Android 4.4 KitKat is official: new launcher, made to run on low-end devices
Other backroom improvements are the new sensor batching technology that cuts on sensor power consumption by grouping and prioritizing their requests, something that probably has to do with the keyword-evoked voice search, that Google claims is now 25% more accurate, and asks back for clarification. In addition, we get new wireless printing functionality with Android 4.4 KitKat, which supports HP gear for now.
Hangouts app is also updated to include threaded conversation that folds your text, IM and MMS messages with a single contact in one.
Last but not least of the big changes are happening with the Google Now voice operated assistant, which can be evoked at any time with a swipe from the new launcher's homescreen, and asked to do a bunch of things in a casual way, with a lot of new cards on the way to make the service even more useful, pitched Google. These include local shopping and attractions, as well as the ability to buy movie tickets via Fandango on the spot.
Android 4.4 KitKat is available right now if you manage to snatch a Nexus 5, and rolling in a few weeks to Nexus 4, 7, 10, Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One Google Play edition. Stay tuned for our full roundup of all the new KitKat features, and enjoy some dev talk explaining them in the meantime in the video below.
1. ocilfa (Posts: 299; Member since: 03 Aug 2012)
So...when do us previous Nexus owners get this?
18. Dingy_cellar_dweller (Posts: 178; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)
It should read, NEW low end devices get 4.4 not old phones.
Gnex not getting the update.
2. ilia1986 (unregistered)
What about Google app data cloud backup??!!!
4. mr.techdude (Posts: 491; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)
So does that mean htc, Sammy, etc are all going to look back at their old 512 mb, HELL NO THEY WON'T!!! too much time consuming.
10. DukeX (Posts: 327; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)
Umm no one even thought about that. But this will let rom developers futher improve older phones with custom roms. Expect phones like the xperia play and S2 to continue to get support from the rom community. Not only that but newer low end phones will run better improving upon new customers to the android experience.
11. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 664; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)
Exactly, although I wouldn't be surprised if e.g. The Galaxy S2 or S2 Plus got 4.4, but even then I'm sure Samsung are totally done with their development.
This is more for future low end Androids, it will help many of the Chinese and Indian OEMs to better compete with the big guys, Google has a big vision here.
13. Berzerk000 (Posts: 3656; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
I doubt the GS2 will get 4.4, considering a fair amount of them that were sold had the Snapdragon S3, which Qualcomm dropped support for.
22. theindianguy (Posts: 90; Member since: 30 Sep 2011)
Please tell me the galaxy s3 is gonna get the update and that will keep me happy. Although i do think there's a slight possibility it wont :/
12. Berzerk000 (Posts: 3656; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
Not only that, but most, if not all, SoC manufacturers (Qualcomm, Tegra, OMAP) have dropped support for their chips that were released in 2010-2011. So they couldn't update older devices even if they wanted to. However, recent low end devices (2012-2013) with 512 MB of RAM could be updated as long as they don't use old chips.
14. kanagadeepan (Posts: 590; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)
Instead they will release lower end phones with 256MB RAM and say that those phones can't be updated...
20. DukeX (Posts: 327; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)
Sure they will bro. Low end will go even lower because you say so genius.
21. azafirster (Posts: 41; Member since: 01 May 2012)
I wish google would just give an option,over the air update to all android phone, regardless of the manufacturer, if they are that confident that kitkat can support low spec phones.
5. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Wait wait, hold on a sec.
iOS 7 comes along - half of Phonearena is crawling with articles detailing every little pixel the new version changed.
Android 4.4 comes along - a single very short article which states only 3-4 features?!!
Seriously PA?! Seriously??
7. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
Android has already been so feature-packed since 4.1 that it only takes a short article to summarize the improvements.
8. Tsoliades (Posts: 185; Member since: 22 Dec 2012)
Well, it's not like we know a whole lot about the OS yet.
15. Jay_F (Posts: 236; Member since: 29 Nov 2011)
Barely half of these major updates get pushed to the high-end phones. The GS4 is only just now receiving 4.3. Who only knows if and when it will get 4.4. Most other phones are lucky to be running 4.2.
23. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Wow this is the second time I'm posting this reply. People are a bit dumbstruck today. Ever heard of custom roms??
25. Jay_F (Posts: 236; Member since: 29 Nov 2011)
Have you ever heard that the vast majority of smartphone users have knowledge of maybe what 10% of their phone can do? Welcome to the real world buddy.
26. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Yeah. But that's why we must spread the word, brother.
16. aditya.g0110 (Posts: 5; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
will the google nexus one recieve an update...???
17. Jay_F (Posts: 236; Member since: 29 Nov 2011)
24. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Third time. Ever heard of custom roms?
19. -box- (Posts: 3566; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
2 things: the People section sure sounds like the People Hub in Windows Hub.
I wonder if I could put 4.4KK on my HTC Sensation... 768MB of RAM, dual-core processor...