Google officially unveils Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

Google has finally announced a new version of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, at its breakfast event in San Francisco today. The news is officially announced by Android and Chrome head Sundar Pichai.

As expected, version 4.3 brings new features and tools for developers, including Bluetooth Low Energy support and new for Developers to interact with Android’s notification center. Android OEMs have long been able to add Bluetooth 4.0 support to their own Android builds for their phones, but this is the first time that support has been incorporated into the core of Android.

The new OS will also feature multi user restricted profiles. This will let users control access to contents and apps per user. So, for example, parents can control which applications their kids can access. When accessed from restricted profiles, applications behave differently. On stage, Hugo Barra demonstrated this by showing a puzzle game whose in-app purchase functionality was automatically disabled when it was accessed on the kid’s restricted profile.

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on Nexus
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on Nexus

OpenGL ES 3.0 is on-board, making Android the first platform to support the new standards. New DRM APIs allow content providers to deliver more options, for example Netflix has released a version of their app that streams in 1080p.

Android 4.2’s camera interface has also been swapped out for a new version identical to what we’ve seen in Google Play edition phones like the Galaxy S 4 and HTC One. Where Android 4.2 arranged its camera settings in a circle, Android 4.3 arranges them in an arc that you navigate by dragging your finger through it.

Primarily, though, this is another maintenance release for Jelly Bean, and the 4.3 release builds on what was already there in 4.1 and 4.2. Most of the new additions to the Android code base are focused on getting the OS prepared for connecting to wearable devices (with Bluetooth LE) and helping developers make even better applications.

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean will be hitting Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 10 devices from today, so now’s the time to start hammering that “Check for updates” button, if you’re into that sort of thing. Google Play edition phones are promised updates “very soon.”