After weeks of rumors and expectations, Google has officially introduced Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Details in the update include multi-user profiles with restricted profile settings, Bluetooth Smart support, Open GL|ES 3.0 support, and DRM API’s.

The new Nexus 7 is the first device to ship with Android 4.3; updates will roll out to current devices such as the first-gen Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Nexus 4, and Galaxy Nexus. If you own one of these products then you’re advised to keep an eye on your status bar and notifications!

  • OpenGL ES 3.0 — Game developers can now take advantage of OpenGL ES 3.0 and EGL extensions as standard features of Android, with access from either framework or native APIs.
  • Bluetooth Smart — Now your apps can communicate with the many types of low-power Bluetooth Smart devices and sensors available today, to provide new features for fitness, medical, location, proximity, and more.
  • Restricted profiles — Tablet owners can create restricted profiles to limit access to apps, for family, friends, kiosks, and more. Your app can offer various types of restrictions to let tablet owners control its capabilities in each profile.
  • New media capabilities — A modular DRM framework enables media application developers to more easily integrate DRM into their own streaming protocols such as MPEG DASH. Apps can also access a built-in VP8 encoder from framework or native APIs for high-quality video capture.
  • Notification access — Your apps can now access and interact with the stream of status bar notifications as they are posted. You can display them in any way you want, including routing them to nearby Bluetooth devices, and you can update and dismiss notifications as needed.
  • Improved profiling tools — New tags in the Systrace tool and on-screen GPU profiling give you new ways to build great performance into your app.

For a full breakdown of all things Android 4.3, head to the official page for developers.

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  1. Why do we need DRM built into the OS? All attempts to do this on larger platforms (Windows, Intel chips) have run flat and we have plenty of content without the DRM drag today. While Apple and Amazon have moved to DRM free models, Google is suddenly paddling backwards.

    • Amazon…DRM free? LOL! Amazon’s entire app store is one giant DRM model. They also support heavy DRM in their streaming video offering. Apple also has heavy DRM in their internet radio offering. The only place either company has no DRM is for sales of .mp3 tracks. Google is supporting some DRM options because they are supported on rival platforms (like Windows and iOS), and those content holders/developers won’t make their content widely available on Android without DRM in place. Don’t confuse supporting current DRM options with utilizing DRM for content delivery. Google All Access, for example, uses no DRM to speak of. With the native support for VP8, Google is also giving developers options for using DRM-free and royalty-free video. If anything, Google is the leader in pushing DRM-free options.

  2. So I just sideloaded my nexus 7 (purchased from Officeworks) with the factory android 4.3 image. It’d gotten quite laggy on 4.2.2, so it’s great to see it running quickly again. As an interesting side note, I can now use Play Music’s “All access” feature as it gave me the option to try the 30 day free trial upon opening the app (it also asked for credit card info and didn’t kick me out when it saw it was an australian card). It also now allows the all access content on my galaxy S3 and supports concurrently playing different tracks from the all access library on different devices. I wonder if it’ll keep working after the trial……?

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