Google on Wednesday finally unveiled Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the next update for its mobile operating system.
Taking the stage during the show, Hugo Barra revealed that the new Nexus 7 will be the first device to ship with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on board – just as expected, considering the numerous leaks we’ve seen – and explained some of its new features.
Android 4.3 will bring new capabilities to the multi-user mode that’s already available on Jelly Bean tablets: restricted profile. Thanks to the restricted profile feature, tablet owners will be able to customize the kind of access other people have on certain devices, a feature particularly useful for parents that share tablets with their children.
In restricted mode, apps will be available to multiple profiles, but they will behave differently. For example, in-app purchases won’t be available to a restricted profile, so a child won’t be able to purchase anything by mistake.
Bluetooth Smart (or Bluetooth Low Energy) will finally be supported by Android 4.3 – just as previously rumored – which means users will be able to pair a variety of Bluetooth-enabled devices to their Android 4.3-running devices.
Android 4.3 comes with OpenGL ES 3.0 support, which means game developers will be able to offer even more impressive games to tablet and smartphone users that run the latest Android version.
The new OS also brings new DRM APIs that will offer hardware-based encryption for videos, a feature that will be already used by the Netflix app for Android.
The company has listed several other Android 4.3 features without specifically stopping to detail them, including:
- easier text input
- faster user-switching
- Hebrew and Arabic RTL
- Bluetooth AVRCP
- background Wi-Fi location
- dial pad autocomplete
- Africaans, Amharic, Hindi, Swahili and Zulu support
As you can see – and as we’ve seen already in those leaked Android 4.3 builds – Android 4.3 isn’t a major update, but rather a minor one that brings several improvements to the OS.
A full changelog for Android 4.3 was not available online at the time this article was written. The Android 4.3 Jelly Bean page went up.
Android 4.3 will be initially available on the new Nexus 7, but it will be rolled out to existing Nexus devices including Nexus 7 (2012), Nexus 10, Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Nexus devices will only get the OTA update later down the road.