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Google issues Android 4.2.1 update, December apocalypse is back on!

2012 plane escape

We love Android 4.2. It’s fast and sleek, and we’ve never tried to add a December birthday to one of our contacts. If we had more friends (with December birthdays), we might care more about this update. So for Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 users, however many of you there may be, Google is pushing out an over-the-air update today to fix the missing December issue and other small bugs, reports TalkAndroid

2012 John CusackIn addition to adding December back to your phone, Android 4.2.1 (Jelly Bean) should improve battery life, stability (less crashes), and fix other minor issues. We don’t precisely know what’s being fixed because Google appears too shy to share, but since the update is only about 1MB large, we assume this is mostly targeted at December babies. Your birthdays have always had to compete with Christmas, but at least you know Google cares.

Well, except for the Mayans. With December back on the calendar, the end of the world is back on track, which means any of you with a birthday after December 21, 2012 had better start celebrating before the power goes out and we’re all stuck flying through the ruins of society with John Cusack.

Problems we hope this fixes before the end of the world

In the last days of our Earthly existences, we do hope that this update will fix some nagging issues with our Nexus devices. In the first weeks that Android 4.2 Jelly Bean was made available, users have reported a wide number of bugs. Some, such as the folks over at Android Police, have even referred to Android 4.2 as “one of the most bug-ridden releases since Honeycomb.” Below is a list of the glitches we’ve identified with the next-generation of Jelly Bean. Hopefully all of these issues will be gone after today’s update, and we can have a good 23 days of smooth phoning before we all drown in the impending apocalypse.

  • Android 4.2 December bug (Nexus 10)December Bug:  See above. Android 4.2 completely bypasses the month of December in its People app on all Nexus devices. The People app’s calendar goes directly from November 2012 to January 2013, missing the last month of the year.
  • Dysfunctional Bluetooth: Bluetooth capabilities on devices such as the Nexus 10, Nexus 7, and Galaxy Nexus have choppy audio and insecure connections. Bluetooth often loses its connectivity on these devices, and third party apps that create a Bluetooth connection with other non-Android gadgets become completely dysfunctional. The Nexus 4 is the only device running on Android 4.2 that does not experience this problem.
  • Poor battery performance: After updating to Android 4.2, services from Google Play can eat away at battery life immensely. This affects the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7, and Nexus 4. The Nexus 7, however, also has its own exclusive battery issue; After updating to Android 4.1, Google’s 7-inch tablet tends to charge very slowly in certain circumstances, as some users in the XDA developers forum have acknowledged.
  • Auto-brightness bugs: The auto-brightness function on Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 devices has acted flaky since the upgrade, according to some users. For example, the Nexus 7’s glitch causes the screen to flicker when you turn on auto-brightness. Although this issue was present in previous builds, Android Police says that it got worse after the 4.2 update. The auto-brightness on Android 4.2 also randomly adjusts without any changes in ambient light.
  • Random reboots: Devices are randomly rebooting after updating to Android 4.2. This bug affects the Nexus 10, Nexus 7, Nexus 4, and Galaxy Nexus – and has occurred while performing tasks and remaining idle. Some Nexus 10 users report suffering from random reboots multiple times each day. Interestingly enough, HTC’s Windows Phone 8X also suffers from the same issue.
  • Slow and unstable UI: The user interface, which Google boasted to be “buttery smooth,” appears to have taken a turn in the complete opposite direction with the update. Some devices upgraded from Android 4.1.2, (i.e. the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7) are slow and sluggish while opening apps and navigating through the user interface. A factory reset may remedy some of these concerns, but a laggy UI isn’t the only issue. Some Galaxy Nexus owners have said that their screen will light up without any interaction, much like an iPhone when it gets a notification.
  • Lockscreen widgets and camera apps: The lockscreen widgets for certain behave strangely for select users. In one instance, lockscreen controls for Google Music completely disappeared once a third party music app launched. If you try to launch a third party music app, pause it, and then re-open Google Music, the controls for Google Music will not appear until you reboot the device. As for the camera app, reports have stated that it could take up to three seconds to switch between portrait and landscape modes.

It is important to keep in mind that while these glitches seem to affect at least some users on every Nexus device, that does not mean that your smartphone or tablet will suffer from each and every bug. But again, it probably won’t matter soon. 

Additional bug reporting by Lisa Eadicicco