Android 4.3 was officially released by Google in July, but it is just now becoming available for many Android tablets and phones. 4.3 is not a completely new version of Android, but more of an update that adds some new features.
So what are the new features and updates it brings?
Using the stock Android keyboard on some devices isn’t too difficult, but on smaller devices it can be a little tough, with users often missing keys. The recent update brings a tweak to the Android keyboard which makes tap-typing easier and more accurate.
Location based Wi-Fi
A wide variety of apps use your device’s location information to ensure accurate maps, updates, etc. There are two main ways your apps can find your tablet’s location – by GPS or Wi-Fi. If you leave your Wi-Fi radio on, the tablet will continually search for connections and report locations. This can drain your battery at a fairly fast rate.
The new update brings a change to the way Wi-Fi is used to report locations. Instead of Wi-Fi being turned on all the time to report, it is now selective, and will turn on the radio only when a location update is needed.
Bluetooth devices rely on Bluetooth connections in order to report information to your phone or interact with various features, such as answering and making calls using the Jawbone and recording your exercise with Fitbit. These devices use a lower-power version of Bluetooth (Bluetooth Smart), which older Android devices were not capable of supporting.
Newer Android devices, like the Google Nexus 7, can support Bluetooth Smart – they are commonly referred to as Bluetooth Smart Ready – and in 4.3 they will be able to connect with devices that use the Smart connection.
Possibly the most important feature introduced in 4.3 is the ability to restrict profiles. This is great for users who share their tablet with others and are looking for a way to limit access to certain apps and content. Profiles can be configured so that a user can’t access any apps at all, or only those that you enable for their profile.
While not incredibly useful for tablets, Android phone users will welcome the new autocomplete feature in the phone dialer. This feature has been available in other mobile systems for a while but has been largely absent from Android.
If you have updated your device to 4.3, you can activate this feature by opening your device’s dialer, pressing on the three vertical squares, selecting Settings and tapping on Dial pad autocomplete. Then when you begin typing numbers on the dialer, you should see suggestions related to the numbers. When you press on one of the suggestions you will dial automatically.