At Google’s “Breakfast with Sundar” event yesterday; the Mountain View-based company took the wraps off a lot of Android 4.3 announcements we were expecting – yet there was so much more you may not know about.
Sundar Pichai – head of Android – took the time to gloss over a few of the notable features which would directly affect our experiences from day one.
These include; Restricted “Kid Mode” Profiles, Bluetooth Low Energy support, Virtual Fraunhofer Cingo™ Surround Sound, an Autocomplete Dial Pad, and inclusion of OpenGL ES 3.0 for high-performance graphics.
For the majority of people; they would be more than happy to stop here. After all, it’s only a “minor” update. Yet Google has gone beyond their call of duty here, if we bury into the changelog we can find even more impressive additions and enhancements which may not be immediately obvious.
Along with the first release of Jelly Bean, Google optimised the OS in what they called “Project Butter” to help squash one of the biggest complaints of users – the speed. With 4.3 they’re taking this performance to a new level with vsync timing, triple buffering, reduced touch latency, CPU input boost, and hardware-accelerated 2D rendering. In other words, it’s faster.
Not stopping at simply optimising the OS itself, our favourite little green ‘droid can now render 2D graphical elements including UI, shapes, and text better than ever. They’ve achieved this through improving the stream of drawing commands, multithreading across multiple CPU cores, and improved window buffer allocation. In other words, it’s faster.
Apps which use location are rocketing, and this means our battery life is on a meteoric plummet.
Google has added a new feature which may sound strange to some; but makes perfect sense – WiFi… without the actual WiFi. Two of the biggest battery drainers is continuously scanning for WiFi networks, or using the GPS alone to find your location. Through enabling WiFi (but not actually scanning) a location can be picked up much easier, and with far greater battery efficiency.
New system-level DRM allows media application developers to add a security layer into their streams; such as MPEG DASH. Hopefully, here in the UK, this means BBC’s iPlayer will finally be able to enable the promised ‘Downloads’ feature found on iOS!
One of the most useful additions for all developers could be 4.3’s ability to observe notifications. With the user’s permission, applications can see all notifications and therefore display their own in any way required; including sending them over Bluetooth if applicable.
Developers will also be pleased with the – perhaps overdue – feature of screen orientation locking.
Not impressed? How about Quick Responses? Not just the sending of a text when you can’t answer a call found in other platforms, here, your app can listen for an intent and send a message over your own messaging system! Facebook, Skype… we await your updates.
What do you think about Android 4.3 (and all these cool other features?)