We are only a day away from the expected official announcement of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, however, that hasn’t stopped leaked builds of the next Android update from finding their way onto the internet. The Nexus 4 has now been blessed with a leaked build for Android 4.3 (click here for the incredible story of how it came to fruition), after the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition received the Android 4.3 treatment a few weeks ago.
Note that this has the same build date and number as the leaked ROM for the Galaxy S4 G.P.E, it’s just built for the Nexus 4. Now before you all dust off your Rooting & ROMming caps and begin flashing the ROM onto your Nexus 4’s (we are not responsible for any damage that you cause to your device), you’re probably wondering what’s new in the latest version of Android.
This camera is very similar to the one found in the leaked Android 4.3 build for the Galaxy S4. Just like on the Google Play Edition smartphones, the full circle settings bar has been replaced with a semi-circle style bar, a countdown timer has been added, and the ability to take pictures using the volume buttons has also made its way to the Nexus 4.
I am also happy to report that the annoying flipping of the whole camera screen when you change your screen orientation is gone. That’s been replaced by the simple flipping of the buttons on the screen, which is a much better implementation and a less jarring experience.
There are some new frames and other additions in the photo editor, as well as some slight visual changes to the editor. Overall, the camera is much improved, but not at the same stage as other camera apps provided by Samsung and HTC on their respective skins, which offer a much better experience, with loads of options.
It’s been a long time coming for Nexus users, but an auto-complete T9 dialer has finally been added to the phone application. That means that the phone app can offer suggestions based on your contacts so that you can dial numbers much more quickly.
This feature has been on skins for a really long time, and it’s good to see it move on to Nexus users. The feature is actually turned off by default in this build so you’ll have to go into the dialer settings and switch it on manually.
Bluetooth Low Energy and AVCRP 1.3
We’ve known this for a while now, and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean makes good on it’s promise to add two of the most requested Bluetooth-related features. First off is the addition of Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE), which will prove to be very important for smart watches, Google Glass, and other wearable devices.
Bluetooth Low Energy is exactly what it sounds like. A form of Bluetooth which uses considerably less power.
Bluetooth Low Energy is exactly what it sounds like, a form of Bluetooth which uses considerably less power, meaning tethering to your Pebble smartwatch for example, will be a much more battery-efficient process.
AVCRP 1.3 support has finally arrived, and will improve audio streaming and brings 2-way communication and full track metadata to Android.
Notification history, new Play Store, developer settings and system apps
This is another feature which could be in preparation for wearable devices, and while it is hidden in this build it can be accessed easily enough. There are a few new developer settings and the addition of Google Keep and Hangouts as system apps.
The word “butter” has turned into our favorite word here at Android Authority and we are glad that Android 4.3 will provide even more of it (Watch it Google, I’m trying to keep my cholesterol levels low. FWI, Canola seeds oil taste just as good).
In Android 4.3 Jelly Bean the animations have been reported to be much smoother and there have been some tweaks and improvements to Dalvik VM for smoother and faster applications. GPU rendering has also been improved for an even faster experience, while simultaneously conserving battery.
Nexus 4 improvements
This leaked build also shows that Google hasn’t forgotten the Nexus 4. Android 4.3 Jelly Bean has added OpenGL 3.0 support for the Nexus 4, improving GLBenchmark 2.5 results by about 5 frames per second. Touch sensitivity has also been improved greatly, and there is a new radio which improves Wi-Fi performance.
Audio latency has been improved to 40ms, down from 86ms on Android 4.2 Jelly bean, but still a long way away from the iOS audio latency of 20ms. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi issues look to be a thing of the past, with the two working together perfectly in this build.
Always on Wi-Fi
In Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, an option to turn Wi-Fi on at all times — even after switching it off in the quick settings — is available. This is to conserve battery when using apps that only need a coarse location, allowing Wi-Fi to be switched on and scan for access points in the area.
Using Wi-Fi to give a coarse location is much more power conservative when compared to switching on the power hungry GPS chip.
Emoji support has finally made its way onto the Google keyboard, allowing users to share expression for every single situation that they come across. So if you are into emoji, you’ll be happy to know that it’s now available for you to use in Android 4.3. Also, we wouldn’t be surprised if emoji makes its way onto the Google Keyboard app in the Play Store sometime soon.
The Roboto font has also gotten a slight facelift, offering smoother curves and an overall better typeface. Another small detail is that the clock in the status bar has disappeared when you are on the lock screen.
While this leaked ROM looks like it is very close to a final build, Google could have a few surprises in store for us on the 24th. If we take this ROM as being close to a final build, we see that there are very little user-facing changes in Android 4.3, with most of the improvements under the hood.
These are all of the changes that we’ve discovered so far, and if we find any more, we’ll be sure to update this post.
Special thanks to Jeff Williams and all of the people who helped him share the system dump.
What do you think of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean?