by Sanjay Kumar Negi
Android has come a long way since its inception six years ago in 2008 with HTC T-Mobile G1. It has created a duopoly in the market of smartphones as well as tablets along with iOS. It initially started as an open platform allowing manufacturers to customize the software and an app store (formerly Android Market and now called Play Store) allowing users to download, but now Google has also shifted its focus on Android’s design as smooth navigation. This change was signalled in Android 4.2 with the project butter, and its successor Android 4.3 is carrying it forward with some under the hood improvements as well-
Bluetooth Low Energy
Android 4.3 comes with Bluetooth Smart Technology allowing apps to interact with low-power devices or sensors. This is great news as all of us know that wearable technology like Smart Watches, Google Glass, etc. is the future. Such devices can make use of this technology and interact with the companion apps installed on Android powered device.
While the Android already supported multiple users on a tablet with each of them having separate home screen and user account, many people wanted to have the option to limit a user account to some apps. With Android 4.3, Android provides this capability of restricted access. Thus, if you want your kids to not access Facebook and the likes, then you simply need to set up app and content restriction under their account.
Google has brought the support for OpenGL ES 3.0 standard in Android 4.3. This means that the games using this protocol will provide improved experience to the users. However, it also depends if the device hardware have such capability or not.
Autocomplete Dial pad
It’s a very basic feature, yet extremely useful. As the name suggests, in Android 4.3 whenever one is starting to type a number, it will automatically start suggesting the relevant contact names.
At Google I/O 2013, Google announced Google Play Services for several location enhancements like geofencing and Wi-Fi only scan mode. With Android 4.3, these services are baked right into the OS. If other manufacturers have these services in the hardware as well, then it will not only save battery but also improve the GPS capability of the device. Currently, Nexus 7 (2013) and Nexus 4 have these capabilities.
Local Language support
Android 4.3 has added support for several languages like Africaans, Amharic (አማርኛ), Hindi (हिंदी), Swahili (Kiswahili), and Zulu (IsiZulu). Even RTL (right-to-left) languages like Hebrew, Arabic are supported in this version of the OS.
High Definition Streaming
In Android 4.3, Google has supported DRM based rights access, which means that the content providers like Netflix, Hulu, etc. don’t have to worry about the content being shared across multiple users and thus they can provide full access to their content. Netflix is the first website making use of this functionality and allows playing Full HD videos at 1080p on Android devices.
While this is not exhaustive list, the features mentioned above gives us an idea of what’s new in Android 4.3. Some of other notable additions include Setup Wizard simplification, Photo Daydream, Easier Text input and much more. While some may not be able to discern any difference between Android 4.2 and Android 4.3 in terms of UI, Google has polished it a bit as well as introduced lots of internal changes will make the Android experience even better.
The article is written by Sanjay Kumar Negi, working with 91Mobiles.com.