Jellybean 4.2 First Impressions

I don’t usually rant about products or apps. But when it comes to the core OS of Android, Google needs to be sure they are doing things right. We are well beyond that scrappy startup phase now. All of that being said, I will say that I loved Jellybean 4.1.2 as an OS. It was clean, stable and fast. The UI looked great and the improvements that Google had made were noticeable. Since upgrading to 4.2 I have been somewhat disappointed by the changes. The UI is still similar to the previous versions but the changes to some of the core apps has tainted the experience for me.

The changes to the clock and camera apps are the most bothersome. Google has changed the camera app by removing the text and putting this strange circle interface in. I liked the old look better and I am one who loves change. But change for the sake of changing something is not good. That is the way the app feels. The options are now a circle icon. Clicking that gives you 5 options. This seems more cumbersome than the older interface. Before, they were right there. More clicks when all I want to do is get to the items I need.

There is also the new sphere option of taking pictures in the 4.2 version. I have tried it and I see others posting sphere pictures. They are not great. I hope this will be improved but right now they are terrible. They are disjointed and awkward looking. This isn’t a one-up move on Apple at all. They will surely copy this and probably nail it. Don’t release apps that are half baked. Make this idiot proof and then release it. Apple shines when it comes to taking photos and releasing a poor quality app like this shows it. Android is better than this.

The clock app is my other app that I have several issues with. They “improved” it by adding other timers and clocks into the app. I just want an alarm clock app. The old one was fine and it was efficient. Ok, adding a stop watch and timer is nice. But they have made using the alarm clock portion of the app a several step process. It once was easy to get into your alarms and set them. Now I go into the clock app, click on the clock icon at the bottom (again, no text) and then set the alarms. Night mode requires that I go back to the main clock screen and click the options, then select night mode. All of the free real estate on the screen and other options, they couldn’t add this in without having to go to the settings?

I hope that these apps will be improved soon. They are apps that most of us rely on and they need to be right. Having them work so awkwardly goes against the progress Android has been making recently. We need them to innovate and improve the OS and apps but not at the sake of efficiency.

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