Naina KhedekarJul 25, 2013 09:50:27 IST
Google has made official the next version of its tablet and smartphone OS, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. The release confirms rumours that Android 5.0 has been put on hold.
While the refreshed Nexus 7 will be the first device to get 4.3 out of the box, other Nexus devices will be receiving the update OTA over the coming days. So, if you own the Nexus 7, Nexus 4, Nexus 10 or Galaxy Nexus, then the update should be hitting your device soon. Users who are familiar with flashing ROMs can browse through this list for the factory image of Android 4.3. Besides the Nexus devices, the Google Play Store editions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One are also expected to get the new update very soon.
Still on the same dessert
Though there is no announcement about seeding Android 4.3 to manufacturers, we wouldn't be surprised if this has already started. Manufacturers with their own UI layers (for instance, Samsung with TouchWiz) will naturally have to test the latest version before making the requisite changes and sending the update to devices.
While this is no major UI refresh, there are a lot of changes and improvements. Here's a quick look at some of them.
After being stuck in the dark ages for so long, the dialler on stock Android now has auto-complete support using T9 recognition. This has been a feature of all skinned versions of Android for very long, but had been suprisingly missing from the pure version. Welcome to the 21st century, stock Android.
While Android 4.2 Jelly Bean brought multi-user support, the new version brings improvements to the feature. The restricted profiles feature brings granular control to user profiles and the owner of the tablet can select which apps and data will be available to which profiles. In other words, this is parental control for Android tablets. It will allow a parent to choose what their kids can access on the device, and also block in-app purchases and other permissions that may require purchases.
Android 4.3 brings in Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth Smart) so Bluetooth accessories can sync with devices without straining the battery. Low energy Bluetooth sync will help Android devices to stay connect to wearable accessories for longer time. This ties in well with the rumoured smartwatch plans and also for Google Glass. The update also adds support for Bluetooth AVRCP 1.3, which brings advanced control of remote media players from Android devices.
Android 4.3 for Nexus devices
OpenGL ES 3.0 support
The new OpenGL platform will help developers with better graphics rendering. This is the latest version of the platform and one can expect visually-enhanced graphic details. It will bring in better shading and texture-rendering engine with native support for high-quality texture compression. Google also demoed some visual effects and games running on Android 4.3, and from the looks of it, this is the way forward for mobile gaming.
One of the most exciting improvements is the Wi-Fi scan-only mode. So now users won't have to enable Wi-Fi in setting every time an app wants to use it to fix location. Instead, apps can scan for routers without connecting to the Wi-Fi network. This will improve location accuracy and also reduce use of the GPS chip, which will conserve the battery.
Android 4.3 changes how apps access and interact with notifications. Apps can interact with notifications as they are posted and send them to other devices connected via Bluetooth.
Tighter hardware integration
Android 4.3 also brings improvement in the device performance and responsiveness with better triple buffering and reduced touch latency. In addition, CPU input boost means the software is better integrated with the device's processor. There's hardware-accelerated 2D rendering for better visuals.
The modular DRM framework will make it easier to add content controls to media apps and makes it easier for manufacturers to choose which DRM schemes to include, since the new framework supports every scheme. This lets applications manage rights-protected content according to the license constraints that are associated with the content.
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