Craigslist may have great bargains, but it is not usually the first place people go to look for breaking tech news. A Nexus 4 phone recently offered on Craigslist, however, turned out to be running Android 4.3. This is surprising, because the update to the Android operating system (OS) is not yet officially released, though its formal debut may come before August 1.

Not much has been revealed about the upcoming version of the Android OS. Based on previous rumors and the phone that turned up on Craigslist, however, it seems that the 4.3 update will concentrate on behind-the-scenes improvements. The update offers no single dramatic change, but taken as a whole offers substantial evolution and points toward future possibilities for Android.

Craigslist Offers a Smartphone Deal

As Jared Newman reports at InfoWorld, San Francisco Bay Area resident Jeff Williams recently bought a Nexus 4 smartphone on Craigslist. The seller was apparently a member of Google’s development team, and the phone ran Android 4.3. This is the latest – and not officially released – version of Google’s mobile OS.

Williams shared the system files for the updated Android, giving a fuller picture of the latest Android developments. (Yes, the whole episode sounds like an “authorized leak.” What were the chances that a random Craigslist buyer, even in the tech-heavy Bay Area, would recognize the updated system and choose to publish the files?)

Whatever the circumstances of the revelations, we know a good deal more about Android 4.3.

Extending Battery Life

A new power setting allows Wi-Fi scanning to remain on even when Wi-Fi itself is switched off. At first glance this may sounds like a waste of power, but Wi-Fi triangulation uses less power than GPS when it comes to determining a device’s location. This new power setting could be a boon for developers (and users) of location-based apps.

The new version also adds stock Android support for Bluetooth LE (Low Energy), continuing the theme of power-saving tweaks. These are significant in the big picture, because battery life continues to be one of the greatest challenges for mobile technology. Anything that stretches power supply is good news.

Other new features include a new camera app that moves controls to the bottom of the screen – helpful for users who want to shoot photos with one hand. Android 4.3 also hints at what Jared Newman describes as a “mystery notification feature.” This feature may allow users to view their full notification history from third-party apps.

All in all, Android 4.3 will not turn the world upside down, but it does seem to be a step in the right direction for the OS.


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