With Android 4.3 Jelly Bean almost certain to arrive at some point in the near future, it’s time to make some bold predictions in regards to its features and release date, not only for Nexus devices, but for other devices as well.
In the build up to Google I/O 2013, we saw a good number of rumors pop up suggesting that the release of Android 4.3 might be near. The arrival of Android 4.3, at the time, seemed a bit strange considering users were expecting Google to deliver Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie a year after the arrival of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean last July.
Instead, rumors suggested that Android 4.3 would be a follow up to another incremental Android update, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and not be the full fledged Jelly Bean successor that many users were after. Shortly before the start of Google I/O, it seemed certain that the software would make its debut at the developer conference. And when Google failed to announce the software, users were left puzzled.
Indeed, Google failed to announced a new version of Android at Google I/O. However, there are indications that suggest that Google will be announcing a new version of software very soon, long before the arrival of the next Nexus smartphone.
The software is said to be Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and from the looks of things, it will be a relatively minor update for owners of Android smartphones and tablets. Like all Android updates though, Android 4.3 remains an exciting prospect for Nexus owners and those who own other Android devices. For one, it has Bluetooth LE (Light Energy) on board and it should come with a number of other smaller but likeable changes as well.
Problem is, despite the leaks, Google hasn’t announced Android 4.3 yet leaving consumers wondering about its whereabouts and what might be on board when it arrives.
With the release date and the changelog cloaked in secrecy, it’s time to make some educated Android 4.3 predictions in regards to its release date and features.
Release in Second Half of July
Tomorrow is a significant day in the land of Google as it represents the one year anniversary of the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update’s release. The Nexus 7 release came a few days later on July 13th. Tomorrow also represents a Tuesday which is often a day on which companies announce new products. With rumors swirling, it could be that Google marks Android 4.1’s first birthday with an update. However, with Motorola reportedly set to announce a trio of new devices. it would be strange to see Google steal the thunder of three big name devices.
Motorola is thought to be announcing the Droid Ultra, Droid MAXX and Droid Ultra M later this week with July 11th being pegged as a launch for those devices. Google owns Motorola and it would be extremely strange to see it overshadow these devices with a new Nexus 7 and an Android 4.3 update that they are unlikely to have on board.
Instead, we think this event will pass and Google will go on to announce the arrival of Android 4.3 and the Nexus 7 2 sometime later on this month, if it doesn’t happen tomorrow. Specifically, the second half of July looks especially nice for an arrival.
Sprint Galaxy Nexus Release in September
We fully expect the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 to be the first devices that are updated with the new Android 4.3 software. Along with them, it seems that the HTC One Google Edition and Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition will be updated swiftly as well. But what about other Nexus devices?
The Motorola Xoom and Nexus S are out as they didn’t get Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but we think the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which is going on two years old, will get the update.
In the U.S., the Galaxy Nexus is available on Sprint and Verizon and both have had a tumultuous relationship with Android updates. While they utilize the Nexus name, they are not true Nexus smartphones. Instead, they receive carrier approved updates that come much later than regular Nexus devices.
In the case of the Sprint Galaxy Nexus, updates have typically rolled out sooner than updates for the Verizon model and we look for that trend to continue with Android 4.3.
Here’s a look back at previous timing:
- Android 4.1 released July 9th, Sprint Galaxy Nexus update rolls out September 7th
- Android 4.2 release November 13th, Sprint Galaxy Nexus update rolls out January 21st
So Sprint’s timing generally falls in just around a two month wait. What this means is that if Google rolled out the update on July 31st, the latest the software would likely roll out would be early October, based on this timing. With Android 4.3 being the small update that it is, we expect Sprint to get it updated within two months so our best guess would be a roll out sometime in September.
Verizon Galaxy Nexus Release in September
Verizon like Sprint, was able to update its Galaxy Nexus to Android 4.1 in about two months time. However, with Android 4.2, it took a lot longer than that. Here is how is broke down for Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners:
- Android 4.1 released July 9th, Verizon Galaxy Nexus update rolls out September 21st
- Android 4.2 release November 13th, Verizon Galaxy Nexus update rolls out March 19th
Unfortunately, the Android 4.2 update brought an assortment of issues, issues that haven’t been fixed with a bug fix update. We expect that will likely cause some extra development time for the Android 4.3 update as Verizon works to fix these issues and that will more than likely mean a longer wait.
Given that the Android 4.3 update is small, and that Verizon will want to win over customers as they come off contract in December, we expect it to work hard to get its Galaxy Nexus update. And excuse us if we’re generous but we believe that this will mean a roll out at some point in the month of October.
Galaxy S4: First Non-Nexus Smartphone Update
Those who don’t own Nexus branded devices will likely have to wait a few weeks for the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update to arrive. Looking into our crystal ball, we think that the first non-Nexus smartphone to get the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update will be the Samsung Galaxy S4.
One, the Samsung Galaxy S3 was one of the first Android 4.0 devices to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The update arrived in September, just a few days after Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus update. And two, the Samsung Galaxy S4 launched with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board and it remains one of the only devices to feature Google’s latest update.
Samsung is extremely fast when it comes to cooking up updates for its flagship Galaxy S device and we think that Samsung will get it out, first, to its Galaxy S4.
Asus MeMO Pad Smart: First Non-Nexus Tablet Update
That doesn’t mean that we think it will be the first non-Nexus device to get Android 4.3. In fact, we think Asus will get its MeMO Pad Smart tablet updated to Android 4.3 before Samsung.
Asus has done a fantastic job of getting updates out extremely fast to its newest tablets and the Asus MeMO Pad and MeMO Pad Smart represent its latest offerings. The MeMO Pad Smart boats a ton of horsepower and we don’t think it’s lack of a big name will stop Asus from updating it in a swift manner.
Look for the Transformer Pad series to follow.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: First with It Out of the Box
With so many different devices on the way, it’s hard to say which one will be the first running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box. However, we have our suspicions. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was one of the first device with Android 4.1 out of the box and with Samsung rumored to be releasing the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in September, it could be that the device is the first with Android 4.3, stock, out of the box.
The other device to keep an eye on is the Moto X which is thought to be coming out either in late September or October. However, with the Galaxy Note 3 launch looking likely for IFA 2013 in early September, we think Samsung could beat the Google-owned Motorola.
U.S. Carriers Late, Per Usual
Looking for an Android 4.3 update to a carrier-branded device sometime in the next few months? Temper those expectations. American carriers are typically months behind the release of Android updates and in the case of Android 4.3 we don’t expect to see carriers start updating their devices until weeks after the Sprint and Verizon Galaxy Nexus updates emerge.
In our timeline, that means sometime in or after October which could mean that they will start arriving around the time Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie rolls out. Look for the AT&T and Verizon versions of the Galaxy S4 and HTC One to be near the front of the line in terms of timing.
Few, If Any, Surprises
We’ve talked a lot about release dates here, but what about the features in Android 4.3 Jelly Bean? Well, we’ve seen a few emerge from the dump that arrived for the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition. Bluetooth LE, font tweaks, some new possibilities for Notifications and new camera features are said to be a part of Android 4.3. That said, we don’t think that Google is hiding anything significant.
Android 4.3 is a small update and while it has some likable features, we don’t expect it to feature anything hidden away. So while it would be fantastic to see Google pull an Apple and keep a big feature or two hidden out of view until its arrival, the software’s APK says otherwise.