Android KitKat OS
It may have had enough false starts to get disqualified, and it’s certainly been leaking all over the place, but ’s update, version 4.4, or KitKat, has finally found its way out of the biscuit tin. We’re going to take a good look at KitKat right here and let you know what it brings to the table.
- The status bar is now translucent and, along with the navigation buttons, it will melt away to give your content maximum screen space. Swipe the edge of the screen to bring it all back.
- The new phone app bumps your favorite contacts to the top, and features new search capabilities so you can find a person or business and call directly from the app. You’ll also find smarter caller ID that can potentially identify callers, even if they aren’t a listed contact.
- Lastly, KitKat has a deeper integration of Google services depending on how you use a phone. Google Now will be accessible via one swipe from the home screen. After saying "OK, Google," you can use voice search, send a text, get directions, or play a song. Also coming are new card types that give you more information specific to your interests.
- Hangouts is now your one-stop message shop, like a combination of FaceTime and iMessage, and Emoji characters are available in the Google Keyboard. You have the option of setting a different default texting app if you don’t like Hangouts.
- Optimized memory means faster multitasking and a more responsive touchscreen. This should make general skipping around on your phone faster than ever.
- Chromecast support allows you to project movies and music to your big screen and when your device is locked it will now display full screen related album and movie art.
KitKat brings a few extras for working stiffs, so, before you take a break, consider these shiny new abilities:
- You can print files directly from your Android device to supported printers.
- The new Quickoffice app lets you create and edit documents, including spreadsheets and presentations.
- You can open and save files from Quickoffice on Google Drive, other cloud services, or locally on the device. There’s also a recently used files menu that makes it super easy to share whatever you were working on by email, or just find it again in a hurry.
Manufacturers exciting new APIs
- HDR+ photography support.
- Infrared blasting for remote control functionality (for device with IR blasters).
- Android Device Manager can find and wipe your device.
- Close captioning and subtitles now supported.
- Bluetooth MAP support for Bluetooth-enabled cars.
- Open architecture for NFC to encourage more mobile payments.
- A built-in pedometer feature.
A theme that runs through a lot of KitKat’s refinements is the idea of making existing things run better. This is one way to tackle the thorny old issue of fragmentation. KitKat and Google’s delectable menu of apps have been optimized to run on older and entry-level and tablets, so 512MB of RAM is not necessarily going to be a barrier anymore.
There’s also been a lot of thought about another major bugbear – the inevitability of battery drain. Google has worked out a number of ways of extending your battery life. The location tracking supports a battery-saving mode, so you can trade accuracy for extra stamina. There’s new low-power audio playback (only on the Nexus 5 for now) which allows up to 60 hours of music. This should come to other devices with dedicated audio processors. Other general improvements in efficiency should help you squeeze a little more out of that battery.
KitKat will debut on October 31, on the Nexus 5, which is on sale at the Google Play store for $349
tablets get update soon.
Samsung Galaxy s4 will get update in the coming weeks.
HTC has confirmed that all versions of the will get the update within 90 days.