In late July, Google announced its latest Android update, an update called Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Shortly after the conclusion of the event, the company began rolling out the new Jelly Bean update to owners of Nexus devices including the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7. Since then, we’ve seen important and new Android 4.3 details emerge from the shadows, information that current and future Android 4.3 users need to know about.
In the build up to Google I/O 2013, there were rumors that Google was planning an Android announcement at the event. At first, Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie emerged as the likely candidate but those rumors were slowly replaced by signs of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, an incremental update to Google’s operating system.
Google I/O came and went without any Android news however, leaving Android smartphone and tablet owners wondering when they might see the next version of Android. As it turned out, Google only waited a few weeks before delivering the goods.
At its July Android launch event, Google announced a trio of new products including the new Nexus 7, the GoogleCast and yes, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. The update, which includes features like Bluetooth Low Energy and OpenGL 3.0 support, isn’t a massive overhaul to Android Jelly Bean but it’s an important update nonetheless.
The software, since late July, has been rolling out to owners of Google’s Nexus devices including its popular Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 7 tablet. It arrived stock on board the new Nexus 7. That isn’t the end of Android 4.3’s story though.
Since that day in late July, we’ve learned quite a bit about Google’s new Jelly Bean update, some good, some bad, but all of it information that current users and future users need to know about.
Here now are the seven most important things that Android 4.3 users and future Android device owners need to know about Google’s latest Android update.
Android 4.3 Has Bugs
Surprise, surprise, Nexus owners are complaining about a host of bugs that have arrived with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. This is something that happens after every single major Android update so it’s not surprising that we’re seeing users report issues. Buggy software is, after all, one of the trade offs of owning a Nexus device.
The Android 4.3 bug list is becoming a lengthy one even with Google and Netflix fixing the issue that was causing Netflix to be unusable on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean devices. Here is a list of the Android 4.3 bugs that we’ve been hearing about, non-stop, from Android 4.3 owners:
- Poor battery life
- Gallery app broken
- Auto Rotation broken
- Slow Charging bug remains
- Boot screen hangups
- UI sluggishness
- Broken applications (MLB at Bat seems to be useless on Android 4.3)
- Broken support for Bluetooth keyboards
That of course are some of the biggest ones that we’ve heard about. There are likely plenty of others that Nexus owners are dealing with at the moment. Point is, those who haven’t update to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean may want to think about holding off until Google releases an update.
We also don’t expect these bugs to be present in non-Nexus devices as we should see carriers and manufacturers weed this stuff out before arrival. That’s not to say that there won’t be issues, but they likely won’t be as numerous as they are right now.
Biggest Feature is For Tablets
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean isn’t a big update but there is one feature that is absolutely fantastic. In Android 4.2, Android tablet owners received Multi-User support, something that is extremely useful for those that may share a tablet with friends or family members, including kids.
In Android 4.3, Google has improved on this feature adding Restricted Profiles for tablet. Restricted profiles allows for users to create a kids profile or a limited use profile that only has access to certain apps and features. Developer support still isn’t where it should be for this feature but thus far, it’s our favorite Android 4.3 feature and a reason why Nexus 7 owners should consider upgrading.
These Devices Are Next
Device owners that don’t own a pure Nexus device are likely wondering when Android 4.3 updates will be touching down. The short answer is that we have no clue as companies remain mum about specific Android 4.3 plans. However, based on history, we know that there are a few devices in particular that should be next in line to Android 4.3.
We fully expect the Verizon Galaxy Nexus and Sprint Galaxy Nexus to beat other smartphones to the Android 4.3 chase. We also expect Asus to be the first company to deliver Android 4.3 to tablets. We aren’t sure which tablet or tablets it will be, but the Asus MeMO Pad HD or Transformer series is a safe bet.
After that, we expect the Samsung Galaxy S4 to get upgraded to Android 4.3 as Samsung is typically very fast at getting its flagship devices update with the latest software.
These Devices Are Skipping to Android 4.3
There will be some devices that skip Android 4.2 Jelly Bean for Android 4.3. As of right now, the only ones that we can seemingly confirm are the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S3.
While Samsung hasn’t announced anything, carriers have suggested that they will be shifting from Android 4.2 development to Android 4.3 development, something that falls in line with rumors that suggested Samsung had given up on Android 4.2 with these two devices.
We also know that the HTC One in the U.S. isn’t likely to skip Android 4.2 and the same can be said about devices like the HTC One X and HTC One XL which appear to be heading to Android 4.2 not Android 4.3.
Galaxy Note 3 & HTC One Max Will Run It
Two of the biggest devices this fall will be the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the HTC One Max. And fortunately for those interested in these big-screened smartphones, they will more than likely be running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean when they arrive on shelves later this year.
Sources have converged on Android 4.3 for both of these devices, something that isn’t surprising. Remember, the Galaxy Note 2 was one of the first to arrive with Android 4.2 out of the box last year.
Of course, both devices will be using heavily modified versions of Android 4.3 thanks to Sense and TouchWiz, but buyers should feel relieved knowing that they will arrive with Android 4.3 and not Android 4.2.
It would have been nice to see Android 5.0 in the cards but that just doesn’t look like it’s happening at this point given it’s rumored late October launch date.
It Will Be Replaced by Android 5.0 This Fall
Speaking of Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, it’s pretty clear that Google is cooking up a new update. The company’s updates since Android 4.1 have been small so the software is due for a big overhaul. Rumors have suggested that Android 5.0 is already out in the wild, something that makes sense considering rumors place its release in October or November.
What this means is that Android 4.3 will only be the king of the hill for a few months. And it also means that there is a chance that some devices could ultimately skip Android 4.3 for Android 5.0.
The Waiting is Easy
Current Android 4.2 and Android 4.1 owners should not be up in arms about the wait for Android 4.3. For one, the update is small and while the features are nice, it’s not a massive upgrade over Android 4.2.
The second reason is that many of Google’s big time services, things like Google Games, Google Maps and Google Now are all available to owners on the Google Play Store.
So while in years past, major Android updates brought huge features to Google’s core services, Android 4.3 is much lighter, making it an update that is much easier to wait on.