Android 4.2 is a 'new flavor of Jelly Bean.' Tastes overcooked to me.

Customization chores bother me about Android 4.2, and make it feel less like an upgrade.

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Android 4.2 has a lock screen that seems to constantly ask you to configure it. When you power on your screen after it was sleeping, you see a glimpse of two brackets on the sides of the screen. They're calling to you to add lock screen widgets on the left, and check out the no-unlock-needed camera on the right. There are only a few built-in widgets for the lock screen, and if you aren't so attached to your calendar and email as to regularly check them at a glance on your phone, the widgets in general aren't of that much use. Meanwhile, you see those brackets every single time you power on your phone.

The same goes for the twin shades that you can pull down from the top of the screen in Android 4.2. Android's notifications shade is one of the phone system's greatest features, and Apple's attempt to implement its own version has shown how uniquely useful the at-a-glance, easily dismissed, interactive notifications of many Android apps can be. In every version of Android before 4.2, you could pull down from anywhere near the top of the screen to see some or all of your notifications, depending on how far you pulled. In Android 4.2, on tablets like the Nexus 7 or 10, pulling from the top-left (and, usually, the dead center) brings down the notifications shade, but pulling from the top-right brings down a quick-settings toggle.

This feels like the concentrated essence of Android's tendency toward over-complicated customization: taking a well-liked UI feature, bifurcating it into something less casual and instinctive, and doing so to offer a whole bunch of settings toggles and shortcuts. Every so often, I expect to see some quick details about, say, the Facebook message I just received, but instead see proof that my screen is locked and my screen brightness is set to automatic sensitivity. That's a small thing that adds up to some tiring mental weight over time.

Does that make sense? Is it still apparent that I love Android, quite a lot, but can't pretend that adding more jobs for the user is what constitutes an upgrade?

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