Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Android 4.3 release date and features announced

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean has been officially announced alongside the Nexus 7 2 at Google’s San Francisco event.

Android 4.3 has been rumoured for quite a while and although there aren’t many front-end changes, the added back-end features should enable some very interesting experiences on Android handsets – especially if you're an avid gamer or parent.

There are some new Google Edition wallpapers as seen on the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Editions – red seems to be the stock colour for this Jelly Bean update, but it won’t seem new to anyone who has previously seen the leaked Android 4.3 ROM.

Android 4.3 supports Bluetooth Low Energy, plus Bluetooth tethering, although this is already available on stock Android devices like the Nexus 4. You can also scan for Wi-Fi networks when Wi-Fi is turned off, which is a new feature in Android 4.3.

Android 4.3 adds in restricted profiles where you can control access to content at a user level so different family members can access different content and different apps.

The new camera app first popped up on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition and HTC One Google Edition, and now it’s coming as standard on the Android 4.3 update.

It features an updated UI with an arch-shaped menu rather than the circular navigation seen on earlier editions of Android Jelly Bean, making it much easier to control.

Options have also been moved about a little, so those switching to Android 4.3 from Android 4.2 may have to spend some time getting to know where different options are located.

When you take a screenshot using the volume down and power/unlock buttons (or using hand swipe on Samsung Galaxy devices), then opt to share a screenshot, the subject line will automatically be populated with the date and time of the screenshot.

Android 4.3 will be debuted on Google’s range of branded devices from today including the Nexus 7 2, Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 10.1 plus the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC Google Editions.

For developers, Android 4.3 includes the latest performance enhancements to keep your apps fast, smooth, and efficient, together with new APIs and capabilities to use in your apps. Here's a taste of what's new:

  • OpenGL ES 3.0 — Game developers can now take advantage of OpenGL ES 3.0 and EGL extensions as standard features of Android, with access from either framework or native APIs.
  • Bluetooth Smart — Now your apps can communicate with the many types of low-power Bluetooth Smart devices and sensors available today, to provide new features for fitness, medical, location, proximity, and more.
  • New media capabilities — A modular DRM framework enables media application developers to more easily integrate DRM into their own streaming protocols such as MPEG DASH. Apps can also access a built-in VP8 encoder from framework or native APIs for high-quality video capture.
  • Notification access — Your apps can now access and interact with the stream of status bar notifications as they are posted. You can display them in any way you want, including routing them to nearby Bluetooth devices, and you can update and dismiss notifications as needed.
  • Improved profiling tools — New tags in the Systrace tool and on-screen GPU profiling give you new ways to build great performance into your app.