Android 4.2 rumors: Project Roadrunner, improved Nexus program, customization center, and more

Google Android LogoAccording to Android and Me, taking information from a trusted source (the same individual that shared info on the LG Nexus), Android 4.2 is going to include a large number of changes. The most exciting rumored improvements are a new Customization Center, revamped Nexus program, and battery-saving Project Roadrunner. We already know what to expect from the next Nexus device, but until now Android 4.2 rumors have been a scarce commodity. 

Customization Center

The alleged new Customization Center provides a central place where users can change languages, backgrounds, launchers, ringtones, etc. The options can be expanded via Google Play as well, but this announcement alone is nothing more than a convenience for users who frequently play with these settings. However, there are two unique features rumored to be included: filters that modify the entire look of the UI and templates that change the appearance of all icons.

But the truly drool-worthy feature is the ability to switch from custom skins like TouchWiz and Sense into stock Android through the Customization Center. If the manufacturer doesn’t provide a compatible version of its modified UI then the device defaults to stock Android. To make it crystal clear, we will no longer have to wait on manufacturers to upgrade to the latest version of Android.

Nexus Program

The new Nexus program has Google dictating certain hardware requirements for devices wishing to be Nexus-certified. The devices won’t need to carry the Nexus title in their name, rather it will be a stamp of approval from Google. The rumored requirements will force new smartphones to ship with stock Android and pack sufficient power to run mobile games made specifically for the Nexus brand. In addition, each Google-approved device will need to support Google Wallet through built-in NFC.

The new program will certainly offer incentive for Android-focused companies like HTC and Samsung. Besides the prestige that comes along with the Nexus brand, the devices will feature a new media streaming service offered via Google Play and access to games that will only function on Nexus products. There are no details on the streaming service yet.

Project Roadrunner and Minor Improvements

The successor to Project Butter, Roadrunner will focus on improving battery life but not much else is known about it. Updates to Google Play are being teased with new features like integration with the notification center, extra billing options, easier in-app purchases, and personalization. Google Now is rumored to bring basic OS function control and the stock video player will supposedly see a major redesign and allow 3rd party services to tie into it.

The sheer number of improvements and changes seems to be a lot for an incremental update (from 4.1 to 4.2) so we wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up being version 5.0, but we’re not ruling anything out. The Nexus program is particularly exciting as Android has always been most compelling in its classic trappings. 

What do you think of the rumored upgrades? Would you add anything else to Google’s mobile baby?

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