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.
 

Reader comments

Hands-on with leaked Android 4.3 ROM for the Google edition Galaxy S4 [Updated]

85 Comments

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

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.

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

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."

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...

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

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

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.

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).

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.

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|

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.

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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

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.

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).

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.

@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

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.

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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)?

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

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.

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).

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.

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

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.

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

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

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?

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.