Android 4.3

First glimpse of the next version of Android looks a lot like what's come before

There's a leaked Android 4.3 Jelly Bean ROM out in the wild this morning, in the form of a pre-release build for the 'Google Play edition' Galaxy S4. It's also been ported to the European LTE Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-i9505) in the form of a custom ROM, courtesy of the original source of the leak, Samsung fansite SamMobile.

We've fired up that ROM on our European GS4 and shot a quick hands-on video, giving an early glimpse of the next version of Android. And, well, it looks an awful lot like the current version of Android, supporting earlier reports that 4.3's changes are mostly under-the-hood, rather than user-facing. That means for the most part, we're dealing with the same user experience found on the current Google Play edition GS4.

Check out our video after the break, along with a list of behind-the-scenes changes we've noticed.

Under-th​e-hood changes

Here's a quick run-down of some of the new stuff we've spotted in the leaked 4.3 ROM. Starting with the nuts and bolts —

  • We're seeing "android.hardware.bluetooth_le" listed as a feature in the Android System Info app, suggesting Bluetooth Low Energy support is on-board in Android 4.3, as previously reported. (This feature isn't listed on our Google edition GS4 review unit running Android 4.2.2).
  • Similarly, Bluetooth tethering is present in the 4.3 ROM, while it's absent (bizarrely) on our 4.2.2-based GS4 GE review unit. Other phones like the Nexus 4 have it on 4.2.2.
  • A new checkbox under Advanced Wifi settings allows Google's location service to scan for Wifi networks even when Wifi is turned off and not being used for wireless networking — likely part of Google's new approach to battery-friendly location services.

In Developer options...

  • Multiple options under "Monitoring > Profile GPU Rendering," as seen in this Google I/O video. This lets you view a graphical representation of the time taken to generate a frame, and see whether you're hitting the 60 frames per second target or not. This should help devs create more buttery apps.
  • New debug options for the new non-rectangular clipping feature. This is a new graphical capability for devs in Android API level 18.
  • A new option to "Use experimental WebView" — this likely changes the browsing engine used to handle websites within apps, but we haven't been able to nail down exactly what it does.
  • There's also a button that lets you "Revoke USB debugging authorization." This deletes the RSA key generated for USB debugging authorization from the phone itself — previously you had to do this from the computer side.

Phone and Messaging...

  • By pressing menu in the phone app, you can now add two-second pauses in your dialing string (denoted by a comma) or longer waits (denoted by a semicolon.)
  • In Settings in the phone app, you can now enable dial-pad autocomplete and change DTMF (dual-tone, multi-frequency) tone lengths.

Other bits...

  • There's the new camera app we talked about in our earlier post.
  • Long, multi-word SSID names now wrap properly down to a second line in the quick-settings pulldown.
  • When you take a screenshot and share it via email, the Subject field is automatically populated with the date and time of the shot.
 
There are 85 comments

arjen82 says:

Any hints of a changed bluetooth driver? They were talking about bringing in BLE support

I like your thinking. This might help clarify how valid the leak is.

RustyU says:

That's what I was going to say, also a newer version of AVRCP so that track ID's should appear on BT devices.

commonplace says:

THIS.

bearda says:

AVRCP should be a much easier checkout than Bluetooth LE.

eahinrichsen says:

Oh, would that happen with the right update? That would be awesome. I play audio over BT in my car every day.

bearda says:

Confirmed feature for the next Android API update

Alex Dobie says:

It's real. The Android System Info app reveals android.hardware.bluetooth_le under features, something not present on our GS4 GE review unit running 4.2.2.

In addition we've got some new stuff under developer settings, as seen in this Google IO video, not present in 4.2.2.

commonplace says:

Awesome. Sure hope AVRCP works so I can finally (again) get tags showing up on my car stereo as I stream!

etnpnys says:

What kind of car do you have? The stock stereo in my WRX shows the information fine with my stock GS3...

corndog22cl says:

What year WRX do you have? I have a 2012 and a nexus 4 and it doesn't show tags.

Weird.

eahinrichsen says:

I have a 2011 Impreza (the regular, not-manly-enough-to-drive-a-manual model) and a Nexus 4, and it just displays either "BT AUDIO" or "NO TRACK."

etnpnys says:

2012 as well. Stock stereo / non-nav unit.

WRX FTW!!

And yeah... so I guess one of the commenters below explained this - that it's built in to TouchWiz. I didn't know that.

But I can tell you that my last phone (Nexus S 4G) didn't do it until I put CM10.1 onto it. Maybe give Cyanogenmod a try if it's that big a deal to you? ...It's a pretty sweet feature...

rkirmeier says:

GS3 and GS4 with Touchwise already have this.... Samsung added it just like they added AllShare Cast (Mirrorcast) before Android had it stock.

corndog22cl says:

Ahhh, that makes sense.

Thanks for the clarification.

commonplace says:

I should clarify: I don't have the S4. Just hoping to see that, in general, 4.3 fixes this.

Posted via Android Central App

arjen82 says:

Very cool. Thanks for checking. Can't wait to see what new accessories this will bring.

Now lets hope it lands on my Nexus 4 and 10 soon.

comraderudy says:

this is definitely what i'm looking forward to in 4.3! bluetooth 4.0 BLE would go a long way toward letting us use other devices (fitbit for instance).

Eerth says:

I don't really see the point of this update, couldn't they have called it 4.2.3?

bearda says:

They probably could have, but if they're changing the API level with the inclusion of the new Bluetooth LE stuff I can understand wanting tom do it as more than a minor version bump.

etnpnys says:

I agree with bearda - the standard convention in software development is that you increment numbers like this:

|major rollout| . |maintenance release/new features| . |bug fixes|

Kaalaamaazoo says:

Can you still use floating touch in stock Android on thee S4?

BlackEco says:

Nope, this is a TouchWiz feature.

arjen82 says:

No, this is proprietary Samsung so not available. Just like the eye tracking.

eahinrichsen says:

It's worth noting that the smart cover clock will work with the Google Edition one, though.

zgroten says:

As well as the IR Blaster.

Posted via Android Central App

turdbogls says:

did you even watch the video? he says right in there that the "hover touch" and "FF camera face tracking" stuff doesn't work because it is Samsung/Touchwiz proprietary software.

so in short, NO.

eahinrichsen says:

It's the middle of the day, dude. Some people don't have access to YouTube at work. Chill.

ConTejas says:

Those of us slacking at work can't see or watch those videos....FYI. That said, it should be obvious to anyone that all proprietary features do not work.

KidAndroid says:

Ya but another video I watched the guy showed the list on the phone in the settings menu of included features of the system and one is " UI hover" which one would guess would be the "airview" feature, if not what else would it be?

BlackEco says:

What is that "SE Linux status" at 1:49 ?
Plus, are the new developers features Romain Talks about in his Android Graphics Performance talk with Chet Haase (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQZFaec9Np) there?

thla says:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security-Enhanced_Linux

It was rumored to be in earlier builds of 4.2, but SGS4 (Non-GP Edition) also has it, so not sure if it's actually stock or samsung.

BlackEco says:

Oh yes, I remember it is bundled in the GS4 kernel.
What about the new dev features ?

Alex Dobie says:

Yes, the new developer features are there. I've updated the post a little with this and some other additional info.

thla says:

Did you check into whether or not the SELinux was there in the 4.2.2 GPe rom?

androidalais says:

My thought is why would Google carry on Jelly Bean. That seems to be breaking their pattern considering it went Donut,Eclair,Eclair,Froyo,Gb,ICS,JB,JB, (and if all the preceding rumors are correct Key Lime pie. Thats what leads me to believe that this leak isn't as valid as it seems.

turdbogls says:

those were all pretty major changes to android...where 4.1 to 4.3 is still basically the same.

plus, now, when those android distribution pie charts come out JB will show up on any device running 4.1 or later which equals bigger numbers....lol
in all seriousness, it was said that google is letting manufacturers play a little catch-up on updates while google tries to get things a little more stable and robust on their end.

bangishotyou says:

Yeah, that's what I've read elsewhere as well. That this is about letting manufacturers catch up before unveiling anything really exciting or new on the part of Google.

Jelly Bean's numbers are at what, 30 something percent? I think that's phenomenal considering where we were a year ago. Slowly but surely we're getting people onto updated devices and OEMs are slowly but surely releasing them with the 'latest' version of the OS.

vansmack says:

It's also a cheeky way to defuse the "fragmentation" argument.

One new name for software every year so Google can claim that X% of users are on Jelly Bean. Few people are aware or even care that it's 4.2.2 or 4.3.

ConTejas says:

Fragmentation was about App development and it's been a dead argument for a long time.

Wolfgar2k says:

It's not the first time they've done it. 2.0 & 2.1 were both Eclair (as you pointed out). Honeycomb had 3 version between 3.0-3.2. It's likely they'll change to Key Lime Pie when they decide the update is major enough to warrant a name change.

arjen82 says:

off topic - why can't I open this post in the AC app? It keeps on crashing. Other posts open without a problem.

Anyone else running into this issue?

Alex Dobie says:

Yep. We're looking into it.

Alex Dobie says:

We've fixed the issue. Thanks for hanging in there :)

eahinrichsen says:

Interesting, what was the issue? I've never had problems with an individual post with the app before.

Alex Dobie says:

YouTube spitting out wonky embed code, if you can believe that.

arjen82 says:

Yep, works now

Posted via Android Central App

HAAS599 says:

Lets get this build over to Android Police for a proper inspection.

ConTejas says:

Hey Alex...why not report about OEMs handling the OTAs? You know that's the big reason (most) anyone would buy these GPE devices, right? As in they thought it would be "nexus-like" as in straight from Google.

http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/06/26/google-no-factory-image-or-drive...

Kaiser King says:

The feature I want to see the most in 4.3 is the ability to hide the navigation buttons e.g. swipe up from the bottom to show. Although I love the on-screen buttons, sometimes i just want to hide them in order to use the full 4.7 inches of the screen.

Whyzor says:

I have rooted Nexus 4, just mod your /system/build.prop file and add the line "qemu.hw.mainkeys=1", install "LMT Pie" app and you can swipe from edge & release to press any nav button (it's also faster than swipe up to show navbar, then press again to hit the button). This should work on 4.3 when it comes out for Nexus. Although I'm still hoping for a stock Google update in 5.0. The navbar is such a waste of space on Nexus devices.

taniscontrol says:

You can also get this feature in Cyanogenmod (10.1+ I think) if you don't know how to do the above.

But I'm personally skeptical of this coming to stock Android (either 4.3 or 5.0), for the reasons described below.

taniscontrol says:

Hiding navigation buttons has been available in supported apps since Android 4.0.

Having an extra 48dp at the bottom of your 4.7-inch screen is nice for full-screen apps and videos, but even for power users, hiding the home button was not meant for other apps like, say, your homescreen launcher.

Whyzor says:

Very few apps support full screen. A lot of times notification bar needs to stay and is more useful. Many games need to hide the on-screen navbar because of accidental swipe or touch into that area.

Timbitman says:

why wouldn't you show us the differences?

Tony Vigario says:

Will this work on SAMSUNG GS4 SGH-I337M???

taniscontrol says:

Real or not, this isn't final. Recently Google's used three digits in general "consumer" version numbers, so don't expect 4.3 to be anything final. You should be on the lookout for Android 4.3.1, which I believe is coming soon with (in decreasing order of likelihood):

--New camera,

--Bluetooth LE,

--New bootscreen,

and *hopefully* (wishful thinking here):

--New quick settings (auto-rotation lock & flashlight),

--Improved notification UI (the fact that you can't collapse a notification with 1 finger has bugged me since 4.1 came out).

Timbitman says:

you can collapse a notification with one finger!

taniscontrol says:

There is only a gesture for expanding, unfortunately. Although it's true, once you've initiated the expanding gesture, you can swipe up to collapse. But that's just a silly work-around for a missing gesture that should have been there since 4.1

Saturn1217 says:

No. you expand the notification. And then you can swipe down and then up to close the notification. It is difficult to describe but very intuitive once you try it.

I do this all the time with my GNex and Nexus 7.

taniscontrol says:

It is not intuitive by any stretch of the imagination, and doesn't have its own gesture. Please read my reply to The Peanut Master, currently 2 comments below this one.

Yeah you can collapse notifications with 1 finger. The key is you need to actually swipe down slightly on the notification and then swipe up for it to work. I'm not quite sure why it makes you do this, but it's not really an inconvenience and works perfectly fine (and of course is much better than the two-finger setup expanded notifications were initially released with).

taniscontrol says:

You can do it using this silly workaround, but the gesture is still missing: if you can long-press and swipe down to expand, you should be able to long-press and swipe up to collapse.

Worse, in Android 4.0+, long-pressing on a notification brings up the "App info" button. This is nice to stop spam, but it happens accidentally when you're *really* trying to expand/collapse. This ambiguity in the gestures makes them both awkward, clumsy, and even less intuitive than they already are.

deadlock4400 says:

@Alex Dobie

Thanks for the information.

as Kie Lime Pie will not be provided on Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, Samsung Galaxy Note 1 and so on then it'll be a good finishing about Android OS update if above mention smartphone will be blessed by Jelly Bean 4.3

Thanks in Advance

Rehzonance says:

Why don't Google just release the dang thing to nexus devices.... Then when samsung and the others are thru with their tests they release their version.. Isn't that possible.

Posted via Android Central App

bearda says:

They probably will once it's done.

taniscontrol says:

Has anyone else noticed that the purported new bootscreen animation looks eerily similar to the animation on the New Tab page of Chrome 28+ (the one that lets you see Google doodles)?

Rolandh says:

How come a none nexus device is getting 4.3 before the nexus devices?

I bought a nexus 7 on the grounds that nexus devices get updates before none nexus devices.

Now looks like it's GE Devices get Android updates first, followed by nexus devices then OEM devices when they can be bothered.

Posted via Android Central App

bearda says:

So far -nobody- has the 4.3 update. This seems like a work-in-progress build while they work on porting to the S4. Chances are 4.3 still isn't ready for release on any device, Nexus or GE. Think about complaining after 4.3 officially drops.

rotkiv3451 says:

OK now it's getting annoying! Another Jelly Bean build?????????? I want new features and some UI changes! When Apple does a small update either in its OS or the iPhone everyone criticizes, but Google has done nothing major to their OS since 2011! (sure project butter and stuff were useful, but nothing that special).

iowabeakster says:

In June of 2011, the latest release of Android for phones was 2.3 gingerbread. Tablets were running the initial release of 3.1 honeycomb.

^^This man needs his updates. Google you've done nothing major for him since then. Immediately stop doing the nothing you have done for the last two years. He is entitled to this update with those new features, even if he isn't even sure what they might be yet, or if they will actually be of any use to him.

thinhsonys says:

You want to use the HTC Google One Edition now and always? One, but you want to spend it with the original interface "Nexus experience"? Small things, you will get this by just flash a ROM on a regular One is finished
Read more:http://goo.gl/h8xLU

jalbrant says:

My theory is that 4.3 is not meant to be a major phone update but their plan is to launch a smart watch (explains Bluetooth LE) and a game console (updated OpenGL) in conjunction with 4.3.

Nobody thought to check for Open GL ES 3 support? Which is one of the supposed new features for chipsets that support it, like the snapdragon 600.

How can change my os jelley bean 4.3 actually I had micromax n91 all ready my is is 4.0.4 what can I do change my os

Little tweaks are always awesome, but doesn't look super mega awesome exciting as of yet,, happy android watching and gaming ~

Does it address the wakelock issue identified in 4.2.2 in nexus 4?

Just want to report that there is also now an emoji keyboard under the language options! Haven't seen any other site reporting it.

Posted via Android Central App

SpookDroid says:

All these tweaks and improvements and they still cannot implement AdHoc network connectivity

mikeymop says:

Google also showed that they recently sped up the graphics pipeline. Is there any changes in Android that could reveal this being in the 4.3 update?

emilydecker says:

I.am too happy to hear about this update that offers you number of high end features here. http://www.clickaphone.co.uk/samsung/galaxy-s4/
Thanks

cypherpunk1 says:

I don't see any beneficial feature so far but the date and time auto inserted in the subject of email when you send a screenshot

Man was hoping they would fix the screen timeout bug. So annoying that I have to keep changing my setting every couple of minutes from 2 seconds to 30. And add autocorrect TO the keyboard! Preferably to the Space Bar.