Android 4.3 Jelly Bean's 10 Best New Features for Mobile Users

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-07-26 Print this article Print

As expected, Google on July 24 announced a new version of Android Jelly Bean. The new flavor, known as Android 4.3, comes with several new features and improvements that should help the mobile operating system compete even more effectively with its chief contender, Apple's iOS. And for Google, competing with iOS is about as important as increasing its stature in the mobile-ad space and establishing its brand as the dominant force in smartphones and tablets. Apple is that much of a threat. Still, Android is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, Android comes with several outstanding features that make iOS look rather obsolete by comparison. On the other, Android is dogged by an increasing number of malware attacks, and there's a real possibility that over time, Google's mobile OS becomes the go-to place for most malware creators. In other words, another Windows-like scenario could play out, only this time it would happen in mobile. But right now the good times keep rolling in, and Android 4.3 looks like it is the operating system's best version yet from a feature standpoint. The eWEEK slide show looks at the best features available in Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean's 10 Best New Features for Mobile Users

    By Don Reisinger
    0-Android 4.3 Jelly Bean's 10 Best New Features for Mobile Users
  • Profile Controls Will Be Nice for Parents, Enterprise

    Google unveiled new profile controls in Android 4.3 that are designed to give parents and IT decision-makers the power to determine what a certain user can and cannot do on a particular device. The controls allow for management of everything from apps to Web browsing.
    1-Profile Controls Will Be Nice for Parents, Enterprise
  • Multiple Users Across Tablets

    Android tablet users will be happy to find that the new operating system will now allow for full multiple-user control. What that means is multiple people can set up their own accounts on the device and log into their own profiles. From there, they'll see only the apps that they've actually downloaded.
    2-Multiple Users Across Tablets
  • Enhancements to Android Security

    Google claims Android 4.3 comes with several enhancements to the way security is handled in the operating system. One of the biggest improvements is its handling of sandboxing and forcing all apps to work within a sandbox. Whether it'll help security, however, remains to be seen.
    3-Enhancements to Android Security
  • Wireless Streaming to a TV Through Miracast

    Any television that supports the Miracast technology will be capable of receiving wireless television transmissions from Android 4.3. That means if a user is watching a television show or movie on a mobile device, she can instantly get it up and running on her HDTV and continue watching it there. Nice.
    4-Wireless Streaming to a TV Through Miracast
  • The End to LCD Photo Frames?

    Android 4.3 comes with a new Daydream feature that's designed to make the tablet a companion in a given room when it's turned off. One of its implementations is the ability to be used as a photo frame, showing off different photos on the screen. It's a neat feature that might appeal to some users.
    5-The End to LCD Photo Frames?
  • More Beaming, More of the Time

    In Android 4.3, Google has added the ability to stream both video and photos wirelessly between devices. The feature is essentially Android's answer to Apple's AirDrop, and like the iPhone maker's offering, it works quite well.
    6-More Beaming, More of the Time
  • Enhanced Widget Handling Will Be Useful

    Google's Android 4.3 also features the ability to handle widgets more capably than in previous versions. When a person adds a widget, the items on the screen around it automatically move around it. The widgets can be placed just about anywhere, allowing for easy access to important information.
    7-Enhanced Widget Handling Will Be Useful
  • Did You Say, 'Swype?'

    Android 4.3 delivers what Google is calling a "gesture keyboard." The feature is essentially the same technology that was created by Swype, allowing people to slide their fingers around the virtual keyboard and, based on where they go, to have that information show up on-screen. It has been known to work well, but whether it'll provide the same value in Android 4.3 remains to be seen.
    8-Did You Say, 'Swype?'
  • A More User-Friendly Camera Feature

    One of the nicest additions to Android 4.3 is an improved camera feature that provides a wider view through the lens and the ability to quickly and easily pan around and snap photos. Overall, the feature appears to be far more user-friendly.
    9-A More User-Friendly Camera Feature
  • More Powerful Notifications

    Since Android was the first platform to deliver a notification center, it would only make sense that the operating system would be the first to provide extra functionality in that menu. In Android 4.3, users will be able to choose different options based on the notification type. So, if there's a missed call, a person can opt to call back from within notifications or make a note to do it at a later time. It's a nice feature.
    10-More Powerful Notifications
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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