24 July 2013

Android 4.3 and Updated Developer Tools

Posted by Dave Burke, Engineering Director, Android Platform

Today in San Francisco we announced Android 4.3, a sweeter version of Jelly Bean that includes great new features for users and developers. Android 4.3 powers the new Nexus 7 tablet that's coming soon to Google Play and retail outlets, and it’s rolling out now as an update to Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ devices across the world.

For developers, Android 4.3 includes the latest performance enhancements to keep your apps fast, smooth, and efficient, together with new APIs and capabilities to use in your apps. Here's a taste of what's new:

  • 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.

Check out the Android 4.3 platform highlights for a complete overview of what’s new for developers. To read more about the new APIs and how to use them, take a look at the API Overview or watch the new DevBytes videos.

Along with the new Android 4.3 platform we’re releasing an update to the Android NDK (r9). The new NDK gives you native access to the OpenGL ES 3.0 APIs and other stable APIs in Android 4.3, so if you use high-performance graphics in your games or apps, make sure to check it out.

Last, we’ve updated the Android Support Library (r18) with several key APIs to help you build great apps with broad compatibility. Most important, we've added an Action Bar API to let you build this essential Android design pattern into your app with compatibility back to Android 2.1. For apps targeting RTL languages, there's a new BidiFormatter utility you can use to manage RTL strings with compatibility back to Android 2.1. Also, watch for a new RenderScript feature coming soon that will let you take advantage of hardware-accelerated computation with compatibility back to Android 2.2.

You can get started developing and testing on Android 4.3 right away, in Android Studio or in ADT/Ant. You can download the Android 4.3 Platform (API level 18), as well as the SDK Tools, Platform Tools, and Support Library from the Android SDK Manager.