Install Android 4.2 Gesture-Based Keyboard & Clock App On Jelly Bean 4.1 Or Higher
Is there anything that’s impossible in the Android world? Just days after the announcement of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and the exclusive set of fresh Nexus devices on which the OS is meant to run, a handful of genius fans managed to port the latest JB Camera & Gallery app with Photo Sphere support to ICS-4.1.x Jelly Bean Android devices. Guess what? The stock keyboard app with Gesture Typing, and the totally revamped clock app from Android 4.2 are now out in the wild, too, courtesy of the efforts of XDA memberGnufabio. Both apps are available as separate flashable ZIP files for any rooted device rocking Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or higher (4.1.x). Just like with the camera app, some of the features of the new clock app and keyboard won’t work as desired. However, if you were as excited to try them out as we were, that probably won’t stop you. Past the break, we take a closer look at both apps one by one...
As mentioned earlier, this particular port of the stock keyboard and clock app is meant for rooted Android devices only. If you don’t know much about rooting, view our massive compilation of Android root guidesto get some help.
Provided you already have a rooted device, all you need to do is grab the flashable ZIP files of the apps from the links provided at the end of this post. Next, reboot your device into a custom Android recovery, install both ZIP files one-by-one without wiping anything, reboot the device, and you’re done. As with the camera app, both the keyboard and clock app can co-exist with the existing stock apps, so you don’t need to worry about having your phone backed up via recovery (Nandroid backup) before the flashing process, however, it’s still always safer to do so.
As you may have already learned by now, the latest version of Google’s mobile OS will be supporting a brand new feature called Gesture Typing – the one-motion gesture-based input method that most TouchPal and Swype users (including me) have been enjoying for quite some time now. There are no obvious changes in the layout of the new stock keyboard app, as most of the changes are based around the new feature, Gesture Typing.
For those unaware, any gesture-supported keyboard requires you to glide your finger over the letters forming the required word, all in one move and without lifting the finger. Once you raise the finger, the app automatically determines and inputs the word that you’ve tried to type. A rather neat and relatively new option in Gesture Typing in Android 4.2 is the Dynamic floating preview feature which, if enabled, displays the relative word matches as you glide your finger over different letters on the keyboard, all in real-time.
Ever since the release of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google has looked quite determined to better the stock input app. With the arrival of Gesture Typing in the Android 4.2 keyboard app, it goes without saying that the stock offering is likely to become the primary input choice for many a user, especially those who’re already used to predictive & voice input, automatic word suggestions & correction, custom dictionary management, and now, gesture-controlled typing.
Clock App With Alarm, World Clocks, Stopwatch, Timer & Widget
The title says it all. The stock clock app that comes bundled with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is no longer a frail combo of a simple clock and alarm. Instead, the app has been totally revamped, along with the addition of several support tools, including world clocks, stopwatch, timer and a much polished home screen clock widget. The fresh changes seem to have been borrowed from both iOS and Samsung’s TouchWiz, that have been offering almost the same set of goodies for quite a while now.
The new app lets you add multiple world clocks to its main UI, and has the capacity to automatically determine the default regional clock based on your current location. In addition, it lets you toggle between the digital and analog mode, customize alarm, snooze & silencer settings, and activate the night mode. Since the alarm app frequently crashes, so we’re not entirely sure about the changes incorporated within that particular aspect of the clock app (if any).
Update: The alarm clock, too, has been totally revamped; however, the basic functionality of the app remains more or less the same. If the clock/alarm clock app keeps force closing frequently, follow these steps to fix the issue:
1. Navigate to /system/app using a root-level file explorer
2. Delete/Move the DeskClock.apk
3. Rename the DeskClockDigital.apk to DeskClock.apk
4. Reboot the device and enjoy!
The stopwatch is supplemented with a lap counter, and lets you natively share progress/results with your mates. The timer, on the other hand, is relatively simple in terms of both design and usage. All you get with this feature is the option to specify the timer label and duration, with additional options to further increment the timer by 1 minute, and trigger another timer in addition to the existing one.
Both apps have successfully been flashed and tested on Galaxy Nexus (running Android 4.1.1). Besides the faulty alarm app, the other thing that doesn’t work properly is the stopwatch’s notification panel widget (scaling issues only).