Android 4.3 is now available for download if you have a Google Nexus device. It is one of the key advantages of owning a Google developed phone, as it allows the quickest access to the newest mobile phone operating system. However, at times, upgrading the phone operating system can be a hassle. So, what are you missing out exactly if you are not on Android 4.3? Let us take a quick look at what is new in Android 4.3.
Bluetooth Smart aka Low Energy
Certain sensors and devices that rely on Bluetooth Low Energy will now finally have support on Android. This would improve the overall power consumption and allows the device to last longer. This is crucial for bringing in the next wave of lifestyle wearable devices, like your fitness bands, watches, and Google Glasses. Take for example, the famous Pebble watch made famous on Kickstarter. It provides you instant access to information without the need to check your phone and also have sensors for motion tracking. What makes Smart different is that it consumes less power to transmit this information to your device, allowing for both your phone and sensor to last longer.
Improved Camera – Better PhotoSphere in 4.3
The latest Android 4.3 camera comes with slightly different menus with upgraded PhotoSphere camera which does FULL 360 degrees (whereas before it did full 360 degrees but misses some of the top/bottom center). There’s also an improved algorithm to ensure better alignment and stitching to prevent weird things like trees suddenly breaking into two.
You can still download the Android 4.3 Camera APP APK separately here
The stock dialer got an update as well, now allowing for an auto-complete setting. When typing out a number or even a name in the dialer, the device will automatically check your entry against the address book to save you some time. It shows three numbers at once, so the chances of it hitting the right number and saving you some key presses is quite high. Might be useful, but I thought there was already some sort of auto-complete and predictive dialing already.
Android 4.3 Individual App Permissions
The feature is called App Ops, and lets users toggle app permissions — such as location and the ability to post notifications — on and off for individual apps.
The basic idea of the feature is apparently to give Android users more flexibility over what apps can and can’t do, allowing them to choke off battery draining features, say, or rein in irritating notification behaviour, you know like games, or disable access to apps to display irritating advertisements. If Google does decide to fully implement App Ops as a user-facing feature, there are potential big benefits here, from a security and privacy point of view, being as it could give users fine-grained control over what each app can do.
Accelerated 3D Graphics With OpenGL ES 3.0
This is only for the new Nexus 7 at the moment, with the latest support of the OpenGL ES 3.0 standard. It would give developers even more freedom and tools to create better immersive 3D environments.
Restricted Profiles for Tablets
An addition that only tablet users will be able to use is Restricted Profiles. There is already multiple account support on Android tablets running Jelly Bean, but with these new restricted profiles, one account can be used to manage other accounts on the device. For example, if there is one tablet to a family of five, the children’s accounts can be set up not to display mature content and will allow for a safe browsing/gaming experience on the device. Each account can have its own settings, so while one account isn’t allowed to do Google searches, the others are.
Support for Chromecast
If you were one of the lucky few to have been able to get your orders in for the Google Chromecast, then the Android 4.3 allows you to have improved system integration with this new feature. Miracast and the Nexus Q was 2012’s solution to Airplay but now that has been cast aside and rebranded with this new concept – for a hardware dongle to handle the streaming and media content.
But then, Google showed its new Chromecast feature in Android 4.3 and it was finally very clear that the new API has something to do with the streaming of content to Android devices.
The new Nexus 7 will be the first Android device that runs directly from the factory with the new Android 4.3. Furthermore, the new Android OS version is already rolling out to the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and the Galaxy Nexus. Check your phone/tablet for over the air (OTA) updates.
Other Android 4.3 additions:
- Virtual surround sound.
- Easier text input – an improved algorithm for tap-typing recognition makes text input easier.
- Lower latency input for gamepad buttons and joysticks.
- Bluetooth AVRCP 1.3 support – display song names on a car stereo.
- Additional language support.
- Disabled apps tab – check which apps are disabled in Settings > Apps.
- Faster user switching – switching users from the lock screen is now faster.
- Location detection through Wi-Fi – use Wi-Fi to detect location without turning on Wi-Fi all the time.
- Enhanced photo daydream – navigate through interesting albums.