, which, for all intents and purposes, is very, very cheap (the 32GB version is $499). This is cheaper than the competition, but sadly, I find the device’s looks pretty crappy compared to especially the Surface RT. Not the most important of aspects, of course, but it just stood out to me. It’ll be available on 13 November in the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Spain and Canada.
There’s also a new smartphone – the LG-built Nexus 4. It has a 4.7″ 1280×768 IPS display, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, 2GB of RAM, and 8 or 16GB of storage space. The back is made of etched an layered glass, which, on photos, looks kinda nice. The display is the latest of the latest – laminated, 320 ppi, and its touch sensor is integrated into the Gorilla Glass 2 layer. It doesn’t have LTE, though, since that would require Google to submit too stricter carrier limitations. Not a big deal for most people outside of the US, since LTE isn’t very widespread just yet.
Here, too, pricing is a headliner. The 8GB version has an unlocked price of just $299 – which is just insane. Let me reiterate: unlocked. I have no intention of buying them – I find them bland and ugly – but with prices like this it’s pretty clear Google is going for the price argument.