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Android 4.4 Kit Kat - What can it do?

handy giff-staffer

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Android 4.4 KitKat has just been announced, but what does this sweet treat hold for Nexus 5 owners and those lucky enough to get the upgrade?

 

 

Despite being a small jump numerically, the move from Android 4.3 Jelly Bean to 4.4 actually brings a lot of new features to the table. For starters, Google has given the stock Android user interface and all of its primary apps a visual overhaul.

 

Icons are crisper and flatter, there’s far greater transparency on elements like the navigation keys and notifications bar, the cyan colouring has been replaced by white for aspects like the WiFi indicator and Roboto Condensed is now the font of choice for apps and folders.

 

Blank homescreens have disappeared, reappearing only if you throw widgets, apps or folders onto them, pressing and holding on a homescreen now lets you jump to the wallpaper picker, widget screen or Google settings directly and swiping left of your primary homescreen now reveals Google Now, which is smarter and features more cards than ever before.

 

As well as a new look, Google has given some of its apps more power and even added a few new ones to the team. The dialer now prioritises contacts by how often you communicate with them and you can even discover local businesses by typing things like ‘coffee’ or ‘pizza’ into the address book search bar. Should you get a call from a business not in your address book, Google will also try and throw a relevant image so you have a better idea of who’s calling.

 

SMS and MMS functionality now resides in the Google Hangouts app by default, so texts and picture messages are in the same place as your Google Hangouts. Speaking of messaging, the reworked stock Android keyboard now features Emoji support too.

 

The most powerful new app is QuickOffice, which ties in neatly with Google Drive and lets you work on Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents natively, not to mention there’s now wireless printing support to really ramp up the office functionality.

 

In some cases like playing a game or reading a book KitKat also shows off immersion mode, which hides the notifications bar, soft keys and general interface so you only see the content you want. It can all then be brought back with a tap.

 

KitKat does more than just offer new features to consumers, developers will also be able to make use of new tools to accommodate things like pedometers and IR sensors and this release of Android is also geared to work with less powerful hardware, including phones with as little as half a gig of RAM.

 

All in all, this latest release of Android looks better, runs better, has more features and will work on more devices than ever before. So keep an eye for an update coming to your phone, soon.

 

What do you think of Kit Kat?  Are you anxiously awaiting its arrival on your phone?  Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

36 Comments

KitKat looks like a big positive move forward for the biggest problem in the Android ecosystem - fragmentation. Most Android users use Android 2.3 Gingerbread, especially in emerging markets. Now that KitKat will run with 0.5GB RAM, handset makers will push out new phones with 4.4 KitKat, which should benefit the Android ecosystem!

 

I'm a little concerned about using Google Hangouts as my default SMS app. I view Google Hangouts functionality of video chat, instant messaging and SMS, as a positive all in one development, but I still think the app needs a bit of work...however, Google hangouts has improved for instant messaging, as you can now see which contacts are online/offline! It looks like Google is making a big bet on  Google Hangouts, so there's motivation to make it awesome!

kung fu master

The biggest pull for me here is the fact that it will run on half a gig of ram.

 

Very informative thank you.Smiley Happy

associate
You forgot to mention Googles biggest overhaul was to make everything run through the Google search app (though what you've mentioned suggests this), which essentially means no privacy unless you change your launcher and disable Google search/now.
prophet
very good blog and provides loads of info, thx very much
sensei
I would love to know whether it's even possible to disable the "OK, Google Now" search facility? Otherwise it looks like I won't be too interested in Google's omni-presence. Smiley Sad
associate
@samwich You just disable it in the apps section of the settings. Google won't allow you to remove there apps.
sensei

Thanks for that Asmos. Smiley Happy

 

It's a shame Google waste a certain amount of the RAM, on the phone, by forcing you to keep their apps.

Though I guess, if you can "root" the phone, you might be able to remove them?

 

Thanks again. Smiley Happy

cim
phenomenon

@samwich - by default it doesn't work if set to UK english - you have to switch Google Now Settings for Voice to US English (presumably UK English will follow in a later update). As @asmos says you can disable it anyway.

newcomer
I am an Nexus 5 owner and with all honesty I can say that Kit Kat is wonderful. Much better than Jelly Bean. I love the fact that while i'm playing a game and i recieve a notification i can quickly check it without exiting the game. I love android 4.4 to bits Smiley Happy oh and if you have different SMS app you can change it, you dont have to use hangouts Smiley Very Happy
pathfinder

I can't compare it to jelly bean as my last phone was on the extremely outdated gingerbread, but kitkat certainly is very good.