Android 4.3

Bluetooth LE, OpenGL ES 3.0, new Wifi location settings and improved touch response

A week out from the likely announcement of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, we've just come across a second leak of the next version of Google's mobile OS. Android 4.3 (build JWR66N) originally leaked out for the Google Play edition Galaxy S4 a few weeks back, and today the same build is floating around for the Nexus 4. So we've decided to take it for a spin, and bring you some a quick look at how the next version of Android handles on Google's reference phone.

Check out our hands-on video after the break.

On the face of it, we're still dealing with a user experience that's very close to Android 4.2, and this build doesn't contain any major new user-facing features. You need to dig a little deeper to find what's new in Android 4.3, at least in its current incarnation. So far we've been able to dig up references to Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) and OpenGL ES 3.0 support, new dialer options, an "always on" option for Wifi-based location services and a new camera app. There are also new several new options for developers, and a hidden "Notifications" area in the Settings app.

But perhaps the most significant changes for Nexus 4 owners are the improvements made to touch sensitivity. Some have complained of low touch sensitivity on the device, particularly when tapping small on-screen items like the keyboard, and the 4.3 update seems to bring much improved touch sensitivity to the Nexus 4. (The difference on the leaked ROM is noticeable, and we've used the Nexus 4 for long enough to know we're not imagining this change.)

Check out our hands-on video above, and hit the comments to share your thoughts.

More: Hands-on with Android 4.3 for the Google Play edition Galaxy S4

 

Reader comments

Android 4.3 on the Nexus 4: A second look at the next version of Android

120 Comments

It's been a thing since kids have been kids... ;) I'm pretty sure EVERYONE has tried to win a fake (and stupid) race just to claim they were first at some point in their lives.

Any word on if some of the long-standing Nexus 4 bugs have been squashed? Bluetooth not working while being connected to a 2.4 Ghz wifi access point and ARP requests being dropped when the screen is off are the two big ones.

Those two bugs plus the lack of AVRCP have me ready to switch back to my iPhone 4S. If they're addressed in 4.3 I'll be a happy camper.

Wow....smart move. It always amazes me how some people can bitch and moan about the most minor details. Have fun with your chastity belt

I wouldn't call wifi not working when Bluetooth is on a minor issue. That said, I've never experienced this issue.

My Bluetooth works fine on WiFi however my Bluetooth connection will crash from time to time, results in a phone power off & back on. Hope 4.3 fixes this.

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I have, and it's frustrating.

It's a pretty big deal for those of us who need to be able to talk and use the phone's connection at the same time (like for work, perhaps).

nb

Not getting any notifications as they come in while you're on wifi isn't exactly a small issue. You literally have to wait 15 minutes or turn the phone to get any notifications that are coming in over wifi.

...ever wonder why you get bombarded with notifications when you turn your phone on at home?

Then you are doing something wrong....I get all my notifications immediately when on wifi. Sometimes I get them on my phone before I do on my desktop pc!!

Same here when notifications come in for me on wifi I hear them come in on both my nexus 4 and my nexus 10... they actually seem to hit my nexus 4 shortly before the tablet to be exact.

This is your ISP/Router most likely. I have the same issue with Virgin Media in the UK, there are forums threads on it. Tested on two different phones myself.

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What can I say, I have simple needs. Most of them involve reliability.

Right now:
- My Pebble drops it's connection whenever my phone connects to my office's 2.4 Ghz wifi.
- Whenever I drive past a Starbucks my phone disconnects from my car's bluetooth system.
- I can use my gym's wifi for streaming music or my wireless headphones. Not both.
- If I haven't had the screen on in the past 15 minutes while on wifi there's a 50% chance I'll get an email notification. If the phone is in deep sleep when my router tries to send the push notification and it can't get an ARP response the notification only comes up ones I unlock the phone.

Like I mentioned before, Google has acknowledged it's an issue in Qualcomm's driver code and that they have a fix. That fix didn't make it into 4.2.2. If it doesn't make it into 4.3 I can only assume they're not serious about supporting the Nexus 4.

My iPhone met my needs, and although I enjoy some of the added features the Nexus 4 provides if it can't get the basics right it's not for me. That's all there is to it.

"Whenever I drive past a Starbucks my phone disconnects from my car's bluetooth system"

Caffeine alerts. That's not a bug, that's a feature. :-)

It always amazes me how teenage Android fanboys like you can be so whiny when someone brings up a real issue. This is a known long standing issue that a lot of people have been unhappy about for some time.

Ive had teh n4 since nov. and none of these problems. and just use wifi remote to control everything. i can see how bt would be nice for car stereo, etc.

actually, Bluetooth audio has come a LONG way. The new protocol sounds MUCH better than it used to. Good enough for listening in a car anyway.

Not sure what you're referring to as the new protocol, but keep in mind that Nexus devices do not have aptX.

I can tell you that it has avrcp 1.3 from the Bluetooth certification document.
Its safe to say that this is a bluetooth update so lot of issues should be fixed.

I've never had any issues with Bluetooth while being connected to a 2.4Ghz AP. I'm just looking forward to the Bluetooth LE support!

I have the same problem with bluetooth interfering with 2.4Ghz wifi on both my Galaxy Nexus and my Nexus. The problem happens when bluetooth is actually in use (transmitting audio to a speaker or stereo headphones), not when it's simply connected and dormant. When I streaming music/video from the web and send the audio to a bluetooth speaker, it stops to cache every few seconds. If I'm using bluetooth to stream content that's stored locally on the device, there's no problem with the bluetooth audio, but if I have a background app downloading something over wifi at the same time, the wifi speed slows to a crawl. When I pause the bluetooth audio (but still connected) wifi speed jumps back up to normal. I've confirmed this with wifi speed tests done while bluetooth audio is playing and paused.

On the Galaxy Nexus I switch to my 5Ghz wifi network to get around the problem, but not every location has 5Ghz wifi, so it's not a reliable solution. It's also annoying to have to continually switch my phone's wifi between 5Ghz-only and auto. That's not an option on the Nexus 7, which doesn't work on the 5Ghz band. I found that setting my home wireless router to broadcast on channel 11 helped reduce the problem on the N7, but only a little; but it still buffers.

Decent but not major update as we've all known already. I'm glad they're taking their time with 5.0. I expect SWEEPING changes with KLP.

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It works by sideloading it, and then installing a flash compatible browser.

I'm assuming 4.3 would be the same.

The whole "Flash support" thing is not Android. Adobe has discontinued Flash across the board, not just on mobile, in favor of HTML5. They're still updating the existing Flash player, but they're not making versions for new operating systems anymore. Some browsers (such as Chrome for Android) don't support flash, even if you have the hacked APK installed.

Yeah that will never work. Unless perhaps with an external power source.

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Because these are minor tweaks (not worth a 0.1 bump, should be 0.0.1) that could be easily rolled into a larger update if one was coming soon.
Google is also mindful of the fractured OS argument and JB is just now starting to get a majority of users.
I'd love to see more, since this update is incredibly weak, but the minor nature of this update to me says there isn't something coming this fall. Though I hope I'm wrong.

Technically a minor update now makes a bigger update later more likely, not less likely.

My train of thought: The current update is (precisely because it is minor) unlikely to be a product of the "full" Android team.

Which means - either the Android team got downsized significantly - which I find unlikely, considering that the Mobile sector is still a very competitive field - or a lot of them are working on a long term (aka bigger change) Android project (i.e. a more efficient Kernel).

Correct... Last year nexus 7 came out and introduced jelly bean 4.1... Then the nexus 4 came out and introduced jelly bean 4.2... So maybe this year it's backwards. 4.3 for the tablet and then 5.0 for the phone?

the addition of opengl es 3.0 is HUGE news. Plus the new rendering pipeline and new audio thread improvements (sadly i don't think they've fixed recording latency yet).

Really? So a new Nexus with a larger screen, better battery, better processor, more RAM and a better camera would be a fail without an OS bump? A phone is hardware first and foremost.

You really don't get the Nexus program, huh? I'll bet you the internetz the N5 has KLP. Generally accepted principal by anyone remotely in the know (aka devs that need to know).

I'm also curious about the new Bluetooth stack and if AVRCP has been updated so I can get album info on my car's head unit when playing music from my phone.

i have a 2011 ford escape with Sync and touch screen, i booted up the google music app but couldnt get track information to play over, will try with different apps and see if i can get it to work

Is the Wi-fi issue fixed? Mainly the one where it turns off when the screen is off (when it shouldn't), thus you get delayed notifications, broken anti-theft, and so on.

As said in those threads, the ARP problem is real for most of us, but the Wifi doesn't turn off, it's just the notifications that get delayed. If your Wifi is fully non-functional you're having a different issue than the one on those threads. For the record I'm not having it.

One thing I've been hoping (perhaps wishing) is that they've improved picture quality in 4.3. Any signs of that?

I hope you're being sarcastic.

I too am really hoping they tweaked the camera's software to produce better images. Instead of just replacing the camera settings.

What is RAM usage looking like on 4.3? I remember reading that people were seeing half the usage on the GPe S4. Mine uses around 680MB right now.

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im always around 500 - 550. unless heavy usage like video to tv. never been a problem on mine. My friend has one and he says he is always around 800 - 900. he is one complaining. thats a big difference and dont understand why.

Who the flying hell cares what number it is?? An update is an update!! A number is just a number....it plays no bearing on how the update functions, or what's included.

4.3 leaked on a Nexus 4 in May...

More pumped for the N7 2, but always love me some new software to play with. Nexi FTW!

They always release an a android update with a nexus device don't they? They're about to with the nexus 7 2. And this November we'll probably be getting a new nexus phone so I'm thinking this November we'll also get 5.0?

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Most of us are yet to update to 4.2 and now there's 4.3, just how big of a deal is this new update

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OOOOOOO....T9 dialer built in. about GD time google :)
any idea if this works on the name of the contact and not the number?

Yeah, volume output. I've tweaked the EQ, messed with volume settings, all to no avail. I've looked around and I'm not the first to complain that volume output from the audio jack is low.

If you want better sound, get the latest kernel from Faux, and his Faux sound app. Makes it much louder, and clearer. Just remember you need to stop all audio before your changes take effect.

I'll look into that. I haven't had the time (or guts to try something like that) as of late. Thanks for the tip!

I'm excited about the improved sensitivity. How about the color calibration? Any improvement?

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It affected mine a lot. Sometimes it wouldn't detect I pressed the space bar in land scape mode .

Posted via Android Central App using my (mystical) Nexus 4

It is the driver that was causing light touches to not register. Some people were using a script to roll back the touch driver to get better sensitivity. I never did because like you I have no issues, but with the debugging options I could confirm touches below a certain threshold did not show, when people on the older driver could make them register.

Exactly. Every time I have the phone plugged in my PC with debugging set to ON the screen becomes mostly unresponsive.

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I want to know if there are fixes for the MSM_HSIC wakelock. Kernel and ROM devs have tried to reduce it but it still wastes a lot of battery.

What about the Bluetooth MAP Profile? It's used for the Uconnect software for dodge, Chrysler, etc. And let's the vehicle system read out text messages (hands free).

My GS3 was stolen and I replaced it with a Nexus 4. I did notice the crappy touch sensitivity on the Nexus 4. That is probably my biggest gripe about making the transition between these two phones. But hey... for $350 I can't really complain too much about the Nexus.

I'm running the stock ROM and the stock kernel on a rooted device. Do I need to unroot my nexus 4 in order to update OTA when 4.3 is officially available?

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