Yesterday in San Francisco, Google invited national media to breakfast with Sundar Pichai, Google's Senior Vice President of Android, Chrome, and Apps, for a mystery announcement. During the breakfast, Google announced an update to the current Jelly Bean operating system for Android smartphones and tablets.
Officially labeled Android 4.3 and keeping the Jelly Bean name, some of the changes in this update will be useful for families who share a tablet, and users that connect their smartphone or tablet to Bluetooth speakers and headsets. Largely, Android 4.3 performs much like its predecessor. The look and feel of the home screen, app tray, Google Now, and the Notifications center all seem to have made it through the update with little to no changes.
The most useful addition to the Android 4.3 update is the Multi-User Restricted Profiles feature, which lets users control the usage of apps and other content for each individual user profile. While multiple user profiles were already available in Android 4.2.2, the ability to create restrictions was not part of the original individual profile rollout.
The people most obviously to benefit from the new profile controls are parents. In the primary users Settings screen, you will be able to configure a restricted accounts access using sliders to limit time in apps and even limit the ability to make in-app purchases.
Support for Bluetooth Smart technology is also a new addition to Android smartphones and tablets with the 4.3 update that wasn't all that unexpected. While this technology has been available on iOS devices since early 2012, this is a welcomed and necessary addition to the Android operating system. With Bluetooth Smart technology, updated Android 4.3 devices now allow you to connect with the more power-efficient line of accessories that use Bluetooth Smart. This should make the always battery life conscious Android users happy. One more Bluetooth improvement with the 4.3 update is that your devices will now transmit metadata like a song's title and artist to Bluetooth speakers, headsets, and car stereos.
I know many Android users were crossing their fingers for version 5.0, Key Lime Pie, but they should not be disappointed with these performance and user experience -focused updates. The items in this software update were ones that made sense to make available to users without making them wait longer for the next generation Android operating system.
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