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?

Product Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Review in progress

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus is here, and it’s the biggest and best Samsung phone ever. Its key feature is its looks, as it has an attractive rear design, highlighted by the new Aura Glow color, but little else has changed.

The best Chromebooks for 2019

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…

The best dating apps for 2019

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.

3 to beam up: Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo collaborate on new file transfer feature

Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are working together on a new device-to-device file transfer feature for Android. The unnamed feature will be used instead of Android Beam when it's retired from Android in the near future.

Nokia 7.2 case renders reveal a round triple-lens camera design

According to the latest rumors, we can expect the Nokia 7.2 to be a phone with a large screen over 6 inches and a triple-camera system. Here's all the news and rumors about the Nokia 7.2.

How to use recovery mode to fix your Android phone or tablet

If you’re having a problem you can’t seem to resolve with your Android device, or maybe you want to update it or wipe the cache, recovery mode could be what you’re looking for. Here's how to get your Android phone into recovery mode.

Huawei gets another short reprieve from ban, but the future doesn’t look hopeful

Huawei has been given another 90-day extension to the Temporary General License, which holds off the ban imposed on it by the U.S. government in May, meaning it’s allowed to continue trading with U.S. companies for now.

Miami public transportation is getting Google Pay — and it could save you money

Google and the Miami-Dade Transit public transportation system have announced that the system will now support Google Pay -- meaning you can tap to pay at turnstiles, instead of having to buy a ticket for each ride.

Google was sharing Android user location data with carriers worldwide

Google quietly ended a service providing cell carriers with location data from customers. The service provided user data from Android devices on any carrier. Data was aggregated and anonymous, and carrier names weren't disclosed.

How to perform a reverse image search in Android or iOS

You can quickly use Google to search, and reverse search, images on a PC or laptop, but did you know it's almost as easy to do in Android and iOS? We explain how to do it here, whether you want to use Chrome or a third-party app.

Google Duo is getting a low-light mode to brighten up your video chats

Google Duo is getting a little more useful in low light. Google has announced a new low-light mode for Duo that is aimed at brightening up video in case you're video-chatting at night or in a poorly lit environment.

Amazon swipes 32% off of Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro smartwatches

While it usually sells at $200, Amazon reduced the price of the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro smartwatch by $65. The smaller variant is also discounted by $65, so you can purchase one at Amazon for only $135 instead of $200.

Here are the cities where you can access 5G from major U.S. carriers right now

5G may not be widely available just yet, but it's slowly getting there. Interested in checking out the next-gen network for yourself? Here are all the cities where 5G is currently available.

Trim down and get big savings with Amazon’s 20% sale on the Fitbit Inspire HR

The Fitbit Inspire HR could just be the most affordable fitness tracker Fitbit has to offer priced at $100 but Amazon's 20% sale lets you trim down and get big on savings by making it available for only $80.