Last Updated: December 28th, 2012

We're back with yet another edition of our Android 4.2 teardown! We previously showed you the new Gmail, the Quick Settings prototype, and all sorts of security features. Today we're looking at some seriously fun stuff, including a sneak peek at the new Gallery design.

Pending some kind of breakthrough, we'll probably end this series at an even trilogy. There isn't much more to cover after this. And remember, this is a Teardown, not a list of confirmed 4.2 features. None of this is guaranteed to ship in 4.2 and I'm certainly not claiming it will.

The New Gallery

Update: HOLD EVERYTHING. It turns out Google didn't make these new icons - these are placeholders too. The Camera icon is from a set called Aelous HD and the Gallery picture was found here. I guess this means they'll replace them with something they've made later? Thanks to Amon Ra for spotting this!


One thing I have actually gotten to work is the GalleryCamera APK. It has new icons! The left is 4.1; the right is the new set. I always thought the old Camera and Gallery icons were weird. The old camera icon was the 8th-shortest in my UX complaint post, so it's good to see it die. The new Camera icon is much closer in vertical size to everything else. The old Gallery icon never made any sense, so I'm glad it's gone, too.

Combine these with the new calendar icon and the removal of the Latitude shortcut and it sounds like someone over at Android HQ is on icon cleanup duty.

wm_2012-10-12 00.01.26wm_2012-10-12 00.02.01wm_2012-10-12 01.16.34

The Gallery is getting a reskin! It's still a rough work in progress, but we can at least see what direction they're going in. Albums have a polaroid-style bottom white label (which matches the new icon!) and the background is a light-gray color. Everything else about the Gallery is exactly the same. And when I say exactly the same I mean exactly the same. You can't delete Picasa/G+ photos, there are no new editing options, you still can't rotate with a gesture, and Instant Upload Albums are still capped at 500. In its defense, it isn't anywhere near finished - in fact, they haven't even incremented the version number. 1.1.40000 is the same as the Jelly Bean version. It's promising that they're looking at it.

Information density has taken a huge nose dive on the album screens, in ICS and JB it would display about 9 albums per screen, now it displays 2 full thumbnails and 2 cut off thumbnails. I'm not sure I like it. If you have a lot of albums, this will suck.

The header looks pretty ugly, and that's because it's the same semi-transparent background as the current Gallery. I think this it's pretty clear what direction they're going in. When this is done, I bet it will look just like the Google+ photo design. Check this out:

wm_2012-10-12-23.04wm_2012-10-18 15.04.58wm_2012-10-12 23.25.30

The left picture is the Jelly Bean Gallery, the middle is the work-in-progress 4.2 Gallery, and the right is the Google+ Gallery. That must be what they're aiming for.

This gets major points for consistency. The two main photo apps will look the same, and this design matches core apps, like Gmail and Calendar, very well. There is so much overlap with the Gallery and Google+ I'm starting to wonder why they bother to have separate apps.

The Camera app, by the way, is completely unchanged.

Multiple User Accounts

Multiple user accounts have been a well-covered subject here at AP and, given all the stuff I'm finding, it wouldn't surprise me to see them land in Android 4.2. If it's not in Android 4.2, it's certainly very close. There are just so many new things that have to do with access across user accounts.

For starters, some apps have new permissions for dealing with different users. Here are the descriptions of every new permission in the framework-res string file:

<string name="permlab_interactAcrossUsers">interact across users</string>
<string name="permdesc_interactAcrossUsers">Allows the app to perform actions across different users on the device. Malicious apps may use this to violate the protection between users.</string>
<string name="permlab_interactAcrossUsersFull">full license to interact across users</string>
<string name="permdesc_interactAcrossUsersFull">Allows all possible interactions across users.</string>
<string name="permlab_manageUsers">manage users</string>
<string name="permdesc_manageUsers">Allows apps to manage users on the device, including query, creation and deletion.</string>

In this dump, Phone, Settings, and SystemUI all have some multi-user permissions. Settings obviously needs it to manage users, SystemUI would need it to allow you to switch users, and Phone, well, I guess the phone will still ring when someone else is logged in.

The other really interesting addition is a full set of user account options in the settings APK.

<string name="user_settings_title">Users</string>
<string name="user_list_title">Users</string>
<string name="user_add_user_menu">Add user</string>
<string name="user_details_title">Edit details</string>
<string name="user_information_heading">User information</string>
<string name="user_name_title">Name</string>
<string name="user_discard_user_menu">Discard</string>
<string name="user_remove_user_menu">Remove user</string>
<string name="user_new_user_name">Pesky kid</string>
<string name="user_confirm_remove_title">Remove user?</string>
<string name="user_confirm_remove_message">Are you sure you want to remove the user and all associated data from the device?</string>
<string name="user_picture_title">Photo ID</string>

The section will simply be called "Users" and have all the expected stuff. You'll be able to add and delete users, and everyone will have a user name and a Photo ID. The only thing I haven't found yet is a way to switch users. There needs to be some kind of lock screen interface for that.

<string name="user_system_apps_heading">System apps</string>
<string name="user_market_apps_heading">Installed apps</string>

The Play Store will also keep track of installed apps for each user, so Billy doesn't have to see his little sister's "Barbie Horse Adventure" game in his apps list.

Per-Account Parental Controls

It looks like the multi user feature will also include parental controls!

<string name="user_restrictions_heading">Content restrictions</string>
<string name="user_market_requires_pin">Require PIN</string>
<string name="user_max_content_rating">Content rating</string>

Yep, this is one of the cool bonuses of multiple user accounts; you can have accounts with reduced privileges. For starters, you'll be able to lock down Play Store purchasing with a PIN number on a per-account basis, and limit account downloads by content rating. You've been able to do this across the device for a while now, but it'll be much handier to have on a per-account basis.

Final Words

I'm pretty sure there's nothing left to cover in this system dump. We've run into a few other tidbits during our digging, like a Google Music app with a version number bump and no new features, and a few live wallpapers that don't work, but we really can't get much more information about them. Our build is over a month old, which in, Android Development Years, makes it an old man. Plus, with software development, progress is usually much more visible closer to release time.  This gave us a little peek at what Google's working on, but I'm not convinced it's the full picture. I guess we'll just have to wait until October 29th.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • aNYthing6

    I may be the only one, but I think the old icons look better. I also hope they use the same calender icon because the new one (in Google Play) is ugly.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Yeah, I don't like where Google is heading with this new icon style. It's "funner" and more happy/mainstream I guess, but it doesn't look at clean and minimal as ICS/JB =/

      • Tom Burke

        "Funner" does not describe these icons at all. They're just flat out ugly :P

        • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

          Okay, cartoony and ugly.... and cartoons are "fun." O_o

      • http://mitchs.co Mitch Samuels

        What are you doing here O_o

        • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

          I.... got lost? :/

          • mikeym0p

            I love to see you chime in on other's blog posts.

          • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez


      • Ben

        More like "iOS-ish" icons.
        I noticed that Nexus line and Android is becoming more and more like iOS.

        • http://www.facebook.com/vivecuervo7 Isaac Dedini

          Not necessarily a bad thing - iOS does have a pretty attractive interface - it obviously appeals to many people (myself not included), and for those that don't like it, Android is customizable. But going iOS-ish could potentially pull a lot of customers from the Apple camp that feel daunted by the difference in appearance.

          • smor

            like a brothe'
            from anothe' mothe'

    • Khalid

      I preferred the old/current Camera and Calendar icons. I'm not so sure about the Gallery. Though I do absolutely prefer the old Calendar icon, it didn't look like a calendar. That makes it harder to quickly find in the Play Store, which is an issue. I would've liked if they made it look like a calendar icon, but kept the old colour scheme.

      • http://www.facebook.com/krisrk Kris Kenny

        I agree about the Calendar icon, I never loved it. But when it changed colors, it messed me up... I was at a doctors Thursday and I literally scrolled passed the icon a few times because it went from green to blue and I became so use to automatically finding it, that I struggled for a minute.

    • Sven Enterlein

      Camera looks a lot like instagram, doesn't it?

    • RedPandaAlex

      I'm not a fan of the camera icon. Looks very iOS. I think the gallery is much better. I always have a hard time finding the gallery because the icon doesn't represent it at all in my mind

    • MrJigolo

      No way. I think the new ones look way better. Google is finally adding some color to Android. It's finally not all blue or for those icons sake, all purple.

      I hope that sooner rather Google begins to use the colors in Google Now and implement them into the whole OS. Consistency.

    • Guest

      I really hope they're not using those 'new icons'. They don't match the Android Guidelines for icons. Besides, they're ugly!

    • mikeym0p

      I agree, while I like both Camera icons. The old gallery icon I will miss, it's a picture frame Ron, which plays well into the 'Gallery' name. I also lament the slow removal of the classic Android Green throughout the UI and was upset to see an ICS blue calendar icon on the Market.
      The white background on the gallery fits perfect with the LCD screen on the new Nexus. I wish Google would give preference to dark backgrounds on OLED screens and white on LCD.

  • http://twitter.com/GitMuny Ciroc Obama

    Why the hell would they make it white/grey? That really matches the rest of the system...

  • http://twitter.com/FQdeB Felix de Boer

    iOS camera icon?

  • http://wakoopa.com/yo2boy yo2boy

    Please tell me this isn't the last teardown article!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      The last 4.2 one, yes.

      • John Afeman

        Since when has iOS looked attractive? From one iPhone to the next it looks cluttered. And iOS looking a lot more android. Did anybodyread apple's later io6 feature list?

    • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

      Last teardown article for 4.2, but not ever! :D

      Love me a Ron Amadeo apk teardown!

  • Mathieu

    This "new" Gallery app looks weird... why using a light theme for a Gallery? No one does that!

    • Tommy Thompson

      iOS Gallery is white. But like they said it helps match the core apps.

  • Ezhik

    I really doubt that they will use that as the camera icon.

    • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

      Well, the new Gallery app seems based on Polaroid stuff, so I think they will.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      To be clear, the icon picture is of it running, right now, on my phone. So unless they redesign the icon again, it's happening.

      • Ezhik

        I just feel like it's too... iPhon-ish.

  • lbrfabio

    I'm hating that more apps are changing into a holo light themed app.
    I'm not sure a light theme it would be good for a gallery app.

    Well, I guess it's not by chance that as soon as they ditch Amoled screens (starting with the Nexus 7) Android is getting a whiter color scheme everywhere

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Yeah, black is on the way out. I suspect Google Music will be next.

      I think the theme they're going for is dark system stuff (system bar, notification bar and panel, app drawer, settings, etc) and light apps.

      • bloomtronzero

        I like the white. Looks friendlier, more natural. The black looks a bit cyberpunky, if not dorky.

        What I'd really like is an option, like a switch between light and dark, but for now I think light fits in better with Google's general aesthetic outside of Android.

        I'm likely to change my mind about dark if dark ends up looking more like Jellybean's note drawer. It's pretty.

        • mrsbelpit

          I really like the white, too. The stock messaging app is a great example of it. Also, when you send/receive mms, it's got the polaroid look, so maybe they're going for this consistency in the gallery app?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

          I totally agree about black being dorky. Most black themes give me the angsty-teenager vibe. Every piece of commercial software is lightly colored for a reason. It's usually much more grown up looking.

      • Jens Knutson

        I *really* hope you're wrong about Music. I'm not happy with the "whitening" of Android in the post ICS world, but I can usually deal. Holo Light for Google Music will be a step too far for me though. It won't stop me from using it, but I went be nearly as enthusiastic as I am about it these days. :-

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

          Well Music is probably the last black Google app, isn't it? It only makes sense.

          I think anyone looking for a dark os either needs to either get really into theming, or look elsewhere. Android is lightly colored now.

          • Jens Knutson

            Google Earth, and Play Movies, Music, and Magazines are all still dark. I wouldn't actually want the whole OS to be dark either though. Text driven apps like Gmail or Google Voice would be awful with dark themes. I just don't want everything to turn into a bland, homogeneous, white and grey pile of Boring(TM).

            Funny though, suggesting that one 'look elsewhere' for a mobile platform that doesn't use an overwhelmingly light theme. Windows Phone isn't overwhelmingly white, but it's not really dark either, and it's the only other relevant mobile platform. I guess I'll have to just keep my fingers crossed and enjoy it while it lasts.

  • Anotherworld

    Maybe the white background on Gallery would match Google+?

  • Thomas’

    Yet another article which shows that you're the only real Android news source, without being fanboy'ish, while most of the other sites are just copying articles.

    Thumb up. ^=

  • Aaron Berlin

    It would make sense to launch profile support at the same time as a new premium 10 inch tablet, wouldn't it?

  • Khanh

    Can you release the apk like you did with gmail please?!?!

    • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

      they already did

  • android_fan

    Give 4.2 to nexus S users too and i can live with new icons and gallery and callendar...lol!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/cabbieBot cabbieBot

    What did it take to get the gallery working? I presume the reasoning ya'll aren't hosting the .apk is that even though the gallery is distributed AOSP (unlike gmail which is a proprietary gapp) that wouldn't matter apache license wise until Google themselves distributes it.

  • http://twitter.com/Amon_RA Bart

    I'm calling it all FAKE...

    I highly doubt that Google would use icons which are licensed by PSDGraphics (Gallery) or created by someone on deviantart :
    1. Gallery : http://www.freepik.com/free-psd/psd-photo-gallery-icon_567661.htm2. Camera icon : http://www.iconspedia.com/icon/camera-android-icon-22462.html -> http://raadius.deviantart.com/gallery/?catpath=/&offset=24#/d3bnsc6

    • aNYthing6

      Whoa, wtf? Someone want to explain?

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

        Placeholder graphics. See update.

        • PhilNelwyn

          I noticed that they changed the icon of the Calendar Android app to approximately match the icon of the web service, as seen in the menu of the new version of Google's mobile site (if it's not clear, I'm talking about the menu in the image below).
          And in this menu, the icons for "Images" and "Photos" look like the placeholder graphics shown here...

  • http://twitter.com/JLitwinka Jonathan Litwinka

    Still no deleting of picasa? Kind of a let down

  • Evan

    I'm going to guess that the multi-user settings are more geared for the tablets than phones.

    My main gripe with all tablets (no one counts the old windows tablets) are that they are begging for multi-user setups. It makes so much more sense for a larger form-factor consumption device to be shared in a household, and the ability to have your own part of that device would help tablets sell.

    Phones are still personal devices, and unless people will have a "work" and "personal" user accounts I can't see anyone setting up multiple people for one phone. Tablets though...

  • http://kawangeek.com/ EddyGeek

    Sir, at least share the icon '.png' for us here :D

  • Gav456

    That gallery icon is the same as my screenshot notification bar icon running cmX by Bruce2728 in jb 4.1.2 with cobalt theme

  • Paul Faraday

    I've been using that gallery icon for a few months. Thought it was strange when I saw the headline.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Really? Got any screenshots? What is it part of?

      • Paul Faraday

        Only just noticed this reply. Google picture search gallery icons and it's there.

  • redragn5

    Another awesome teardown, though I was wondering if you say any indications that 4.2 might include an update to the native messaging app that allows it to properly handle group texts?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Nope, but this is a pretty old build.

  • http://twitter.com/TheGermian Roberto Giunta

    And I still think that camera icon looks like a washing machine.

    • Damon

      This can't be unseen -_-

  • Jeffrey Smith

    As I've mentioned before, the latest version of Google Play Store (3.9.16) is already using a couple of the multi-user permissions (android.permission.MANAGE_USERS and android.permission.INTERACT_ACROSS_USERS).

  • Jeffrey Smith

    I almost spit when I read this line: Pesky kid
    Maybe it's not that funny, but it caught me off guard.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      lol. Yeah, Google hides a few easter eggs like that in their code. If the news ever slows down, one of my plans is to do a roundup of all that stuff. (don't ask for ETAs, etc)

  • Matthew

    The old camera widget looks fine but I definitely would prefer a better looking gallery widget.

  • http://www.dsaif.tk/ Saif


  • http://twitter.com/MrYuzhai *Certified_geek™

    love the new icons! for those of you slightly troubled by them.. don't sweat it.. i'm sure you'll come to love them in time when they're sitting lovely on your android 4.2 home screen!

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    i knew those icons weren't real... Google wouldn't fuck android this badly

  • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

    The new gallery looks awesome.

  • http://www.benvanhouts.com Benjamin van Houts

    so not liking the icons!

  • Freak4Dell

    I'm glad these are potentially not the final icons. The Gallery one is okay, but the Camera one is beyond ugly, and looks like it could have been ripped straight out of iOS. The old Camera icon was much better.

  • The Rainbow Unicorn Man

    Wow. That really is awful. I really hope this is nowhere near finished, because that gallery app looks terrible. Since when did action bars have gradients? I'm glad those icons aren't final. But the multi-user stuff is cool. I hope it comes out in 4.2, even if it's only on tablets.

    • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

      Is reading too hard?

  • Tito

    There's actually a way to delete Picasa photos.

    All you have to do is remove your Google account, clear the Gallery app cache.
    Add your Google account again, but quick! Make sure Google photos aren't syncing.

    Ta DA!

  • DeadSOL

    Ron, we love you! :D

  • setspeed

    I'm glad those icons are just placeholders because they look rubbish. The camera one especially is total sh*t.

  • Ricardo Durand

    Hey guys anyone find out about the Google plus app. I really want them to merge it with g+ app. I want mms on tall

  • http://www.facebook.com/cameron.schluchtner Cameron John Schluchtner

    i like the new gallery why isnt the dump posted anywhere i want that apk :p

  • Taher

    Thank hell those were placeholders. That new 'Gallery' icon is so non-nexusy.

  • HoloApps

    The Camera Icon Looks Like The iPhone Icon

  • dobvlr

    Meh... not impressive.
    They should do better than that.
    I think OS update should have at least one year term
    I don't know any merit of very frequent OS update.

  • Robert Staubmann

    Did you find something about miracast in the new updates?