The Android 4.3 update is an incremental upgrade for Android that will hold users over until the Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie update expected later this year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any exciting new features in the Android 4.3 update.
Android 4.3 is already on the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, including the older Nexus 7, and should soon be arriving on the Galaxy Nexus. It will take longer for an HTC One Android 4.3 update with Sense 5.0 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 update, but the Google Play Edition devices should see updates very soon.
Samsung is reportedly skipping the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3 Android 4.2 update to deliver an Android 4.3 update that includes the new features. If that’s the case, users will get a lot of great new Android features at once.
We’ve shared which phones we think will get the Android 4.3 update next, which should help answer the continual question of, “When will my phone get the Android 4.3 update?”
New Android 4.3 Features Video
Check out the four-minute Android 4.3 video below to see the new Android 4.3 features that should arrive as an update to Nexus and regular Android devices in the coming weeks and months.
The Android 4.3 update adds Restricted Profiles to tablets, adding to the multiple profiles feature Google introduced with Android 4.2. The new feature lets users create a kids profile or a limited use profile that only has access to certain apps and features.
This allows parents to restrict the use of a device’s camera, apps in general and in app purchases. Unfortunately to completely take advantage of this developers will need to support the added profiles which are only available on tablets.
Android 4.3 supports Bluetooth LE and Bluetooth Smart out of the box which paves the way for better Android fitness accessories and wearables.
There is still no Nike FuelBand Android app, but this new feature which will add functionality to some devices and make it easier to support on new devices could help app-enabled accessories grow as fast on Android as they have on the iPhone.
1080P HD Video & Virtual Surround
The Android 4.3 update adds virtual surround sound to supported devices and makes it possible to stream movies in 1080P thanks to new DRM.
Surround sound comes from Fraunhofer Cingo mobile audio technology and sounds good on the Nexus 7 (2013). This reportedly works on other Nexus devices, but Google doesn’t name them.
Thanks to a new DRM, Netflix can stream in 1080P, delivering better looking video to the user. With the DRM in place hopefully we will see other services on board soon.
Dial Pad Auto Complete
Android devices will now support autocomplete from the dial pad. This means you can type a name or number and after a few digits it should show the number on screen.
This will show three contacts on screen at once and users can tap on them to dial without finishing the number. It’s a handy feature that many Android devices with skins overtop already offer.
Better Location Through WiFi
With Android 4.3, phones and tablets can use WiFi scanning to better determine your location even if WiFi is off. WiFi is often more accurate than GPS in densely populated areas, which makes this a handy feature.
Simply go to WiFi-> Settings -> Advanced -> Scanning always available -> checked.
Doing this will turn the feature on and improve your device’s ability to figure out where you are for directions and check-ins even when you have WiFi turned off to save battery life.
Better Gaming and Graphics
Android 4.3 bundles in the new Google Games app which offers leaderboards and matchmaking, and it includes Open GL ES 3.0 support which should result in better looking games.
Open GL ES 3.0 is the latest version of the industry standard for high-performance graphics, which may also help games come to Android faster.
New Camera App and Volume Key Support
The Android 4.3 update delivers a new camera app with faster access to the settings thanks to the ability to tap and hold anywhere on screen. This is a nice addition, but one not every users will see as Samsung, HTC and many others will likely continue to use their own camera apps.
Users can also use the volume keys to take photos. This is new as a stock Android 4.3 feature, but some users may already have it on skinned devices.