With every release of a new version of the Android operating system. The big question on everyone's mind is, "Will my phone get the update?" However, with Android 4.2 the real question you should be asking is, "Does this even affect me?"
If you're using a skinned version of Android and already updated to 4.1 or set receive the update in time, like the HTC Thunderbolt, this update will probably make no difference to you. We've seen before in our Android 4.2 features list, very little of the update will actually affect the apps or UI you still have on your skinned phone.
No matter what phone you're using Nexus or not, unfortunately this feature is for tablets only and we will not see it come to our phones. As Nokia is rumored to have a patent that is keeping this feature away from Android phones.
Gesture Typing on the Keyboard:
For many Nexus users this may be a big deal. However, for many users already using a skinned phone this is normally one of the first thing OEM's take out. However, OEM or not, many third-party keyboards already have this feature.
The New Camera App and Photo Sphere:
Once again if you're using a skinned Android phone, you are probably not even using the stock camera app. We might wish manufacturers would incorporate this into their camera apps but with this using the technology as seen in Street View for Google Maps, it's highly unlikely Google would make this open sourced. Adding yet another barrier to see this on incorporated into manufactures skinned devices.
We are excited to see this feature added is the Nexus devices, but major manufacturers like HTC and Samsung already have this. However, with this feature added to 4.2 at best we might see a standardization in wireless streaming technology for Android. Although this will most likely be another feature OEM's will strip out.
Google Now Enhancements:
If you're already running 4.1 great news you already have the update available to you via the Google Play Store. So 4.2 or not, with Google Now being built into the Google Search App, an OS upgrade is not required to get the new features.
Lock Screen Widgets:
Probably one of my favorite features on 4.2, chances are this will not be incorporated into skinned versions of Android. Unfortunately, with skinned versions of Android they have their own lock screen and they most likely will not incorporated this feature. However, we can still hope in new versions of TouchWiz and HTC Sense it could be added.
Like most updates to Google Play Store you should expect to see this update roll out quietly to your phone regardless of version. This wouldn't be new, as they have updated all Android devices to the Google Play Store from the Android Market without needing OEM updates.
Quick Settings in The Notification Bar:
Most manufactures have already incorporated this somehow in their skinned versions of the Android. Although it might not be as elegance as Google's solution. Most phones today off are already equipped with it and I wouldn't hold my breath to see it integrated.
New Gallery App:
This should go without saying but most manufacturers strip the stock gallery app out of their version of Android. So you should not expect this to change with 4.2.
For most phones 4.2 is merely a performance and maintenance upgrade, as most of the major changes only affect applications normally removed by manufacturers. However, this isn't to say that 4.2 isn't an amazing update for Nexus devices. However, unlike OEM phones from HTC and others, Nexus users rarely wonder if their device will get getting the latest update from Google. For our non-nexus users out there, is a 4.2 upgrade confirmation on your Christmas list? Let us know in the comments below!