At an event yesterday, Google announced the new Nexus 7 and the Chromecast. New hardware is always exciting, but many more were just as exciting to see that Android 4.3 was finally revealed. While not a huge upgrade from previous versions, this new flavor of Jelly Bean has its fair share of interesting features.
The most compelling new feature by far is the addition of restricted profiles. As you may recall, Google introduced multi-user accounts on Android tablets in Android 4.2. This allowed families to set up multiple accounts for each member of the family on a single Android tablet. With restricted profiles, the admin can control what other accounts on the device can access. For example, a parent can prevent their child from seeing certain apps, or even prevent them from being able to see items for purchase in apps.
Another small, but welcome, feature is the addition of Bluetooth Smart support. With this, Android devices can now interact with Bluetooth Smart devices, like fitness sensors, while using very little energy. Google says that the makers of Bluetooth Smart devices are working to make them compatible with Android 4.3.
Of course, gamers will be happy to know that Android 4.3 is the first mobile OS to support OpenGL ES 3.0. This new rendering platform brings with it a number of enhancements that will make the mobile games of the future look even better than before. Here are the demos from the Google event that demonstrate what OpenGL ES 3.0 is capable of:
Other small improvements include dial pad autocomplete, which suggests phone numbers upon typing in numbers, and improved support for more languages like Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi and more. If you want to see every new feature in Android 4.3, hit up Google’s Jelly Bean site.
So, when can you get your hands on Android 4.3? Google said yesterday that it would start rolling out to Nexus devices – Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus – immediately. That rollout may be taking longer than expected as my 2012 Nexus 7 still hasn’t received the update as of this morning.