November 21, 2012, 4:06 PM —
I co-host a weekly podcast on the 5by5 network with Lifehacker founding editor, programmer, app-maker, and all-around reasonable tech person Gina Trapani. On this week's episode, we talked about Android 4.2, which I wrote about as a mixed bag last week. Since writing that, there has transpired one big Google Voice bug fix, an inaccuracy in my assessment pointed out to me, and a second take on Android 4.2
In short form, the first two updates:
Google Voice was fixed in a same-day update. It's still weird to think that Android 4.2 disabled a core Google mobile product for the better part of a day, but that's darned fast response.
I was wrong about how lock screen widgets work if you use a PIN, password, or gesture to lock your phone. That was due in large part to a third-party app I use to unlock my phone, which adds its own rules to the phone's security. You can view your lock screen widgets while still locked, and access the camera, but Google Now still requires unlocking.
As for Android 4.2, I tried to fit my thoughts into a rant, but both a commercial and my misinformation on the lock screen clouded the point. Here's what I was trying to say:
The thing that I like about Android, and which keeps me intrigued with it, is its customizability, and its generally more tweak-friendly nature over its competitors. But I think that customization and settings are not something that software should tout as a feature or an upgrade. That's where I feel 4.2 feels the most awkward and not quite full-tilt progress.
Gmail, on Android, works great from the first time you tap it. You already signed into your Google account during setup. The messages that are in your inbox are right there, and the buttons to interact them are fairly apparent. If you want larger text sizes, a different next action when you deal with an email, or a confirmation before sending a message, you can get them in the settings, which are neatly tucked in the upper right under a three-dot button, suggesting a kind of ellipses: "... and then there is this."