Android 4.3 announced, will make your games look better

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Google last night announced an update to Android, bumping the mobile OS up slightly, from version 4.2 to 4.3. While everybody was expecting the next version of Android to get a new dessert codename (Key Lime Pie), this one still retains Jelly Bean.

It’s fitting, then, that this isn’t a whole new OS. As would be expected of a point release, it merely has a few nice extras, including baked in support for OpenGL 3.0 ES. This graphics language, part of the cross-platform OpenGL system, means that game (and graphics) developers will have more software tools for creating even better-looking games.

Jelly Bean 4.3 also has a few other niceties and tweaks, including:

  • A new dial pad, for phone devices, will auto-predict the contact you’re trying to call by looking at the numbers you’re dialling.
  • An improved tap-typing algorithm for more accurate typing.
  • Support for Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy – this will finally let Android devices work with low-power Bluetooth devices like the FitBit.
  • Integrated virtual surround sound for mobile devices.
  • Restricted profile support – perfect for giving kids a tablet that’s tied down, so they can’t break or buy things.

Things like Bluetooth 4.0 LE and surround sound do rely on hardware support, though. Google also announced a new Nexus 7 tablet, which not only supports these new features, but also ships with Android 4.3.

The new OS is available as of now, for Google’s Nexus devices. Great news for everybody who’s purchased an Asus Nexus 7 tablet, locally, but those dying to get their hands on some of the new features will have to wait for their handset manufacturer to roll out the upgrade in due time.

Christo van Gemert

Christo van Gemert

Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.