One of Android’s major strengths is that it allows the user to choose their own application to replace system defaults, everywhere from the dialer to the camera. In Android 4.0 and below, this was accomplished fairly easily, with a simple dialogue which allowed the user to tap on an app to use it once, and a checkbox to choose a different default. However, in Android 4.1, Google changed to a new system which required two taps, much to the dismay of some default-hopping users.
Although the new interface only added one tap to the action, it made the entire process less smooth and just a touch more annoying. Yes, the new interface elements looked good from a styling point of view, but even I noticed the slight annoyance caused by the new app picker, which was akin to “a grain of sand in [my] shoe that undermines the rest of the experience,” to use Matias Duarte’s words. Fortunately, the issue has been rectified in Android 4.2, as you can see in the video above. The solution is simple: In order to bypass the two option selector at the bottom of the dialogue, the user needs only to quickly double tap the needed app in order to use it “just once.”
While the implemented solution and problem were both minor and fairly simple, the fix is certainly nice to have. It will eliminate one of the few “grains of sand” left in my Android experience, and make the Android experience that much better. Plus, the fact that Google was able to address such a small issue so quickly is a testament to how far Android has come. Just a year or two ago, a complaint like this one would have been at the bottom of a long list of things to change. Now, it is fixed almost immediately, and I think that actually speaks a lot to how far Android has come, and where Google wants to be with the OS.