We saw the major release of Google’s Nexus 5 device yesterday, and a long with it came a new software version of Android 4.4, the long-awaited KitKat also formerly know as Keylime Pie. The question on every one’s mind is whether this latest iteration will bring new goodies on the table — Will it bring some real change to Android? Or does it focus more on integrating more Google services to the platform.
The first thing we notice are the user interface (UI) design ‘fine-tunes’ to the OS, making the whole Android experience look pleasant than ever before. There’s a new launcher, a new condensed version of Google’s Roboto font, that gives the new OS a lighter look. These are not drastic changes like those we saw Apple do in iOS 7 and Android 4.4’s UI has a lot of resemblance with 4.3
More useful phone dialer
It is very easy to forget that smartphones also make calls now days, as they come with a slew of features. In the latest reincarnation of Android, Google as sprinkled more magic in its phone dialer or so at least it seems. There is a UI change in the dialer: As Google’s essentially built a phone directory into its dialer app, allowing you to search for a business or person and dial their number without ever having to figure it out. The question we have to ask is whether the directory searching is limited to US only or will be extended to other regions. That kind of integrated search is permanent across KitKat, which uses both search and Google Now to bring you more information than ever.
Hangouts is now SMS, and SMS is Hangouts
As we reported before, Hangouts is one of the key features of Android 4.4, so with only one Messages icon, there is now
only Hangouts — all it took was an update of the app to integrate SMS, and work better for voice calling, and it’s now part of the way you’ll talk to other people on Android. ‘SMSing’, instant messaging, even voice and video calling , are all now under the same roof – since Android is open and if you dont like your text messages living under hangouts , of course, you can download a 3rd party default SMS app from the Google Play store.
The Nexus line has never been famous for their camera and we hope to be wowed once we get to use it but according to Google they have improved the camera with HDR+ a feature. Basically HDR+ is a high standard High Dynamic Range process, that will allow for taking multiple photos in a burst mode and then compositing them into a single image. We shall test that out before we comment more.
Kitkat shows love to lower end devices
One thing i hoped for was Kitkat to go back to the basics, and indeed Google has given us just that. With behind the scenes improvements, tweaked and optimized to work on lower-end, lower-memory devices, this new step we think will help Google try to solve its fragmentation problem, by building an OS that works well on a vast number of devices both old and new. So minimum requirements of RAM has gone from 1GB to 512 MB as Chrome uses 16 percent less memory
than in Jelly Bean, according to Pichai. Also the
task-switching UI is lighter and easier, among many other things. Make no mistake Pichai says KitKat is still “
a cutting-edge operating system designed to run on cutting-edge phones but that Google has made it possible to have a single version of the OS across all Android smartphones. As we get on our journey to reach the next billion people we want to do it on the latest version of Android.
With such memory optimizations, we hope to see KitKat more implemented onto devices like watches and other wearables. Google has released a full list of the new features in Android 4.4 KitKat, and there are even more exciting possibilities under the hood.
The changelog includes a lot more, like enhanced support for notifications, for streaming video, and a number of features that could help low-power devices (like smartwatches, perhaps) more efficiently transfer data, including a pair of new Bluetooth profiles and a new “sensor batching” system that allows a device’s sensor to transmit fitness, location, and other forms of data in small batches,rather than constantly invoking the processor to keep track of everything.