Google finally made the latest version of its mobile operating system Android 4.3 Jelly Bean official. While the update isn’t a major one, it brings a whole lot of new features which will be welcomed by most Android developers.
Restricted profiles: Tablet owners can now create restricted profiles to limit access to apps and also the content in each app. You can also hide the purchasing power from a particular user. Parents are going to love this!
More Native Language Support: Google announced that more languages will be supported natively in Android 4.3 including Hindi. Sometime back Google had released a Google Hindi Input Keyboard in the Play Store for all devices running Android 2.2 and upwards. It is great to see Hindi being supported system wide now in the stock ROM. Hindi input has been included by default in Android since version 4.1. This will bring Hindi to other part of the operating system like menus etc. Other new languages include Hebrew, Arabic, Swahili, Zulu, Afrikaans, and Amharic.
OpenGL ES 3.0: Google has included OpenGL ES 3.0 and EGL extensions as standard features of Android which will help game developers develop much more graphic intensive games
Bluetooth Smart: Android 4.3 brings support for Bluetooth Smart which allows apps to communicate with the low-power Bluetooth Smart devices and sensors available today especially health tracking devices.
New media capabilities: New set of DRM framework which allows for hardware-based encryption for videos.
Notification access: Android apps will now be able to access and interact with the stream of status bar notifications as they are posted. This will come in handy if the notifications are being routed to nearby Bluetooth devices.
New Nexus 7 Announced by Google
The first Android 4.3 device to be commercially available will be the refreshed Nexus 7. It is already up for pre-order from Best Buy in the US but no word on when it will be reaching India.
The new Nexus 7 will have a 7-inch screen with a 1920x1200p resolution display. This is more than the iPad Mini. It is powered by a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and will have 16 or 32 GB of internal storage. It has a 5 megapixel rear camera. The new Nexus 7 is slimmer, lighter and smaller than the original. It also comes with stereo speakers that provide virtual surround sound. The 16GB Nexus 7 costs $229.99 and the 32GB option $269.99 and the LTE 32GB version will cost $349.
Availability of Android 4.3
For the first time, Google announced that Android 4.3 will begin rolling out to the Nexus 4, Nexus 10, the original Nexus 7 and also the Galaxy Nexus starting today. As it is an OTA update it could be awhile before it rolls out to all devices.
If you can’t wait for the OTA and don’t care so much about having to restore your device from scratch, the factory images for the Android 4.3 update are already live for download directly from Google. These images will wipe your device of all data so proceed with caution and only if you know what you are doing.
All other devices will now have to begin a long wait for their manufactures to push out Android 4.3. If history is anything to go by that could be a very long wait.
Google Play Games
Google has also released the Google Play Games app on the Play Store which serves as a hub where the games installed on an Android device are listed. It is similar to Game Center on iOS devices. Using this app users can track virtual achievements and leader boards and also allows users to invite and check the progress of their Google+ contacts.