The much expected Android 4.3 update to the Android mobile operating system which has been leaked several times in the past few days has finally been officially announced at a Google event in San Francisco few hours ago. The new Nexus 7 or the 2nd generation Nexus 7 tablet which is shipping on July 30th will be the first device to ship with Android 4.3 out of the box. The main highlights of this Android update are Restricted Profiles , Bluetooth 4.0 low energy support , OpenGL ES 3.0 support and addition of several APIs for developers. The big change you would notice is the auto complete feature in the dialer and support for Hindi
Android 4.3 is not a huge jump from 4.2 in terms of features and you can’t tell until you go into the settings and look up the software version.
Restricted Profiles looks like a very useful feature if a single device like a tablet is being used by multiple users especially kids. You can have multiple users and lock down apps which are not supposed to be used by others. For instance , I frequently get asked for my phone from friends and people I meet. I would use this feature to put the phone into a guest mode and not worry about them glancing at my personal data.
iOS has had something similar to this known as Guided Access but the functionality offered by Restricted Profiles seems a lot more sophisticated.
If you have a kid and don’t want them to browse the web on your phone or load Youtube videos and inflate your bill , you can remove those apps from the kids login.
Bluetooth Low Energy / Bluetooth Smart
Support for Bluetooth Low Energy has been activated on the Nexus 4 in the Android 4.3 update which means that you can stay connected to devices like the Pebble Watch , Fitbit etc. all day long over Bluetooth without having to sacrifice battery life. It will be only supported on the new Nexus 7 and the Nexus 4
OpenGL ES 3.0
Support for OpenGL ES 3.0 means a lot to developers especially game developers . For you the consumer , you can expect to see some nice games which would harness the power of OpenGL ES 3.0 for Android 4.3 devices in the next few months.
Faster and Smoother,
Android 4.3 is also expected to be a lot faster in terms of operation and benchmarks due to the changes under the hood but we should have something to report once we have it on one of our devices.
Like always , Google Nexus devices including the Nexus 4 , Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be getting this update first and it will be pushed out OTA(Over The Air) starting today. The Google Play edition devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One won’t be getting this update along with the other Nexus devices but will be getting them soon.
If you own any of the Nexus devices above make sure to check for software updates to grab the update. Just checked on my Nexus 4 and it is not there yet ! May be soon.