Android 4.3: Likely Another Flavor of Jelly Bean, Definitely Awesome
All signs are pointing to Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie not being released at Google I/O 2013. What’s more, it probably won’t even be announced. We’ve talked about some probable causes for the delays, though nothing is confirmed at this point. At the May 16, 2013 meetup of The San Francisco Android User Group a “trio of dev gurus from HTC” are making time in their “busy Google I/O schedules” to present to the group. What are the developers from HTC going to talk about? Two things in particular that we’ve heard of: Bluetooth 4.0 and OpenGL ES3.0.
Back in January I went into quite a bit of detail about the evolution of Bluetooth, and why Bluetooth 4.0 is so amazing. If you missed that article, I’m not going to repeat it all now, but I do want to remind everyone that I presented a challenge to Google:
So, Google, here’s your chance. Fix it! Get Bluetooth 4.0 BLE included in the very next update to Android. Not Android 5.0. Not Android 4.3. Get your developers on it and get it into Android 4.2.3. Do it now — before you lose even more customers to Apple.
Low Energy is becoming increasingly important and is opening a whole new category of connected devices, from heart-rate monitors to smart watches. The Pebble smart watch that half the Pocketnow staff wears includes BT4 built in — we just can’t use that feature unless we’ve got an iPhone. Apple’s latest equipment has Bluetooth 4.0 built-in, but Android does not. Some OEMs have included the Low Energy specification in their own Bluetooth stacks, but Google hasn’t done it with the core OS.
Although it doesn’t look like Google will get the new iteration of Bluetooth in Android 4.2.3, it does look very likely that it will be in 4.3. Close enough!
OpenGL ES 3.0
OpenGL ES 3.0 is the latest and greatest graphics layer that is built to take advantage of the newest chips from Qualcomm. The Snapdragon 600 specifically supports the new spec.
The OpenGL ES 3.0 specification was released in August of last year 2012. It’s backwards compatible with OpenGL ES 2.0, which let’s apps (not just games, mind you) add new visual features incrementally, rather than requiring a full re-write or long, drawn-out development cycles.
New in the OpenGL ES 3.0 specification:
- multiple enhancements to the rendering pipeline to enable acceleration of advanced visual effects including: occlusion queries, transform feedback, instanced rendering and support for four or more rendering targets
- high quality ETC2 / EAC texture compression as a standard feature, eliminating the need for a different set of textures for each platform
- a new version of the GLSL ES shading language with full support for integer and 32-bit floating point operations
- greatly enhanced texturing functionality including guaranteed support for floating point textures, 3D textures, depth textures, vertex textures, NPOT textures, R/RG textures, immutable textures, 2D array textures, swizzles, LOD and mip level clamps, seamless cube maps and sampler objects
- and an extensive set of required, explicitly sized texture and render-buffer formats, reducing implementation variability and making it much easier to write portable applications
Android 4.3: Another Flavor of Jelly Bean
Like I said earlier, nothing is official yet, but Google I/O is right around the corner. All signs are pointing to Android 4.3 being announced (and likely released the same day), and that it will be called “Another Flavor of Jelly Bean”.
What about you? What feature do you want to see added to this incremental release of Android? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments!