In case you didn’t know, an Android 4.3 Jelly Bean ROM leaked this week and the most intriguing part of it was that it wasn’t for a Nexus device. The ROM was for the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition, and was subsequently ported over to the standard GT-I9505 Galaxy S4 (after all they do share the exact same hardware).
While some of us questioned the legitimacy of this leak due to the lack of user-facing changes, a few games of “Spot the difference” brought us to the conclusion that this was indeed an Android 4.3 build, at the very least an early one.
First thing’s first, this is still Jelly Bean so for those of you hoping to get your Key Lime Pie on, you’ll have to wait. Secondly, there are very little user-facing changes in this build, however, since we don’t know how close this is to a final build, we could very well see some changes in the official Android 4.3 build when it comes out.
Technically this camera came with the Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 and HTC One, but since it hasn’t flown over to the Nexus devices yet (unless you’ve downloaded the APK of course), we’ll include it here.
Sadly, there aren’t many changes in the UI, with the big change being the settings bar, which has gone from a full circle design to a semi circle. Unfortunately the camera app still lacks some of the functionality found in overlays like Sense and TouchWiz. However, you can now use the volume button as a shutter, meaning Nexus devices now (sort of) have a hardware camera button.
Always on Wi-Fi
Buried in the Advanced Wi-Fi settings list is a peculiar setting which states “Scanning always available”. What this basically means is that your Wi-Fi will always be on, allowing apps to get a coarse position. This feature was talked about at this year’s Google I/O.
Always on Wi-Fi could end up saving you battery rather than killing it, as it beats turning on the GPS chip.
While many would consider this a battery eater, it’s much better than the other method of getting positioning which is to turn on the GPS chip, which is a much bigger battery eater and could therefore actually save you battery. If you’re still not convinced, you can easily switch it off — if you so please.
Bluetooth Low Energy
This feature has been rumored for awhile now, and it looks as if it’s official as the feature is listed in the System Info app under the title “android.hardware.bluetooth_le” as found by Android Central.
Bluetooth Low Energy is exactly what it sounds like, a form of Bluetooth which uses considerably less power and could help users maintain their battery life when using accessories like heart rate monitors.
There are some new developer settings, some of which already talked about at Google I/O this year, as well as some rebrandings of settings like the “cell broadcast” setting has changed to “mobile broadcasts”.
The new Sun Beam live wallpaper which was first seen on the Google Play Edition HTC One and Galaxy S4 has been renamed and is called Phase Beam like the purple version of the same live wallpaper. If we are really nitpicking, you’ll notice that the time in the notification bar is gone when you’re at the lock screen.
Overall, this build of Android 4.3 doesn’t have many user-facing changes, but without anyway of knowing how close this is to a final build, there could be some other changes we’ve yet to see. But for now it seems as if Android 4.3 Jelly Bean will be a refinement rather than a redesign, not like it’s a bad thing, because more butter is always warranted and accepted with open arms.
When will we see it? Well that’s anyone’s guess, although by the looks of this build, we shouldn’t be in for too long of a wait. Check out a gallery of some of the changes, courtesy of Sam Mobile.
Are you disappointed at the changes in Android 4.3? What else did you hope for?