What's New in Android 4.3by Brian Klug on July 24, 2013 2:26 PM EST
- Posted in
- Android 4.3
As expected, today Google made a management release for Android 4.2 official at their breakfast with Sundar event, bumping the release up to Android 4.3 and introducing a bunch of new features and fixes. The update brings everything that Google alluded was coming during Google I/O, and a few more.
On the graphics side, the big change is inclusion of support for OpenGL ES 3.0 in Android 4.3. Put another way, Android 4.3 now includes the necessary API bindings both in the NDK and Java for ES 3.0. This release brings the numerous updates we’ve been over before, including multiple render targets, occlusion queries, instances, ETC2 as the standard texture compression, a GLSL ES 3.0, and more.
We’ve also talked about the changes to the 2D rendering pipeline which improve performance throughout Android, specifically intelligent reordering, and merging, which cuts down on the number of draw calls issued to the GPU for 2D scenes. This improvement automatically happens with Android 4.3 and doesn’t require developer intervention, the pipeline is more intelligent now and optimizes the order things are drawn and groups together similar elements into a single draw call instead of multiple. In addition like we talked about, non-rectangular clips have hardware acceleration, and there’s more multithreading in the 2D rendering pipeline.
Google has been trying to increase adoption of WebM and along those lines Android 4.3 now includes VP8 encoder support for Stagefright. The platform APIs are updated accordingly for the ability to change settings like bitrate, framerate, and so forth. New DRM modules are now added as well, for use with MPEG DASH through a new MediaDRM API.
On the connectivity side we get a few new features, first is the WiFi scan mode which we saw leaked in a bunch of different ROMs. This exposes itself as a new option under the Advanced menu under WiFi settings, and during initial out of box setup. This new scanning mode allows Google to continue to further build out its WiFi AP location database to improve WiFi-augmented location services for its devices.
Like we saw hinted not so subtly at Google I/O, 4.3 also includes support for Bluetooth low energy (rebranded Bluetooth smart) through the new Broadcom-sourced Bluetooth stack. This OS-level support for BT Smart APIs will do a lot to ease the API fragmentation third party OEMs have resorted to in its absence.
Likewise Bluetooth AVRCP 1.3 is now included which supports better metadata communication for car audio and other devices, as well as better remote control.
Security gets improvements as well, Android 4.3 moves to SELinux MAC (mandatory access control) in the linux kernel. The 4.3 release runs SELinux in permissive mode which logs policy violations but doesn’t break anything at present.
A number of other security features are changed, including fixes for vulnerabilities disclosed to partners, better application key protection, removal of setuid programs from /system, and the ability to restrict access to certain capabilities per-application. Lastly there’s a new user profiles feature that allows for finer grained control over app usage and content.
We'll be playing around with the new features on the new Nexus 7 as well as the other Nexus devices getting the update (Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Nexus 7 (2012), and Galaxy Nexus). Google has already posted the factory images for those devices as well if you're too impatient to wait for the OTA and want to flash it manually.
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name99 - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - linkSo to summarize: as far as the internet is concerned
- Android 4.3 and new Nexus 7 are underwhelming
- Win 8.1, what we know of the next WP8, and the new Lumias are underwhelming
- iOS7 and what we know of the iPhone 5S are underwhelming
Glad we've cleared that up guys.
I think the moral here is don't rely on either technology or investment advice from a bunch of male teenagers (and teenagers in older bodies).
twotwotwo - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - linkYay comments, right? The Internet dreams big.
Zeratul56 - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - linkHow is iOS 7 underwhelming? It is a complete UI overhaul. While it may be worse then the previous iteration, it certainly is not underwhelming as far as change goes. Windows 8.1 is going to add independent dpi scaling for each monitor and start screen/modern apps on multiple monitors plus a bunch of new modern configurable settings. The new lumia pureview is also due out.
This only underwhelming this is android.
cmikeh2 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - linkUm... You might want to reread that first line...
steven75 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - linkI don't think the internet agrees that iOS 7 is underwhelming.
Mondozai - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - linkMaybe you should try to think for yourself instead of following the internet hive mind(when judging A 4.3 & N7).
Krysto - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - linkThe Wi-FI scan thing will SAVE battery life, since the wi-fi doesn't have to be turned-on to find the AP.
Krysto - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - linkIt was never going to be a major upgrade for users - not with Android 5.0 being 3-4 months away from release.
piroroadkill - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - linkThat's why it's still called Jelly Bean.
Synaesthesia - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - linkImprovements in rendering speed and performance are very deep and far reaching, as well as necessary upgrades for Android.