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Android 4.3 new features aren’t groundbreaking, but still welcome improvements

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

If you’ve been waiting for the 5.0 release of Android, then wait even further. What was unveiled by Google this week was only an incremental update, which itself arrived longer than expected, to Jelly Bean. At 4.3, the latest version retains the current dessert moniker, so there’s no Key Lime Pie for us to enjoy yet.

While there are really no groundbreaking features that sets 4.3 Jelly Bean apart from the previous release, it still comes packed with features that both developers and end-users can benefit from. Listed below are the five most notable features, to name a few:

  • Restricted profiles. Parents now have the option to specify what privileges their children are entitled to when using their tablets. For instance, they can control which apps and content are accessible. Restricted profiles are also applicable for other purposes, such as guest users, demo devices, and more.
  • OpenGL ES 3.0 support. This may sound too jargonistic to the average Android user, but this feature basically helps improve the graphics in games and videos.
  • Notification listener. Developers now have direct access to notifications that appear in the device’s status bar, therefore allowing them to create and improve existing apps, making them smarter.
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM). Negative implications about DRM set aside, a new DRM programming interface lets apps stream videos at 1080p HD resolutions, among other things.
  • Bluetooth Smart technology. There are whole new bunch of Bluetooth-powered devices out there, the ones that come with Bluetooth Smart Ready technology. Intended to act like sensors, Smart Ready lets devices check if, for example, all windows in the house are locked, your blood glucose level is normal, and your weight loss/gain is within your goal. By adding native support, Android gadgets can connect to these devices, opening the possibility of supplementary add-ons for the user’s smartphone/tablet.

Rolling updates to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean started since Wednesday for already-released Nexus devices. On the other hand, the recently announced new Nexus 7 will come with 4.3 right out of the box. Stock Android versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One will also receive the update soon.

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