Google unveiled the latest update to its Android platform, which it said provides developers with “the latest performance enhancements to keep your apps fast, smooth and efficient, together with new APIs and capabilities to use in your apps”.
Android 4.3 will initially be available to owners of an updated Nexus 7 tablet, with other Nexus devices updated in the coming weeks.
However, it is likely to be some time before Android 4.3 is made available to owners of devices from different vendors – if at all.
The search giant said that games developers can now take advantage of OpenGL ES3.0 and EGL extensions as standard features of Android, with access from either framework or native APIs.
The platform also comes with integrated Bluetooth Smart support, enabling the creation of apps which work with accessories such as heart monitors and smart watches. This can power new features for fitness, medical, location, proximity apps “and more”, Google said.
Android 4.3 also introduces support for restricted profiles, enabling device owners to manage what is available to users, for example to prevent children accessing adult content. Google said that this also offers developers “more value and control to users”, by enabling apps to work in line with these settings – for example with media apps managing the content available to users based on profile.
It also gains a modular DRM framework which 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.
Supporting the new features, Google is releasing an update to its Android NDK (r9). This provides native access to the OpenGL ES3.0 APIs and other stable APIs in the platform, targeting developers who used “high-performance graphics” in their products.
And Google has updated the Android Support Library (r18) with “several key APIs”.