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printed October 31, 2014
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Review: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Intro New Changed Tweaked The Rest Wrap-Up Comments  6  

Despite my complaints, I found that using Android 4.2 for a week was a more positive experience than a negative one. It took awhile to get used to new lock screen and notification shade, but I really like the new traceable keyboard and superior web page rendering.

It's also worth calling attention to the gorilla in the room. Few devices will run an absolutely stock version of Android 4.2. Most devices will have manufacturer or wireless network operator tweaks that change many of the user interface elements I've pointed out in this review. The good news is that the underlying code has been optimized and gives those hardware makers and carriers more tools to create unique and interesting experiences.

Of the three major mobile operating systems out there -- Android, iOS, and Windows Phone -- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is the most customizable platform available. The customization comes at a cost, though, in usability. Android has a bit of a steeper learning curve than iOS or Windows Phone, and some of the platform's fussiness can frustrate inexperienced users. It also offers the widest variety in terms of hardware, which is one of the many reasons it has been so successful.

Android Jelly Bean 4.2 (and 4.1) are the best versions of Android yet. Yes, I've complained about some usability issues introduced with Android 4.2, but the overall increase in the number of features and the significant boost in performance make up for the UI fumbles at the end of the day.

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