Google unveiled its latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system on Wednesday alongside the latest version of its Nexus 7 tablet. The new version is a much more modest upgrade than the one seen last year, when Google unveiled the original Jelly Bean on the first Nexus 7. That said, there are a few nifty additions to the latest Android version that make it one of the most enterprise-friendly iterations of Google's popular OS to date.
One of the biggest additions to the new Android version is its multi-user Restricted Profiles support. While multiple profile support was added on Jelly Bean 4.2, the expanded service will allow users to vet what apps and services each individual profile can access. While the service is primarily designed for parents, Google has been quick to highlight its business appeal, claiming it will help IT managers in SMBs to more easily control what employees can do with shared work devices, which is an asset considering the number of Trojan apps targeting Android.
Bluetooth Low Energy and 4.0
Another key change is the official addition of support for Bluetooth Low Energy, which comes as a consequence of the larger move to Bluetooth 4.0. It promises to reduce power consumption when running Bluetooth on an Android device, meaning connecting to remote speakers, fitness equipment and other smart devices won't kill the phone's or tablet's battery.
New keyboard, phone dialler and camera interface
The new Android version features improved text and caller input options, though how these upgrades work remains unknown. Google has also tweaked Android 4.3's camera application to arrange icons in an arc as opposed to a full circle.
Support for OpenGL ES 3.0 extensions
One of the less obvious new features is the addition of OpenGL ES 3.0 extensions. Android is the first mobile OS to officially support the new API extensions and the addition is designed to increase game developer interest in the OS, making it easier for them to create 3D games.
While the Android 4.3 upgrade isn't as groundbreaking as the original Jelly Bean update, which added Google's Project Butter code and Now service to the mix, it's still fairly impressive, adding a number of small but important features to the OS to increase developer and enterprise interest in Android tablets.
Android 4.3 is set to be rolled out alongside the new Nexus 7. Google has confirmed that an upgrade will be made available for older Nexus devices shortly after. Check back with V3 later for a full review of Android 4.3.
Written by V3's Alastair Stevenson
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