android-jellybean-sized

Here’s What’s New In Android 4.3; It’s A Pretty Long List For Such A Minor Update

July 25, 2013 - Written By Leonardo Benveniste

We all knew that Android 4.3 was coming, and now that it’s here the update seems to be rather small one, and on the surface it is, there are almost no changes that affect directly to the user but, most of the work is under the hood. In fact, you could say that Android 4.3 is a developer oriented update, but as we all know, whatever Google gives to developers, the developers give back to the users, so we all win one way or another.

This latest update does bring changes and while the number is small, there are more changes than you might think so we’re going to go over them for you so you know exactly what’s changed or been added.

For starters, the interface is exactly the same, there are no changes to the design, so this list is a rather technical one:

  • Restricted Profiles: This allows you to restrict what another user sees, even inside apps. It seems like a feature mostly oriented to parents as a parental control for their kids. Google did mention this would be handy for using in kiosk mode.

nexus-7-restricted-profiles

  • Bluetooth LE: Bluetooth Low Energy is an improvement over traditional Bluetooth connections that uses less power and is more reliable, this allows the device to connect to accessories like heart monitors and other fitness tracking sensors.

jb-btle

  • Bluetooth AVRCP: With added support for version 1.3 it allows for functions like the displaying the name of the song you’re listening in your phone in your car stereo display.
  • OpenGL ES 3.0.: With support for version 3.0 apps will be able to take advantage of the improvements for better graphics, better rendering and better frame rate. Basically, our games are about to get much better.

opengl-nexus7

  • DRM APIs: By introducing APIs for DRM on the device, apps like Netflix will be able to stream you 1080p content that they couldn’t do before.
  • Wi-Fi for location: When apps try to use location, Android typically uses the GPS, with this mode, when apps need coarse location, Android uses the WiFi, even if it’s off. This should help things faster and be less battery heavy.
  • Autocomplete for the Dialer: Finally the dialer got the T9 auto-complete that’s been featured in almost every other dialer. Now you can just use the numbers to search for a contact.

smart-dialer-animated_v2

  • Notification list: Apps can now access all of your notifications, so apps like Light Flow or Tasker, which depend on them, don’t have to hack their way through Accessibility like they used to.
  • Switching users in the lockscreen is now faster than before.
  • Google worked with Fraunhofer to create a “virtual surround sound experience” on devices with compatible hardware.
  • Improved performance in the shape of lower latency for third-party gamepads and joysticks.
  • You can now view and manage all the apps you’ve disabled in a new tab in the system settings.
  • Photo Frame Daydream screensaver has been improved and now you can navigate through your albums.
  • The initial setup has been simplified, as if it wasn’t simple enough before.
  • Apps can now tap into the Quick Response feature, so when you reject a call with a text message, you can handle that with any messaging app instead of the stock Messaging.

More things will show up, but for what seemed a pretty small update, the list is pretty impressive and as we said before, it’s mostly under the hood, but more features and better performance are always welcome. We can all start thinking in the next iteration of Android, most likely Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, if that turns out to be the final name. What do you think? More features and improvements or a redesign to fit the new Google aesthetic?