On Wednesday, Google officially released Android 4.3, an incremental update still under the Jelly Bean banner. The update makes its debut exclusively on the new Nexus 7 tablet and will also made available OTA to the Nexus 4, Nexus 10 and GALAXY Nexus. Stock Android versions of the HTC One and GALAXY S4 will be getting the update soon as well.
The update brings some important additions and enhancements. Firstly, Android now features Multi-User Restricted Profiles which lets you control usage of apps and other content based on user level. User profiles are already available in 4.2.2, although sans restrictions.
Restricted profiles will be very useful for parents who can control how individual apps can be accessed and behave. For instance, disabling in-app purchasing functionality on a freemium game.
Android 4.3 adds Bluetooth Smart technology support, something that’s been available on iOS since 2012. Bluetooth Smart technology is more power-efficient and lets users connect to newer generation power-efficient accessories that are also Bluetooth Smart enabled. Bluetooth AVRCP 1.3 is also now supported, letting your Android device transmit metadata like song’s title and artist to Bluetooth controllers.
Gamers will be delighted to know that Android 4.3 adds Open GL ES 3.0 support, bringing enhanced textures, reflections and lens flares to games that are Open GL ES 3.0 optimised.
Android 4.3 also brings enhancements to the stock Android dialer – adding autocomplete for both phone numbers and names. Google has also integrated a new Emoji keyboard as an input option.
Just like 4.2 was an important performance enhancement update to 4.1 and 4.0, the Android 4.3 is no different, improving usability and performance until the next major release.
Android’s big update – Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie is not expected until Q4 2013.