Google announces Android 4.3 -- 'a sweeter version of Jelly Bean'

Android users have been patiently waiting for a new version of their favorite mobile operating system for some time. Many were disappointed that a new update was not unveiled at the Google I/O conference. But finally the wait is over as today Google announces Android 4.3, which the company calls "a sweeter version of Jelly Bean". Diabetics need not worry; it will not increase glucose levels, only new features!

Unfortunately, those of you who watched today’s Google Event, will already know that the announcement was slightly lackluster. Many of the new features are developer focused -- actual users don't gain very much to be excited about.

According to Google, some of the new features are:

  • OpenGL ES 3.0 -- Game developers can now take advantage of OpenGL ES 3.0 and EGL extensions as standard features of Android, with access from either framework or native APIs.
  • Bluetooth Smart -- Now your apps can communicate with the many types of low-power Bluetooth Smart devices and sensors available today, to provide new features for fitness, medical, location, proximity, and more.
  • Restricted profiles -- Tablet owners can create restricted profiles to limit access to apps, for family, friends, kiosks, and more. Apps can offer various types of restrictions to let tablet owners control the capabilities in each profile.
  • New media capabilities -- A modular DRM framework enables media application developers to more easily integrate DRM into their own streaming protocols such as MPEG DASH. Apps can also access a built-in VP8 encoder from framework or native APIs for high-quality video capture.
  • Notification access -- Your apps can now access and interact with the stream of status bar notifications as they are posted. You can display them in any way you want, including routing them to nearby Bluetooth devices, and you can update and dismiss notifications as needed.
  • Improved profiling tools -- New tags in the Systrace tool and on-screen GPU profiling give you new ways to build great performance into your app.

As with all Android updates, 4.3 will hit Nexus devices first, starting with the new Nexus 7 unveiled today. Factory images are available immediately, here. Sadly, most non-Nexus devices in use today will likely never receive the update; further fragmenting Android.

Are you excited about Android 4.3? Do you think your device will even get the update? Tell me in the comments.

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