Android 4.3 isn’t an overly dramatic advancement over Android 4.2, but the new version of Google’s mobile OS announced today does bring a number of improvements that should appeal to both developers and end users. Highlights include the redesigned camera interface, general performance improvements for the OS including smoother animations, and long-awaited Bluetooth Low Energy support.
Muti-User Restricted Profiles
This builds on the multi-user accounts on 4.2, but adds Restricted Profiles. These make it possible to do parental controls on the tablet, by changing the performance of apps and other services based on who’s logged in. It also blocks out access to stuff like in-app purchases. There’s much more to this than just parental controls, however, including options for provisioning in enterprise settings.
Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth Smart) makes it easy to connect accessories to Android devices without sapping too much battery. This is key for smart watch and other wearables, as well as health and fitness trackers.
This is huge for game developers, as it allows for much better graphics rendering, which shows off very well in the demos Google showed off on stage. Now we can also see lens flares a la J.J. Abrams, and other very nice visual effects on future games. All of the above is rendered in real-time in native 1080p.
Who doesn’t get excited about locked down media content? Serisously though, this is a boon for content providers and should help Google convince even more to offer up greater libraries, with the peace of mind that their stuff is safe. It does accompany the news that Netflix will deliver 1808p video streaming on Netflix, making the Nexus 7 the first Android tablet to get that.
You now can access and interact with notifications form the Android status bar, and use those to be displayed in another app or via Bluetooth on a connected device (like the Pebble) and you can change their read status and dismiss them, too.
The update is pushing out live today to existing Nexus tablet devices, in addition to shipping on the new Nexus 7. It's also going to be coming to Google Nexus handsets and experience devices soon.