Android 4.4 KitKat is official: new launcher, made to run on low-end devices

Android 4.4 KitKat is official: new launcher, made to run on low-end devices
All that we've been hearing about Google's new Android version, 4.4 KitKat, panned out, as the new version is indeed weeded out so it can run on devices with as low as 512 MB of RAM comfortably. This is big news for affordable handsets, which are typically left out of subsequent updates due to the lowly hardware, and will make Android appear on much more devices, too, like smart watch wearables, for instance.

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.

We get a new lock screen with a camera shortcut and the ability to rearrange homescreens, plus the system is getting a new white/gray color scheme and fonts. The stock keyboard flaunts emoji support, and the People app has received a grand update, too, allowing you to search across contacts, different accounts and even local businesses, despite that you don't have them in the phone book. The 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.

source: Google



1. ocilfa

Posts: 334; Member since: Aug 03, 2012

So...when do us previous Nexus owners get this?

18. Dingy_cellar_dweller

Posts: 339; Member since: Mar 16, 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??!!!

3. nexusdude

Posts: 151; Member since: Aug 22, 2013

Abusing the update button begins.

4. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 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: Aug 28, 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: 1176; Member since: Apr 12, 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: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 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: Sep 30, 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: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 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: 1265; Member since: Jan 24, 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: Aug 28, 2013

Sure they will bro. Low end will go even lower because you say so genius.

21. azafirster

Posts: 44; Member since: May 01, 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: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 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: 228; Member since: Dec 22, 2012

Well, it's not like we know a whole lot about the OS yet.

6. gustavomp

Posts: 7; Member since: Oct 28, 2013


15. Jay_F

Posts: 236; Member since: Nov 29, 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: Nov 29, 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: 42; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

will the google nexus one recieve an update...???

17. Jay_F

Posts: 236; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

24. ilia1986 unregistered

Third time. Ever heard of custom roms?

19. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 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...

27. vivekjackson

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 29, 2014

will kitkat support 256mb ram????

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