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I have seen several builds on OS 4.3 and 4.4-- what are the key differences? I tried finding documentation on the exact changes, but couldn't find any.

I set up two new Nexus 7 tablets (2013) and even brand new ones come with different build versions.

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  • Do you mean several builds of 4.3 and several builds of 4.4 or do you mean the difference between 4.3 and 4.4? Both are answered below, but it's not clear what you mean from the question. There is a ton of info between the versions, but the builds are often done by the OEMs etc. It really depends.
    – RossC
    Nov 6, 2014 at 11:20
  • Sorry, I mean the former, that is-- the differences between the builds within a certain OS version. Nov 7, 2014 at 19:09

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How much does the build number of an Android OS matter?

As a developer, I have never used it for anything significant (other than maybe analytics). Between the Vendor and Google, it does correlate to a branch/release of the AOSP platform.

Your other question on OS 4.3 vs 4.4 and what are they key differences?
Search "Android 4.4 vs Android 4.3 feature list". It is quite significant. But as a general rule, each release typically comes with new API's for developers, improved security, and improved efficiency.

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  • Also with the builds they are often done for different carriers, and for bug fixes. If it was ONE version of an OS i.e. iOS 8 (for example) then in theory the higher number would be a newer and better version. In Android it's fragmented wildly across carriers on the same device. So build 100 could be for Vodafone in Ireland and 101 could be for Sprint in the US or whatever. In terms of 4.3 vs 4.4 that's the VERSION number, and the differences are very well documented on Google. Roll out is by IMEI or similar and different devices will get it at different times even identical devices as per OP
    – RossC
    Nov 6, 2014 at 11:19

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