The Nexus 4 Android 4.3 update leaked this week, offering a chance for savvy Nexus 4 owners to try the new version of Android a week before the Google event where we expect to see the official version and a Nexus 7 2 tablet.
The originally leaked Android 4.3 update was not a flashable file, but gmillz on the xda-developer forums took the time to turn this into a flashable Android 4.3 update for the Nexus 4, and includes a file to add root if it is not applied when the user installs it.
With this Android 4.3 update in the wild, we are getting an early look at what’s new in Android 4.3. These features may not be final, but with the official launch event less than a week away, this is likely a near final build.
Originally expected at Google I/O in May, Android 4.3 is a minor update to Android that should tide users over until later this year when we may see a Nexus 5 and Android 5.0.
With this in mind, here are a collection of small new Android 4.3 features found in the leak or those promised for the next version of Android. These come from xda users who are already running Android 4.3 on the Nexus 4.
We expected a number of improvements to performance and early reports indicate better, “under the hood” performance on the Nexus 4 with Android 4.3. While it is not the definitive test or benchmark Google will share next week, mert2go reports that Gangstar 4 Vegas runs, “much smoother than on 4.2.2.”
In Android 4.1 Google significantly increased system performance with Project Butter, and we hope to see similar enhancements to device speed in Android 4.3.
When making phone calls in Android 4.3, the dialer can auto complete to save the user time. Xda user krypta points dialer settings as the source to turn this on. This is a common feature on many skinned versions of Android, but up until now was not included in stock Android.
With this turned on, users will see suggested contacts or numbers as they start to dial on the Nexus 4 keypad. This is a small, but handy feature.
The Android Emoji keyboard is now updated with new emoji. Emoji are similar to emoticons commonly used in chat, but that represent many more items. In Android 4.3, the emoji keyboard includes new nature emoji as shown above. This discovery comes from max4wdc.
While not confirmed by current users, Android 4.3 shoudl deliver Bluetooth LE support which will make it easier for Bluetooth devices like the Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up and others to work with Android devices. Currently the list of devices that connect to Android is small, and the list of supported phones often includes the Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S4, with few others.
Android 4.3 and Bluetooth LE support should help fix this. It may take some time for broader support, but hopefully the next round of smart accessories and fitness accessories will work on more Android devices.
New and Improved Camera App
Android 4.3 brings a new camera app, which should look similar to the one we saw on video earlier this year. In addition to a new, faster way to select camera modes, users report that changing orientation on the camera no longer lags with a small pop out animation.
Expect a closer look at the Android 4.3 camera and new features next week.
Users are already finding many other small changes in Android 4.3 including a new Kernel, new touch drivers for the Nexus 4 and font changes. One user also reports that the lock screen no longer shows the clock in the status bar, which makes sense considering the lock screen comes with a giant clock be default.
There are also new widgets in Android 4.3, but there are no more details about what these new widgets are, or what features they offer.