Google surprised the world when it announced that Android 4.4 would be codenamed KitKat instead of the anticipated Key Lime Pie. And now the operating system update is finally here, as well as the Nexus 5, we’re keen to find out what Android KitKat is actually all about.
So here are just a handful of the new features of Android 4.4, codenamed KitKat.
Android KitKat is all about Google Now as the iPhone is all about Siri.
With Android KitKat, users can enact Google now by saying “OK Google”. Ask your phone anything, from the weather wherever you are, to how bad the traffic is for your journey home.
Although you can already do this to a similar extent on earlier versions of Android, KitKat aims to make your phone easier to work for you.
Another handy feature that KitKat is bringing to Android is the ability to make any app takeover the whole screen. Although this might sound like an odd mode to offer, it allows users to get on with whatever they’re doing, without getting distracted by notifications, battery levels or internet connections.
This means that when you’re browsing an article or reading the last chapter of a book, your page will take up the entire screen, turning your device into a miniature Kindle, rather than a smartphone.
Android KitKat is all about making things easier for you, which is why the phone app automatically prioritises all of your contacts into those that you call the most.
That means gone have the days when you normally have to scroll through all the As, Bs and Cs to get to the name you’re looking for, Android 4.4 will automatically list your mum, boyfriend or sister at top of your contacts.
How often do you screen a call if you don’t recognise the number calling? With KitKat’s smart Caller ID, your phone will automatically search for businesses which are listed in Google Maps, indicating who might be calling.
Now as much as I hate to say it, with the addition of emoticons to Facebook and Whatsapp messenger I have frequently found myself unable to express my emotions via text.
But all that’s about to change with Emoji; a range of Japanese characters an now be accessed from the Google keyboard to use in SMS messages.
So there’s simply no other way to explain what you had for dinner, or how you’re planning to get to work in the morning, there’s always Emoji. They say a picture speaks a thousand words after all…
In order to bring KitKat to the thousands of Android users out there, Google has made the memory footprint of the operating system smaller. By taking out unnecessary background services, KitKat reduces the need for a high capacity of RAM.
In practice, then, Android 4.4 can be run on older devices which only sport 512MB of RAM, bringing Android to the masses.
Android 4.4 (or KitKat) is only available on the new Nexus 5 device launched yesterday. However, Google has already announced that it will be available to download on the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and select Motorola devices soon.
Within the next few months, we expect that most Android users will be able to upgrade to v4.4, and the majority of new smartphone will also come pre-loaded with the updated operating system.