Deep dives into the Android 4.3 software that Google released this week, point to built-in support for 4K displays.
According to Android Police, the Android 4.3 update includes code and references for XXXHDPI. XXXHDPI support allows the operating system and applications to include layouts and assets for displays with pixel densities that are higher than 1080p.
Most high-end Android phones, like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, include 1080p displays, so in theory this would be a pretty big update in video and display quality from even those devices. That being said, comments made by an Android engineer indicate that the feature might not actually be intended for smartphones.
“Standard quantized DPI for extra-extra-extra-high-density screens. Applications should not generally worry about this density; relying on XHIGH graphics being scaled up to it should be sufficient for almost all cases. A typical use of this density would be 4K television screens — 3840×2160, which is 2x a traditional HD 1920×1080 screen which runs at DENSITY_XHIGH.”
Even if it isn’t intended for smartphones, we can’t imagine that an enterprising Android device manufacturer might not add a display with 4K resolution to one of their devices at some point. For example, Sony has already begin using some of the display technology that it includes in its 4K television sets in its mobile phones.
Android Police also found that Android 4.3 also includes a new App Ops feature that gives users more direct control over what is running on their device at any given time. Using App Ops, users can find what applications are causing trouble and deal with them accordingly. Unfortunately, it seems that the feature isn’t ready for prime time yet, which is why it’s hidden in the release.
Android 4.3 also includes support for 1080p high-definition video streaming, restricted user accounts for those who like to share their devices with other family members and Bluetooth Smart/Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility.
Support for the new Bluetooth wireless standards mean that Android devices will be able to communicate with smart watches and other devices without a great deal of battery drain.
Android 4.3 began rolling out to Google Nexus devices this week. The update will go out to devices like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2 over time.