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Google is holding a quiet “breakfast” this morning for some folks on the west coast and made a few notable announcements, including the release of Android 4.3 and a new Nexus 7. First things first as the company announced some notable sales figures as they surpassed over 50 billion apps downloaded through the Play Store. Revenues have increased more 2.5x per user with more than 1 million apps now filling the Play Store halls. As for the Android tablet market, that’s now increased to more than 70 million devices, 10% of which are the now old Nexus 7 model.
As for the “new” Nexus 7, it adds a processor with that is 80 percent faster than its predecessor in the form of a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro. RAM has doubled to 2GB as Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and 1920×1200 display now grace the device. The new Nexus 7 will work on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile LTE all in a single device powered by 9 hours of HD video or 10 hours of browsing battery life. The price will come in at $229 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, $269 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model and $349 for the 32GB LTE model. Google believes that tablet sales will overtake PC sales by years end, so they are clearly going to put some marketing muscle behind the new Nexus 7 device. Availability begins July 30th.
As for Android 4.3, the new, new edition of Jelly Bean will begin shipping with the Nexus 7 and come to other Nexus devices later today. Google Play Edition HTC One and Galaxy S 4 updates will start happening “very soon.”
As for the changes themselves, there’s nothing earth-shattering but some nice new under-the-hood features that will make developers smile.
New features include Multi-user restricted profiles which is great for families as it allows access to limited content. This will also make the Nexus 7 great for retail stores to use as a point-of-sale, but parental controls may be the best use case. Android 4.3 adds Bluetooth Low-Energy support, Open GL-ES 3.0 which adds much improved graphics for games, new DRM APIs, notification access which according to the official Android Blogspot “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.” Throw in easier text support, new languages and a new Netflix app with 1080p streaming that the new Nexus 7 is the first to support and there you have it, Android 4.3.
- 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.
Developers can read all about the full Android 4.3 changes on the Android Developers blog linked below.
Android Developers Blog
Image courtesy of The Verge