It's been a busy week in the Android space, and this evening Google appears to have hit the button on the Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean MR2) update for the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play edition phones. I just got the 4.3 OTA notification on both of my Google-suppled GPe phones. The update is around 150 MB for the SGS4 and 180 MB for the HTC One, and comes as build JWR66V. This comes immediately after both HTC and Samsung released their Android 4.3 kernel sources online. Seems as though Google made good on its promise for speedy updates to the Google Play edition phones, as this comes about a week after the official Nexus program 4.3 OTA started. I'll be digging around inside to see if anything major sticks out beyond what's expected from 4.3. 

 

 
Left: HTC One, Right: SGS4

For more on what's new in Android 4.3, check out my previous post or the official Android platform highlights post for 4.3

 
Left: HTC One 4.3, Right: HTC One 4.2

Update: Major changes seem to be increased icon sizes on the widget panels as shown above on both HTC One and SGS4, and working IR on the HTC One, thanks @nkj. Bluetooth tethering has also been added to the SGS4 GPe, meaning I can finally use that device with Google Glass and my Parrot Asteroid Smart head unit, which both require Bluetooth internet tethering to work. The solid black background on the SGS4 GPe in settings and other places has also been replaced with the stock Android 4.x gradient. 

 
Left: Bluetooth Tethering added on SGS4 GPe 4.3, Right: Gradient behind elements instead of solid black

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  • Mondozai - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Which is why Motorola's engineers are pretty pissed by Google's neglect of the company. But Google understands that it can't be seen playing favourites too heavily as other OEM's will lose interest. Of course, nothing really threatens the domination of Android this year or next year but things move very fast, just look at the decline of Symbian in the 2009-2011 period.

    If Google is perceived as overtly picking favourites that will hurt them down the line. So Motorola simply has to deal with it.
    Reply
  • Kidster3001 - Monday, August 12, 2013 - link

    Google could play favorites if they wanted. What are the other OEMs going to do? Switch to another OS? Which OS would that be? Reply
  • madwolfa - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Now, how about updating my dang Sprint HTC One to at least 4.2.2 ?? Reply
  • marc1000 - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Brian, could you please confirm what is the version of Maps that came default (not updated) with 4.3?

    Jelly Bean had version 6.x and a few weeks ago Google started updating to 7.x via PlayStore, but this update pissed a lot of users that use gps navigation heavily.

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Why? The new version of maps is so much better. Reply
  • marc1000 - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    Because Maps 7.x will remove the GPS Navigator app. This is the reason over 500 people are complaining in google groups. But I don't want to make this a post about the complaints.

    Brian, could you check and tell us the un-updated version of Maps ?
    Reply
  • cmikeh2 - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    I don't understand the problem that you're referring to. I have Maps 7.0.2 and I still have GPS Navigation. Reply
  • lmcd - Sunday, August 04, 2013 - link

    The quick access is the complaint. Also I seem to drop GPS signal more now, though that might be subconsciously paying more attention to it. Reply
  • marc1000 - Sunday, August 04, 2013 - link

    https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/map...

    here, 21 pages of complaints and explanations to why navigating in the new maps is worse than in the dedicated GPS Navigator app. unfortunately it seems Brian is not watching comments here anymore... :(
    Reply
  • superxero044 - Saturday, August 03, 2013 - link

    I am really jealous of these phones but living in Iowa our only real options for operators are Verizon and even worse US Cellular. There is little to no ATT or T-Mobile coverage here.

    Since I highly doubt these phones will be comes for Verizon or US Cellular, what Verizon phone would you recommend? I have been leaning toward the HTC One (not Google Play Edition), but the new Motorola phones are looking decent. I always appreciate your insight.
    Reply

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