Google has officially announced Android 4.3, and it’s another gradual update to Jelly Bean, but what’s really new about it? We've broken down the 10 biggest new features including the ones that made it into the highlights - the new multi-user system and the fact that with 4.3 Android should run even faster and smoother.
In reality, it’s clear that Android 4.3 is not a huge update from a user perspective. Google has already done the interface polishing with Android 4.0 and its beautiful Holo UI language and Roboto font.
Now, with 4.3 it is focusing on features that developers will appreciate and the ten innovations listed below will be of most interest to devs, not average users. With over 1 million applications in the Google Play store, Android now can finally say that it has the largest app catalog, bigger than Apple and needless to say multiple times bigger than Windows Phone.
Android 4.3 makes it possible for developers to bring really console-grade games with support for Open GL ES 3.0 graphics and many under the hood improvements in the way the system handles visuals. It is adding tons of possibilities for accessory makers with Bluetooth Smart and Low Energy support. It is opening a new realm for those that want to implement location in their apps with hardware geofencing. All of that is right below, with a quick explanation of each new features in Google’s own words, take a look.
Makes Android even faster
Android 4.3 builds on the performance improvements already included in Jelly Bean — vsync timing, triple buffering, reduced touch latency, CPU input boost, andhardware-accelerated 2D rendering — and adds new optimizations that make Android even faster.
Introduces user profiles
Android 4.3 extends the multiuser feature for tablets withrestricted profiles, a new way to manage users and their capabilities on a single device. With restricted profiles, tablet owners can quickly set up separate environments for each user, with the ability to manage finer-grained restrictions in the apps that are available in those environments. Restricted profiles are ideal for friends and family, guest users, kiosks, point-of-sale devices, and more.
Make only certain apps available to your kids
Each restricted profile offers an isolated and secure space with its own local storage, home screens, widgets, and settings. Unlike with users, profiles are created from the tablet owner’s environment, based on the owner’s installed apps and system accounts. The owner controls which installed apps are enabled in the new profile, and access to the owner’s accounts is disabled by default.
Brings a graphics boost
For a graphics performance boost, the hardware-accelerated 2D renderer now optimizes the stream of drawing commands, transforming it into a more efficient GPU format by rearranging and merging draw operations.
OpenGL ES 3.0 for gaming
For highest-performance graphics, Android 4.3 introduces support for OpenGL ES 3.0 and makes it accessible to apps through both framework and native APIs. On supported devices, the hardware accelerated 2D rendering engine takes advantage of OpenGL ES 3.0 to optimize texture management and increase gradient rendering fidelity.
Is Bluetooth Smart Ready
Now you can design and build apps that interact with the latest generation of small, low-power devices and sensors that use Bluetooth Smart technology. Support for Bluetooth Smart Ready is already available on Nexus 7 (2013) and Nexus 4 devices and will be supported in a growing number of Android-compatible devices in the months ahead.
Intros better support for International Users
Android 4.3 includes RTL performance enhancements and broader RTL support across framework UI widgets.
Makes it easier for developers to analyze app performance
Android 4.3 supports an enhanced version of theSystrace tool that’s easier to use and that gives you access to more types of information to profile the performance of your app. You can now collect trace data from hardware modules, kernel functions,Dalvik VM including garbage collection, resources loading, and more.
Apps and accessories can now fully access notifications
Notifications have long been a popular Android feature because they let users see information and updates from across the system, all in one place. Now in Android 4.3, apps can observe the stream of notifications with the user's permission and display the notifications in any way they want, including sending them to nearby devices connected over Bluetooth.
Hardware geofencing optimizes for power efficiency by performing location computation in the device hardware, rather than in software. On devices that support hardware geofencing, Google Play services geofence APIs will be able to take advantage of this optimization to save battery while the device is moving.