26 Jul 2013
The latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean - what’s new?
This latest version of Android Jelly Bean has many good, solid new features for both developers and just users.
Now it has Support for Restricted Profiles:
Previously Android has allowed you to have multiple users for some time now, but with this version you can finally have restricted profiles. For example this feature is very useful for users who have kids. Also, restricted profiles are also ideal for guest users, kiosks, and point-of-sale (POS) devices.
So now you can set up separate environments for each user with fine-grained restrictions in the apps that are available in those environments. According to Google, "Each restricted profile offers an isolated and secure space with its own local storage, home screens, widgets, and settings. Unlike with users, profiles are created from the tablet owner’s environment, based on the owner’s installed apps and system accounts. The owner controls which installed apps are enabled in the new profile, and access to the owner’s accounts is disabled by default."
This achieved with the use OpenGL ES 3.0. Now the users can enjoy much higher quality graphics in their games and videos. Currently this is only supported on the new Nexus 7, Nexus 4, and Nexus 10 devices.
And software developers from now can use OpenGL ES 3.0 developing their programs.
Support for Bluetooth Smart Ready
Bluetooth Smart Ready is a new family of Bluetooth devices. The devices are designed as sensors.
In Android 4.3, with application programming interface (API) support for Bluetooth Generic Attribute Profile (GATT) services, you can create Android apps that will support these devices. This represents a new and potentially very profitable market for Android developers and their Bluetooth hardware partners.
It is about the notifications at the top of their Android display. I know I do. For the previous versions this new version of Android appeared developers couldn't access this data stream. Now they can. That is, if you, the user, allow them to.
What developers can do is register a notification listener service that, with your blessing, will receive all the data notifications when they're displayed in the status bar. Developers can then launch applications or services for a new class of "smart" apps.
Improved Digital Rights Management (DRM)
This will enable developers to more easily integrate DRM into their own streaming protocols such as MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) (PDF Link).
Google has also added new media DRM framework APIs and improved the existing ones to provide an integrated set of services for managing licensing and provisioning, accessing low-level codecs, and decoding encrypted media data.
The net effect of these changes is it will make DRM easier to manage and it should make video streams with DRM, which are pretty much all of them these days, look and play better.
The latest version of Android will start July 24th. The original Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets, and Google's Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus smartphones, will get the upgrades over the air. After that, the Google Play editions of the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One will get the upgrade.