Everything that happened to Android OS in 2013

Our beloved 2013 is almost over! We hope that for all of you, this year was completely awesome and memorable. In the case of Google Android as well, 2013 was a great year, as this popular mobile platform received notable changes, which in turn makes Google Android an even tougher competitor for Apple iOS and Windows Phone. We, being passionate Android geeks, do no longer want to keep that happiness in-between us. In these 12 months, Android has acquired many changes including various software updates, new devices in Google Nexus series, services for Android devices, and Google-play versions of devices etc.

Here, we would like to provide comprehensive information on such major changes that Android has acquired in past year, and we will cover above-mentioned categories deeply. We do hope that this article will definitely be useful for Android geeks, especially those who were not able to keep them up-to-date with happenings in Android world. We have categorized the post into different sections for the sake of easier understanding.

Google Android in 2013: Software Updates

In this section, we would explore different software updates of Google Android. Moreover, we would check out what kinds of changes have been made on the popular mobile operating system because of these updates. However, we’ll skip minor software updates, because they’re minor!

Before We Start – A Foreword towards Android v4.2 JellyBean

Android Jelly Bean 4.2

We cannot avoid mentioning Android v4.2, when we want to explore changes of Android in 2013. The reason is quite simple, because Android v4.2 Jelly Bean, which was announced at the end of 2012, was to kick-start 2013. The v4.2.0 update had brought several changes in the functionality and user interface of Google Android. Major changes are as follows.

  • Expandable notifications which brought ability to view brief content of notification without opening the App
  • 360-degree photosphere images
  • An improved version of Google Now
  • Gesture typing experience along with word prediction
  • Support for Miracast that lets you share Android screen with that of HDTV
  • Daydream to display photos or your media, when device is on idle mode
  • Multiple-user support

Of course, this ‘new flavour’ of Android Jelly Bean was quite impressive, especially while considering the Google Now and gesture typing!

Android v4.3 Jelly Bean – Minor but Useful

Android Jelly Bean

Yes, Android v4.3 Jelly Bean was a sort of minor update, but it had enough things to do with stability of Android. One of the top features of this update was the creation of restricted profiles. For instance, if you wanted your children to do some specific actions only, you can create a custom user profile for that purpose. This was of course a productive upgrade for Android users, especially aiming Tablet PCs.

Moreover, this update brought support for Bluetooth Smart Energy so that users can pair their Smartphone or Tablet PC with low-energy devices. Lack of the technology was a problem for Android developer, as they were not able to build a strong bond between the Smartphone/Tablet PC with peripheral accessories.

The v4.3 upgrade made way for OpenGL 3.0, which enhanced 3D graphics capability of Google Android, and hence the visual treat of OS. The update also introduced a set of APIs that helps in encryption of HD video content. It had also some minor changes as support for other languages such as Hindi and Afrikaans. Considering these all, although some features were meant for developers, v4.3 Jelly Bean was something productive, indeed.

Android v4.4 KitKat – Targeting User Experience

Android KitKat

Announcement of Android v4.4 KitKat was a shock for most of rumour speculators, because rumour had it that next version of Android would be v5.0, and be dubbed as Key Lime Pie. By this time, Sundar Pichai became VP of Android, and Android geeks started expecting a lot from him.

However, when Google Inc made one official announcement on the topic, KitKat replaced Key Lime Pie. It will not be wrong if we consider the v4.4 KitKat update as a strong answer to Apple iOS 7, albeit the fact that this version of Apple was not able to satisfy neither Apple fan-boys nor critics.

When Apple confused its users by complicating the User Interface of iOS 7 through introduction of several elements, Google managed to impart a cleaner change on the UI. Users mentioned that this update was a kind of refining and Android was simply looking HOT after this update. However, currently, the new User interface is exclusive for Google Nexus 5. But Google might be having plans to make this UI available for other devices later. Through setting the focus on UI as well as usability, Android v4.4 was carrying some useful features as well. Some of those features are as follows.

  • In-built support for Google Cloud Print, which gives the user ability to use printers at home/office using that device itself.
  • Pedometer to keep track of steps you take
  • SMS and MMS Integration for Google Hangouts App
  • Tight integration between Google Drive and Android device
  • Enhanced multi-tasking experience
  • Support for NFC-based payments
  • Ability to utilize full screen of the device, while performing actions that requires full-screen
  • Support for devices with low hardware configuration

Perhaps, the name of the new version of Google Android, KitKat, was yet another reason for the success of upgrade. Google had partnered with Nestle, the chocolate giant, to use their trademark for latest version of Android.  Also, it was a change from the series of names that Google was following for different versions of Android such as Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread and Jelly Bean.

Considering all these features as a whole, there is nothing wrong in saying that Google Android v4.4 KitKat is superb, through the visual impact it made. Now, it seems like all Android geeks are waiting for the release of next version of Android, and they already started naming the version. In addition, along with the announcement of Android KitKat, Sundar Pichai mentioned that Android has reached 1 billion activations. According to the increasing popularity of the open-source-powered OS among users, it seems like the number of activations is yet to receive a drastic change. Of course, we should say that Android KitKat was a strong move from Google, especially considering the bad impression that iOS 7 has created.

Google Android in 2013: Nexus Devices

When it comes to the case of Google Nexus devices, almost every Android geek is affectionate! Reason is very simple because Google Nexus Smartphones and Tablet PCs are the only ones, which provide you a REAL Android experience without spending that much money, as these devices are the result of Google and LG, and there are no bloatware or adaptations present in OS. In addition, due to the developer-oriented features of Nexus devices, most of Android developers do prefer Nexus to Samsung or HTC. Unlike other series, number of Google Nexus devices is quite low, and the device to rock in the 2013 Nexus community is Google Nexus 4, which may be called as LG Nexus 5. It has a lot of improvements from its predecessor, Nexus 4, which was launched in November 2012. Additionally, though we cannot consider it as an individual device, Google had released an updated version of Nexus 7 earlier.

Google Nexus 5: Synonym for Exclusivity & Beauty

Google Nexus 5

Even though several speculations and leaks were there regarding Nexus 5, official unveiling of Google Nexus 5 was a kind of happiness for all Android lovers. As we mentioned earlier, Google and LG played their roles very well in such a way that the result would be jaw dropping for Android haters.

In both hardware and software side, Google Nexus 5 is just rocking, because it has the ability to standalone when we compare it with other devices, which are quite expensive than this device. The device, which is running on KitKat 4.4, comprises the power of sturdy hardware. Notable specifications of Google Nexus 5 are as follows.

  • 4.95-inch Screen
  • 2.3 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 800 Processor from Qualcomm
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 8 Megapixel rear camera
  • LTE Support
  • NFC, Wireless charging

According to user reviews, the combination of Google Nexus 5 and Android v4.4 KitKat was simply awesome, as well as capable of providing the REAL Android experience for both geeks and normal users. While Android developers get attracted towards this device due to the software and hardware capabilities, the device can attract normal users via its beautiful design. The device, which is available in different storage variants, can be purchased from Google Play by paying relatively smaller amount. As a notable addition, unlike most of other devices, Nexus 5 is sold off-contract, and there will be no restrictions for you to enjoy your Android-Nexus harmony. Thus, of course, Nexus 5 has special place when we explore the endeavours of Google Android in 2013.

Google Nexus 7 2013: A Worthy Upgrade, Indeed

Google Nexus 7 2013

Launch of Google Nexus 7 updated version, which is dubbed as Google Nexus 7 2013, was following launch of Apple iPad Mini, the smaller version of Apple’s one-and-only Tablet PC. Of course, it was evident that Google had observed iPad Min, and made changes accordingly. The device, which is manufactured by ASUS, has a slim design, with screen-size of 7 inches and resolution of 1920*1200. The device, running on Android v4.3, was available at a truly affordable price range, which in turn made it a tight competitor of Apple iPad Mini. Additionally, the device boasts a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC, accompanied by 2 GB of RAM. When considering other features such as 5MP and 1MP rear and front cameras respectively, Google Nexus 7 2013 was one of the best Android Tablet PCs that one can grab.

Google Android in 2013: Google Play Edition Devices

Google Play Edition Devices

Each year, different kinds of Tablet PCs and Smartphones reach the consumer electronics market from a wide range of manufacturers. Since we cannot mention all these devices, which might have good or bad sections, devices that we should point out in this section are Google Play editions of popular Android Smartphones. Main advantage of such devices is the presence of stock Android version than the customized version of manufacturer. In that sense, in 2013, we have two Google Play devices to mention in the post – HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. We will have a brief look on both of these devices. For instance, as we mentioned earlier, you can get rid of all Samsung Bloatware if you purchase the Google Play edition of the device.

Samsung Galaxy S4 or Samsung Nexus Galaxy S4

We hope that you do not need an introduction to Samsung Galaxy S4, as the device is quite popular since its launch. Nexus version of Samsung Galaxy S4 was announced on Google I/O Developer Conference 2013. This bootloader-unlocked device is available at a relatively expensive (when there is a comparison with normal version) price in Play store.

HTC One

On the same hand, HTC comes as a SIM-free device that runs on Stock Android version. This sturdy device runs on Android v4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and is available at Google Play Store. Of course, this ‘Nexus’ version of flagship device was success among Android Geeks.

LG G Pad 8.3

It would be appropriate to call LG G Pad 8.3 as the unofficial Nexus 8! When loaded with the power of stock Android and absence of Bloatware, it gives an awesome experience. In addition, the support of Quad Core processor as well as 2 GB of RAM is also notable.

Xperia Z1

Yes, you can expect this strong player from Sony to be powered with Stock Android, and hence the PUREST Android experience ever! When we take its features such as LTE support, Quad-core processor, etc, it is hard to find a viable alternative for Xperia Z1 Google Play Edition.

Story of Acquisition: Motorola – Moto G and Moto X

We hope that you all know about Google’s acquisition of Motorola a while back! Now, the Google-owned company has started its awesome work, and its effort seems quite fruitful according to reviews from users. After that superb acquisition, Motorola has launched two devices – Moto X and Moto G. These devices, which can be related as elder and smaller brothers, are quite well in the Smartphone market, indeed. What makes both of these different from other Smartphone is the presence of stock Android OS, whereas other manufacturers stuff their devices with some creepy bloatware. Both of these devices come with Qualcomm processors, which ensure top-notch performance.

Source

Moto X – Source

So, in the case of both Moto G and Moto X, you will get the real Android experience without spending that much money. In addition, for Moto G, Motorola offers assured upgrade to Android KitKat in early 2014, though the device is running on v4.3. Perhaps, Moto G is one of the superb, budget-friendly Smartphone you can grab currently.  In addition, the Moto G is available in the off-contract mode, which is doubtlessly a big reason to prefer Moto G to other devices.

Moto G

Moto G

Apart from all these points, another reason for the success of Motorola’s devices is that Motorola is now a Google-owned company. Thus, there is nothing wrong in hoping that devices from this company will turn the company itself as a budget-friendly alternative for Nexus series as time progresses.

Wrap UP : 2013 and Google Android

From what we said earlier, it’s very clear that 2013 was a superb year for both Google and Google Android! When saying so, we should also mention that the popularity of Android among common people has increased a lot, which in turn helped the tech giant in enhancing the mobile operating system in an effective manner. Also, just as we said earlier, the inability of iOS 7 to satisfy users as well as critics has equally helped the growth of Google Android, and we have seen many people shifting from iPhone to Android devices, especially ones that we mentioned earlier.

Also, we should mention the case of Motorola, the Google-owned Smartphone manufacturer, because the company aims to launch superb but budget-friendly Smartphone devices. In addition, we expect some devices from Motorola to perform well in Indian consumer market because of its impressive feature-set. In that sense, it is clear that growth of Android is not going to have a pause now! We shall hope that Google Inc will come up with some superb plans to enhance Google Android, and hence to make it even popular.

Are you still a hater of Android? Seriously? Then, we are damn eager to hear your opinion about Android in 2013. Do let us know your valuable comments through comments.

Ujjwal Kumar

Ujjwal is just a simple guy who likes to be happy and likes to write various different kind of stuff. You can find him writing posts related to Android most of the time but he also likes writing poems, short stories and other stuff. Mail him at ujjwal [at] droidextra [dot] org.

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