State of Android 4.2: So Far, A Nexus Only Update
All the way back in November, Google released its latest update for its Android operating system dubbed Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. In the days since, only a handful of devices have received the update. In fact, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus remains without the software update and rather surprisingly, several big name devices from 2013 are launching with older versions of Android.
At Google I/O last year, Google announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which at the time was the latest update to the company’s Android operating system. The software replaced Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich which had made its debut in December of 2011 and subsequently rolled out to devices later in 2012.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean started rolling out to devices shortly after the software was introduced. In July, several Nexus devices from Google received their update to Android 4.1, a list that included the GSM Galaxy Nexus. However, not all Nexus devices were fortunate enough to receive the update in a timely manner.
It wasn’t until September that both the Sprint and Verizon Galaxy Nexus smartphones were updated with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. On September 7th, Sprint updated its Galaxy Nexus and on September 21st, Verizon rolled out its version of the Galaxy Nexus Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update. Just three days later, Samsung started to roll out the Samsung Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean update which, along with an Asus tablet, became the first non-Nexus devices to receive the update.
In November, just shortly after the Jelly Bean update rolled out to several big name devices including the HTC One X, Google introduced Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, an update that tacked on some new features to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
The update rolled out very quickly to the GSM Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 7 and owners have been enjoying their update to the latest Android software since November. However, despite promises of faster Android updates, the Android 4.2 roll out has been far more unforgiving than the Android 4.1 update.
Verizon Galaxy Nexus
Since its arrival in November of last year, the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update has been made available only for a few devices, all called Nexus. And maybe worst of all, Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners, who haven’t seen an update since September, are still among those waiting for the update to arrive.
Thus far, we haven’t seen the update leak out, as we did when Android 4.1 was close, and it now has been more than a month since Sprint rolled out its Android 4.2 update for the Galaxy Nexus.
The Sprint Galaxy Nexus Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update initially was made available in mid-January and the carrier started rolling out the update OTA on January 30th.
Since then, Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners have been treated to the typical silence from both Samsung and Verizon in regards to the update and at this point, the situation will likely remain the same until the update touches down.
One theory that I’ve had is that Verizon is waiting for the Samsung Galaxy S4 announcement so that it can promote Android 4.2 for that device. Remember, the carrier discontinued the Galaxy Nexus so at this point, it’s not a top priority.
It also could be that Verizon ran into some issues with Android 4.2, there were a few, and has needed more time for testing. Whatever the case may be, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus Android 4.2 update is missing and its features along with it.
Other Big Names Still on Android 4.1
When Google announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean back in June of last year, it also announced something called the Android PDK, a Android Platform Development Kit that was supposed to help manufacturers port Android to their devices.
It was said that Google would release the PDK to developers a few months before it launched each new version of Android and that would mean that manufacturers would no longer have to wait for Google’s announcements to get to work porting the new Android updates to devices.
As we said, Samsung was able to roll out Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in September for its Galaxy S3, a roll out that came just a few days after the Verizon Galaxy Nexus got its update. However, it looks like owners are going to have to wait a number of months before getting it as the update isn’t supposed to roll out until after the Galaxy S4 arrives. The Galaxy S4 isn’t rumored to be landing until May and perhaps May or June in the U.S..
That means that the Android 4.1 crown jewel, the Samsung Galaxy S3, is still on Android 4.1, the HTC One X is still on Android 4.1 (the AT&T One X is actually still on Android 4.0), the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 which arrived with Android 4.1 out of the box is still on Android 4.1 as well.
So while the PDK still exists, it doesn’t appear to have made the strides that had hoped for when it was announced.
2013 Android Devices
In fact, we haven’t seen many manufacturers outside of a few confirm Android 4.2 for their devices. The new HTC One doesn’t even have Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board. Instead, it will utilize Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with its Sense 5.0 UI when it arrives in March. And the Samsung Galaxy S4 is rumored to be coming with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean but that isn’t confirmed and even then, it’s not supposed to be out in until April, five months after Android 4.2′s release and just a month before Google I/O.
Thus far, Sony has said that the Xperia Z smartphone would get Android 4.2 shortly after launch and we also have seen some some Android 4.2 devices arrive at MWC 2013 but they aren’t due until the second quarter of this year. Other than that, it has been all quiet on the Android 4.2 home front.
So as it stands, we currently have the GSM Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Nexus 7 and Sprint Galaxy Nexus as the only devices offering an update that is now over three months old.
Too Many Questions
Does it mean that owners will have to wait an absurd amount of time as manufacturers get Android 4.2 out first and then deliver Android 5.0? Does it mean that Android 5.0 won’t be coming until later in the year?
Which current devices will be getting Android 4.2 Jelly Bean? And will owners have to again wait three months or more for Android 5.0 answers like they have had to with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean?
When will the Verizon Galaxy Nexus update arrive with its brand new features like the gesture-enhanced keyboard and all the other useful features of Android 4.2?
The fact that I can’t answer any of these questions is one of the main reasons why I will forever again have a hard time buying into Android. Too much silence, too much uncertainty and too much inconsistency.
And I am afraid things are only going to get worse as manufacturers load up their devices with their unique software features, ones that aren’t native to Android, as they try and separate their devices from the rest of the Android pack.
For now though, all I can do is wait for Verizon to deliver my Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update to my Verizon Galaxy Nexus. Whenever that may be.