Along with the new Nexus 7, Google unveiled a new Android OS dubbed Jelly Bean 4.3 in the ‘breakfast with Sundar Pichai’ press event today.
Multi User with Restricted Profile
In this new version of Android, Google is introducing Multi User and restricted profile support for its tablet OS to allow different users to customize their personal experience. With restricted profile, one can control access to contents and apps at the user level and allow apps to behave differently. For example, this feature is especially useful to limit the in-app purchase ability of children/toddlers so that bills (for parents) don’t go over the roof.
Also new in Android 4.3 is Bluetooth smart also known as Bluetooth low energy (LE). What it does is it allows Android tablets or smartphones to be paired with low power Bluetooth device while maintaining similar communication range. In the event today, Google demoed a Bluetooth connected heart rate monitor capable of sending signals to enable heart rate monitoring on a smartphone, all while remained hidden under a shirt.
OpenGL ES 3.0
OpenGL ES 3.0 is the newest industry standard for accelerated 3D graphics. With the launch of Jelly Bean 4.3, Android is the first operating system to adopt it. The new standard really takes mobile graphics one further step closer to photo realism.
This reflective jewellery demo by Silicon Studio really showcased the capability of OpenGL ES 3.0 running on the new Nexus 7. In this demo, lightings are calculated and rendered in real time and the reflections are displayed in correspond to the source.
The next demo is a futuristic car chase scene by Unity. The face of the character is casting shadows on itself and it is a complex algorithm made possible only by OpenGL ES 3.0. Another feature of OpenGL ES 3.0 is the ability to render anamorphic lens flare as shown by the head lights in the car chase scene above.
All these eye candies and effects are made possible by OpenGL ES 3.0; couple it with the powerful next generation mobile GPUs, gaming on the go is certainly promising. Both of these demo will be available on the Playstore.
1080p Streaming and DRM APIs
1080p is already a de-facto standard for awhile and Android is finally getting the ability to stream 1080p content with the new DRM APIs. Netflix is the first partner to support 1080p streaming on Android and Nexus 7 is the first tablet to support streaming 1080p content from Netflix.
Also on the 4.3 Jelly Bean feature lists are:
- Virtual surround sound
- Dialpad autocomplete
- Bluetooth AVRCP 1.3 support
- Faster user switching
- Additional language support
In short, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is more of a refinement than upgrade over the previous version. The most significant feature in 4.3 is the new OpenGL ES 3.0 standard. When more game developers start adopting this standard (which is bound to happen), mobile games will take a big step forward in graphics quality.
In addition to shipping with the new Nexus 7, Android 4,3 Jelly Bean will be available to Nexus 4, old Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and Galaxy Nexus soon.