Android 4.4 features include support for wearables and improved performance for low-memory devices

Android 4.4 features include support for wearables and improved performance for low-memory devices
With rumors circulating that Android 4.4 will be launched as soon as Thursday, leaks from a confidential letter sent by Google to its OEMs detail some of the changes we can expect to see on Android devices running KitKat. One important feature will be the ability of low memory models to update to newer builds of Android. Low memory handsets made by Huawei, Samsung and ZTE that have 512MB of RAM inside, are at a major disadvantage to today's mid to high-range models that are packed with 2 to 3GB of the stuff. These low memory models usually are not updated to newer builds of Android. That could change with Android 4.4.

In addition to helping low-memory phones get updated, KitKat could also be used by wearable devices, like a smartwatch, which also don't carry that much memory. Android 4.4 apparently supports three new kinds of sensors, geomagnetic rotation vector, step detector and step counter, which could make it perfect for smartwatches and for Google Glass. The sensors will be able to tell how far someone walked based on the number of steps taken. This could come in handy when displaying indoor maps.

KitKat will also allow developers to write apps that allow a phone to replace a physical card and help make a mobile payment, get loyalty rewards or enter a secure building or room. By replacing cards with the actual phone, developers won't need permission from a carrier in certain circumstances, making it faster and easier to create apps that use NFC to transmit information used in making a payment or accessing a certain room that requires secure entry. And Android 4.4 will allow Android phones to use Bluetooth as a way to control more devices.

While HTC and Samsung have phones that double as remotes for televisions, developers have to write apps based on different manufacturers. But that will not be the case after KitKat since the OS will bring standardized remote to Android phones.

source: jessicalessin via MobileSyrup

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20 Comments

1. Cinnamon

Posts: 87; Member since: Jun 16, 2011

I see words but no announcement.

2. Bootutu

Posts: 228; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Awesome, now release the damn thing!

3. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

And now iOS falls even further behind Android.

4. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

I want KitKat in my 512MB device!

5. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I wonder if the low memory version of Android could make its way to some of the older smartphones? The Droid X comes to mind as a candidate....

9. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Or the OG Droid Incredible. Anything from that era up to now should qualify, the question is will any OEMs put forth the effort to update devices that old. But I do know that people are still running Incredibles & Xs, my brother uses an Incredible and my insurance agents runs an X. So people could benefit.

14. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I tend to doubt the OEMs would incur the cost to implement KitKat on their older hardware. Afterall, what is in it for them? They have already made the sale and there is no new $ in the effort, only cost. Maybe the rooting community will step up?

15. g2a5b0e unregistered

No chance OEMs start updating older phones that have since stopped receiving updates. There's no point in updating devices that a majority of consumer have long abandoned. If what they're saying about 4.4 is true, it will allow low-end devices that come out in the future to debut with the same firmware as flagship devices. This, opposed to now when we still see budget devices coming out with 4.0 or how there were still phones coming out with Gingerbread last year & earlier this year.

16. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

I think old phones are destined for replacement, nothing more. Going forward, new low end phones will get better performance though. Due to the adaptability rate, it'll probably be 2-4 years before the majority of them see the benefits from this. It's unfortunate that new low end phones don't always see the the newest versions of Android. Progress is progress though, and hopefully KitKat will be easier to adapt to low end phones so OEMs will get more aggressive in releasing it.

20. JC557

Posts: 1921; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

I highly doubt my Droid Charge will be included. I have other phones but it would still be nice to see.

6. orca99

Posts: 87; Member since: Oct 05, 2013

It's a good news for my Galaxy Nexus (1 GB RAM) which will become a backup phone once I purchase the Nexus 5.

7. draconic1991

Posts: 200; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

google might be trying to help people with older phones to be able to upgrade to kitkat....but i dont see it happening....because samsung htc sony etc have customized skin over their phones and they are hesitant bringing even their older flagship phones like s2 and note 1 up to date on time....the only thing i see kitkat bringing is even cheaper NEWER phones with less RAM....but those with older nexus' in their drawers like the nexus s or even nexus one might get a fresh new lease of life...

8. .KRATOS.

Posts: 442; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

So no excuses for Samsung or other manufacturers not to update their old flagships, we want the legendary galaxy s2 to get the update.

17. Suo.Eno

Posts: 556; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

As a current i9100g user, I can tell you w/ a straight face to not put your hopes up my friend. TouchWiz alone is enough as an excuse on Samsung's part. Best case scenario is to hope for 4.4 AOSP custom ROMs to keep up the device support. Samsung just either maintain a craptacular fw dev dept, "forced obsolescence" policy OR even worse both.

10. taikucing unregistered

Yes, android for low mem system please. I don't need any flashy & bouncy craps that consume memory & drain battery fast. Just make it simple like older android but with future technology like better multithreading in many cores, fast boot & battery saver. I still remember windows XP after fresh installation just consumes RAM less than 128 MB. But my android with its stock ROM consumes 350 MB (of course with pre-installed bloatwares). Change the ROM with "light version" ROM, it still consumes 220 MB of RAM.

11. Jalil

Posts: 40; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

I want KitKat on my Galaxy Note 3.

12. andynaija

Posts: 1262; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

I hope Coolpad updates my Quattro to 4.4 because I don't really want Gingerbread anymore. It's getting pretty old now.

13. ilia1986 unregistered

Oh god oh god oh god I want this sooooo badly!!!!! :D Also - according to another article -http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nexus-5-appears-in-the-flesh-images-pour-from-around-the-globe-along-with-Android-KitKat-features_id48902 "There seems to be some kind of overarching backup solution created by Google, think iCloud for Android, as it seems to back your app settings, saved games and the like, so a pretty far reaching feature if it pans out with a bunch of storage, too, like mentioned." I just had a huge nerdgasm!!! Finally rom hopping can be 500% less painful!!!! Must.... have.... NOW!!! :D

18. donphone

Posts: 64; Member since: Oct 20, 2013

If you ask me, and this is all conjecture, the ability of 4.4 to run on low memory devices wasn't intended for the updating of old hardware but to allow it to run on future low-memory hardware (i.e. wearables). The old hardware updating seems like an added benefit. Today's Thursday my friends ;)

19. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

This suspense is killing me.

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