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  • dishayu - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    I think this is the first underwhelming Android release. Support for OpenGL ES 3.0 is probably the only thing that I find even remotely exciting. Haven't used bluetooth since 2010, don't want to waste battery with wifi scan thingy, don't want everything DRM-ed and I don't let people touch my phone, so no use for user profiles as well.

    I'm sure there's someone out there who may have a use case for all of those things, but personally, I am very much underwhelmed given that Google took a whole year to come up with this android upgrade.
  • sweenish - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Not a year. 8 (9?) months. Nearly a year, I guess.

    I'm excited, as I hope to see my toro get a second life. While I enjoy 4.2.2, I can't deny that it turned my phone into a bit of a dog. This release looks to turn that around a bit.
  • sherlockwing - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Given 4.2.2 came out in Feburary, it only took Google 5 month. Reply
  • bengildenstein - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    I agree. I was really hoping for some news on Renderscript (at the very least) as the project seems to be mostly stagnant with inadequate amounts of documentation.

    Hopefully some of the bugs in 4.2 have been ironed out, and performance tuned appropriately.
  • gobaers - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Let's not call it before it's analyzed. If 4.3 has substantial optimizations and/or improved battery life, it will be everything I was hoping for, from this release. I can wait for the new bells and whistles. Reply
  • Krysto - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    It's actually a bit more than I expected. I like all the extra security stuff. Reply
  • purerice - Sunday, July 28, 2013 - link

    Extra security stuff... designed by the NSA? Sorry, I couldn't resist.

    Other than that, I am glad they are sticking to minor numerical numbers (4.2 -> 4.3) unlike Chrome browser. Otherwise we'd be on Android 38 Mint Julep today and next week we'd have Android 39 Mojito.
  • web2dot0 - Monday, July 29, 2013 - link

    This is a crap release. Nothing changed. At least they didn't make a big fuss about it .... Reply
  • bobbozzo - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    User profiles would be more useful on tablets than on phones, and I'm very glad to see it's coming. Reply
  • Mikuni - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Actually I think profiles on phones are very useful, I don't fancy lending my phone to a friend or familar to play some game and have them look at my sms and stuff.. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Profiles on a phone are mostly useful for parents handing their young kids a phone as a pacifier. No risk of the kid sending a rude email to your boss or going crazy with micro transactions in a pay to win game if they're only given access to a separate profile. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    IIRC when first launched, android profiles were only available on tablets because of a Nokia patent on doing them on a phone. If they're available on phones now, has the patent expired or should we expect to see another round of patent infringement lawsuits filed by Nokia in the near future. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    ... or they licensed it or they found another way of doing it. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    what sucks is Nokia hasn't used profiles since Symbian Anna Reply
  • Krysto - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    I don't think it's available on a phone now either.

    But what a bullshit patent from Nokia "a way to do X...on a phone" and bam, they have a patent. These sort of patents are of the most annoying kind.
  • Vigneshj - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    Some turn around solutions like guest mode (or incognito mode) could be possible and most likely on upcoming custom roms. It seems lot of users like to have multi user mode in mobiles and definitely Devs might have been looking into it by now.! Albeit, I expected Google to get licensed on Nokia's patent to make that much needed feature available in 4.3, but still have to wait :( Reply
  • erikiksaz - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    I wouldn't expect such large changes from each android version. Google has decoupled most of its core services from android so that users don't need to rely on having the newest android version to have the most updated version of gmail, music, play, or maps. It's smarter to have it this way.

    Newer android versions will probably only have deeper changes or UI changes.
  • cmikeh2 - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Exactly. The casual user cares less for being able to have the most recent version of Android and would rather just be able to experience new features hassle free. The best example of this is Google Play Services. You don't notice that it is updated but Google can provide new APIs to developers without interference from OEMs or cellular operators. Personally I want to see the distribution of Google Play Services versions across Android similar to how it's done with Android versions. Reply
  • Evil804 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Exactly. Maps, music, gmail, and pretty much all the core services got major updates recently separate from the OS to help people out with service providers taking forever to update devices. Had we gotten all the new updated apps as part of 4.3 people would be talking about it being the best update ever. Reply
  • twotwotwo - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    It's interesting that Google has shifted to updating their apps piecemeal. They've been working on Maps, Chrome, Gmail (the tabs), Music, etc. but--all those updates are independent of 4.3.

    Perhaps it gives them more control. Browser.apk is customized by manufacturers, and updates come out as pieces of new Android releases that carriers have to test. Chrome for Android, on the other hand, is updated when Google wants to update it and Samsung and Verizon don't get to say anything about that.
  • name99 - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    So to summarize: as far as the internet is concerned
    - Android 4.3 and new Nexus 7 are underwhelming
    - Win 8.1, what we know of the next WP8, and the new Lumias are underwhelming
    - iOS7 and what we know of the iPhone 5S are underwhelming

    Glad we've cleared that up guys.
    I think the moral here is don't rely on either technology or investment advice from a bunch of male teenagers (and teenagers in older bodies).
  • twotwotwo - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Yay comments, right? The Internet dreams big. Reply
  • Zeratul56 - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    How is iOS 7 underwhelming? It is a complete UI overhaul. While it may be worse then the previous iteration, it certainly is not underwhelming as far as change goes. Windows 8.1 is going to add independent dpi scaling for each monitor and start screen/modern apps on multiple monitors plus a bunch of new modern configurable settings. The new lumia pureview is also due out.

    This only underwhelming this is android.
  • cmikeh2 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Um... You might want to reread that first line... Reply
  • steven75 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    I don't think the internet agrees that iOS 7 is underwhelming. Reply
  • Mondozai - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Maybe you should try to think for yourself instead of following the internet hive mind(when judging A 4.3 & N7).

  • Krysto - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    The Wi-FI scan thing will SAVE battery life, since the wi-fi doesn't have to be turned-on to find the AP. Reply
  • Krysto - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    It was never going to be a major upgrade for users - not with Android 5.0 being 3-4 months away from release. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    That's why it's still called Jelly Bean. Reply
  • Synaesthesia - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Improvements in rendering speed and performance are very deep and far reaching, as well as necessary upgrades for Android. Reply
  • Fergy - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    I found 2.3 and 4.2 really underwhelming. Getting control over app permissions is something I wanted day 1 from Android. And a start towards a more secure Android via SELinux is awesome news. I look forward to using devices with bluetooth low power. Reply
  • kenyee - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    Bluetooth LE is a *HUGE* improvement. That's been severely holding back a lot of the health/exercise related apps and all the competitors (iOS, WP7, BB) have had it for a while now.
    I'm just annoyed this won't work on the older N7 tablets, but I guess my tablet needed an upgrade anyways...
  • xdrol - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Still no OpenCL? Come on.. Reply
  • lilmoe - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Renderscript......... Reply
  • xdrol - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Yeah, and I have even less portable code than with OpenCL.. Reply
  • Krysto - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Good point, but whatever. OpenCL 2.0 is where it's at anyway for heterogeneous computing, and I'd rather they'd just start with that, maybe in Android 5.1 or something, next year, because the spec has just been finalized. Reply
  • tuxRoller - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    SELinux took way too long to get here. You don't get a huge performance hit with it, and running it in permissive mode with logging being sent to Goog so they can start developing appropriate policies (which, frankly, shouldn't be hard given that each installed app asks for its appropriate permissions).
    The improved drawing pipeline is welcome as even their flagship phone can stutter occasionally.
  • watersb - Friday, July 26, 2013 - link

    I totally agree. Reply
  • EnerJi - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Google, where is the find my phone / remote lock/wipe capabilities? Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Apple all have this feature (some of them for years). This should be a core OS feature, not an app. Reply
  • thesmoosh - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Check out the Google Apps Device Policy app. Covers all the scenarios you outlined (thought it may require Google Apps, I'm not sure). Reply
  • EnerJi - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    I did not know about this app, thank you. It seems Google has already solved this problem, but only for Google Apps users! Per the app description: "***THIS APP IS FOR GOOGLE APPS FOR BUSINESS, EDUCATION, AND GOVERNMENT USERS ONLY***"

    Also, I tried navigating to the web page to locate devices, and after signing in with my google account I was admonished to sign in with my Google Apps account instead.

    I'm puzzled as to why Google hasn't opened this up to everyone?
  • EnerJi - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Additionally, where are the improvements to the stock Android Exchange/IMAP email app? The stock email app is atrocious, and has been for years. An Android developer has repeatedly posted that changes are coming eventually and to be patient, but this is starting to get ridiculous.

    It's one of the few areas where I'm jealous of WP7/8 and iOS (and incidentally one of the few areas where a non-stock Android is better than stock, as the major manufacturers replace the stock email app with an improved version of their own.)
  • Spoelie - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    You might want to reevaluate that statement, as the IOS email app at least is several grades below what the *gmail* app (both on IOS as Android) can do, even for basic functionality. It's nowhere near worthy of envy.

    I haven't used stock android email for quite a while, so am in no position to draw any comparisons there.
  • EnerJi - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Trust me, there's no comparison. I've used the iOS email app on iPhones and iPads, and it's not fancy, but it has solid support for Exchange policies and works well. The stock android email app (which is for some inexplicable reason completely separate from the Gmail app) is used for IMAP and Exchange email accounts, and is a completely different story. Reply
  • NickDG - Sunday, July 28, 2013 - link

    I use an iPhone 5 for work email and a Nexus 4 for personal use. I used to use my Galaxy SII and SIII for Active Sync email. I don't see a huge difference between Android EAS and iOS EAS, though I would say iOS is better. Also I believe Microsoft released an Outlook app for Android that only works with Office 365 accounts. Not ideal but its a start. Reply
  • EnerJi - Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - link

    I did a quick search for this app but couldn't find it - a link would be appreciated.

    I'm fairly sure Samsung replaces the AOSP app for ActiveSync email with their own app (which may or may not be based on the AOSP version), and is likely a much better user experience. As a Nexus 4 user, I get the base AOSP app, which is crap.
  • steven75 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Reread his statement. It's quite common to use an email provider other than gmail. Android is terrible for this and is pretty much the exception in the mobile market when it comes to built-in support. Reply
  • jamyryals - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    "the ability to restrict access to certain capabilities per-application"
    Whoa, this is huge. I had not heard of this yet.
  • marc1000 - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    How is use the GPS navigation working on 4.3? recently google integrated it into Maps and eliminated the blue arrow icon, causing a lot of frustration among users.

    Personally, direct and easy access to a good gps navigator is a major feature required on any phone. if 4.3 does not have dedicated gps access, i will look on Lumia phones for my next upgrade.!msg/map...
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Why would you need it to be separate? You enter in your destination and then navigate. Reply
  • marc1000 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Because of the user interface: the navigation app had big, clear and good colored buttons, plus a list of places where i actually GO to.

    By integrating it inside maps we are stuck with small icons, text almost unreadable during the day inside our car, and a few extra clicks required to start navigating. All these changes require the user to spend more time looking at the phone, instead of looking around his environment to prepare to drive.

    In the use case of this kind of app, this kind of change in the user interface has a terrible impact.
  • NickDG - Sunday, July 28, 2013 - link

    If you use Google Now! you just need to tell it where you want to go. No need to open any app. I just swipe up, hit the microphone icon and say the command. Reply
  • EnerJi - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - link

    Marc, I took a look at that link but couldn't reproduce your experience. I'm running Maps 7.02 and Android 4.2, and I still have a Navigation icon in my apps folder. Is there a newer version of Maps out? Reply
  • marc1000 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Enerji, most users are complaining that Maps 7.0x removed the icon to GPS Navigator app (that blue arrow icon), and we can ostart nav from inside maps now. Maybe you got lucky or your app is customized in sway. Reply
  • marc1000 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Some way* Reply
  • EnerJi - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Interesting. I'm running a Nexus 4 with completely stock Android 4.2.2 (haven't received the 4.3 OTA yet). If the removal (or lack thereof) of Navigation is a bug/problem maybe it will be fixed with 4.3 (or more likely, the next version of Google Maps). Let's wait and see. Reply
  • marc1000 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Please tell us how it will end after you get the upgrade please. I will bookmark this post to see your answer in the future. Thanks. Reply
  • EnerJi - Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - link

    I got upgraded to Android 4.3 over the weekend. After the upgrade, I immediately checked my applications drawer and Navigation was still there.

    *However*, at almost exactly the same time I was notified of a Google Maps application update. I allowed the app to update, and after the update I noticed that the Navigation is now gone. I checked the Google Maps version, and oddly enough it's *still* listed as 7.02 (the build number may have changed, but I didn't note it down previously.)

    In summary, it appears you are right and Google is getting rid of direct access to Navigation for some reason. The upgrade to Android 4.3 may have simply been coincidental, and the device reboot that occurs with the upgrade may have simply triggered the Google Play store to download the latest application updates.
  • phoenix_rizzen - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Running Maps 7.0.2 on Android 4.2.2 (Rootbox ROM) on an LG Optimus G.

    The "blue arrow" icon is still there.

    Clicking it brings you to a screen with 4 icons across the top (car, bus, bike, walk) with two text fields below it (Choose starting point; Choose destination). Below that is a list of previous destinations, bookmarks, and more.

    IOW, it takes fewer clicks now, and still works the same way as before.
  • Spoelie - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    What I noticed after using Google navigation for the past years, and now using the built-in GPS in my car (Audi), is that Google still has some serious polishing to do.

    Their minimal interface just makes it unclear what options are hidden where and for the IOS app initially I couldn't find how to even start route guidance. As for the basics I regularly missed highway ramps due to unclear instructions and frustratingly high auto-zoom, without any control over it.

    You would never know it could be so much better if all you use is Google's app.
  • marc1000 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    The map provided by google is not so bad, the zoom works, and it has near-realtime traffic information. The previous app had a great interface that allowed you to go straight to navigating. But now it is like apple, hiding things. A shame. Reply
  • NickDG - Sunday, July 28, 2013 - link

    I'm sorry but Google maps with Nav is one of the strongest applications in Google's lineup. I am constantly hearing from people who aren't technical at all how much they enjoy using it and how reliable it is for them. I have never had any auto-zoom problems and the directions are easy to follow even with the voice muted. Reply
  • milleron - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    It's sure not underwhelming to me. Bluetooth AVRCP 1.3 is something I've been awaiting with alacrity. FINALLY, my "state-of-the-art" Galaxy S should be able to convey song metadata on Rhapsody and Pandora to my auto sound system. This omission has been a black eye for Google/Android for a while now. It's about time . . . but of course I STILL don't have it because it'll probably take Samsung/Verizon another 6 months to implement the damned thing. Reply
  • wtfmorebs - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    New things are all very good but when will they fix the bug that has existed since 2.2.x where at random the OS will receive a txt message (or phonecall) but not inform the user. The user gets informed usually when they reboot their phone. There's an app called ghostlysms that says it mostly resolves the issue but why the heck can't google fix this issue that really makes a mobile phone running android not fit for it's intended purpose? And yes this bug still exists in the latest android version 4.2.1 Reply
  • Pyperkub - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    I'm going to also chime in that the Bluetooth updates/fixes are the main thing I was looking for, as the Bluetooth stack revamp in 4.2 really fouled up a number of Bluetooth things and it really needs to be normalized. Reply
  • DLeRium - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - link

    As much as I love quick reviews, please make sure that you follow up on your promises for a full review... soon. Where's that GS4 review Part 2 for example? Reply
  • DLeRium - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - link

    meant to put this in the Nexus 7 mini review :D Reply
  • andypost - Monday, July 29, 2013 - link

    so, looks like Google is really stretching this version of Android out quite a bit. 5.0 better be a significant bump. Reply
  • CyberAngel - Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - link

    4.4 = KitKat
    Waiting for 5.0 Liquorice...

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