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Android 4.3 Jelly Bean apparently brings Roboto font improvements as well

A closer look at the Roboto font files in the leaked Android 4.3 Jelly Bean version has revealed that the font has received a facelift, with several improvements and refinements being noticed.
June 30, 2013

A deeper look at the Roboto files in the allegedly leaked Android 4.3 Jelly Bean version has revealed that Google may have further refined the now-famous Android font.

After we looked at the new Android 4.3 features in an earlier post – or at least at the improvements the OS is expected to bring – we’re not really surprised to hear that Roboto is also getting better. So far, it looks like the mission of this new Jelly Bean version is to bring various subtle enhancements, font optimizations included.

Roboto - Android 4.3
Roboto font improvements in Android 4.3

The Roboto changes were first posted by Android Police, with the publication noticing that the Roboto files were up to 30% bigger than their respective counter parts in Android 4.2.2.

Apparently Roboto Regular and Roboto Thin both got a facelift, which may not be obvious to the naked eye. But the changes are definitely there to further improve the overall appearance of Roboto.

According to Android Police, there are at least 15 extra glyphs that contribute to that file size increase, but also other minor changes that may be not noticed by most users. There are changes in curvature for lowercase letters, width adjustments for some capital letters (“A”, “E” and “F”), as well as “bowels” trimming for lowercase and some uppercase letters (“B”). “Boot heels” on top of “p” and “q” and on the bottom of “b” and “d” have apparently been straightened.

Roboto - Android 4.3
Roboto Comma: Android 4.2.2 (left) vs Android 4.3 (right)

Moreover, punctuation signs have also been retouched, with the comma showing some very clear differences. The new comma has a curved shape, that hides the former “’geometric’ skeleton.”

While the changes mentioned so far apply to Roboto Regular, Roboto Thin has undergone a few changes too.

Various issues that existed especially with lowercase letters including “u”, “n”, “p”, “d” and “m” – “curves overlapping stems resulting in extra anchors and weird little bumps” – have been fixed, although we’ll point out that not all users may have spotted those “issues” in the first place. A symmetry issue with the top left and right peaks of the uppercase “M” has been also corrected, but only to create a new one.

Roboto - Android 4.3
“m” and “p” shown in Roboto Thin: Android 4.2.2 (in black) vs Android 4.3 (in red)

Despite being already available to install on certain devices, the leaked Android 4.3 Jelly Bean version is yet to be made official, and it’s not even clear if the leaked version is the final version of the new OS update. However, so far it looks like Google decided to polish Android even more in Android 4.3 and keep major new features for the next, more important release.