Android 4.4 KITKAT official details posted — here’s what’s new

Android 4.4 KitKat wallpaper

While the Nexus 5 announcement may have many of you scrambling for your piggy banks to order one, there’s still one big piece of info we need to cover — Android 4.4 KitKat, and everything that it’s supposed to bring to the table. We’ve got all the details right here.

Everything users need to know

So what’s new? Here’s a quick list of everything KitKat is bringing us:

  • Use “OK Google” on the home-screen and within Google Now to start a Google search
  • Art-work on your lock-screen when listening to music or using Chromecast to play a movie on your TV.
  • New “Immersive Mode” – swipe the edge of the screen to bring back your status bar and navigation buttons
  • New phone app sorts contacts by people you talk to the most, and lets you search for businesses and places right in the dialer.
  • Caller ID for unknown numbers (mainly to identify local businesses)
  • New Hangouts app with SMS, all in the same place
  • Emojis now available in the stock keyboard app
  • Built-in cloud printing (and API/framework) — “Google Cloud Print, to HP ePrint printers, and to other printers that have apps in the Google Play Store”
  • Newly redesigned QuickOffice

Everything Else

  • Android 4.4 KITKAT is designed to run on many devices, even entry-level ones with as little as 512MB of RAM.
  • New NFC Capabilities through “Host Card Emulation”
  • An improved storage access framework
  • Support for more low-powered sensors, step detection and step counting
  • A new shared SMS provider to allow easier third-party SMS support
  • Native full-screen support for apps (Developer option)
  • A new transitions framework for animated beauty
  • Tranlucent system UI styling
  • Enhanced notification options for more info and cleaner presentation
  • Chromium WebView completely based on Chromium HTML5.
  • Screen recording capabilities
  • HTTP live streaming support
  • Audio tunneling to chipset’s DSP for improved battery life and less CPU hogging
  • Audio monitoring API
  • “Loudness Enhancer”
  • Miracast Certified
  • Improved performance through new RenderScript GPU acceleration without code changes (including NDK support)
  • SurfaceFlinger OpenGL ES library upgraded to version 2.0 for better performance
  • Built-in support for IR Blaster

What are you most excited for?

Whew, that was a ton. All these features are great, and it’s the big jump we’ve been waiting for (compared to the small leap made form Android 4.2 to Android 4.3). Most folks won’t be able to play with it on their own devices for a while, with Google yet to announce any details about KitKat rollouts for other existing Nexus devices.

We’ll have to wait until the Nexus 5 starts trickling out to users early next week, though we’re going to hit Google up to see if we can’t get any more details about the rest of you. In the meantime, why not let us know which features you’re most excited for in the comments section below?

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  • jhawkkw

    I wonder if that means they’ll bring the Nexus S back to live if KitKat is meant to run with specs similar to the Nexus S

    • phinn

      Highly doubt it, but that would be awesome, especially to prove the work they claim low end hardware :)

      • grazapin

        Yeah, that’s not going to happen for the Nexus S. Why? Because it’s not even going to happen FOR THE GALAXY NEXUS! I’m a little shocked about that since Google has been talking up how well Kit Kat will run on lower spec’ed phones, and the Galaxy Nexus is definitely above the minimum specs they’ve listed.

        http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/31/google-galaxy-nexus-kitkat/

        • Nick Mantzoros

          Root Community will probably shoehorn it, but I’m not sure it won’t have all the feature.

        • mcl630

          If you following the links from that article, you end of at:

          https://support.google.com/nexus/answer/3468085

          “Galaxy Nexus, which first launched two years ago, falls outside of the 18-month update window when Google and others traditionally update devices.”

          Since when did Google have an 18 month update window for Nexus devices? Haven’t they always updated Nexus devices as long as the hardware supported it?

        • ari_free

          Because android is not like Windows where you can automatically update the OS even if you built the PC yourself. Android source code has to be custom ‘molded’ for every new phone configuration even if there is no custom UI.

    • Ryan Stewart

      They arent even supporting the Galaxy Nexus. Being said though, some enterprising dev might figure it out.

  • Paul Coffey
  • mgamerz

    Source link please

    • ScottColbert

      It’s in the article, pay attention.

  • matthewcruce

    yeah but will the zte avid 4g get it 1gb ram 1.5 MHz pro ICS

    • Jerel Butler

      Fellow metro subscriber dont count on it…

  • oneyedmonkey

    The real question is when will it start rolling out to phones?

  • Nick Mantzoros

    good – my galaxy nexus limps on for another month or two.

  • Cesar Ortiz

    I can almost taste android 4.4 kitkat for my LG nexus 4 .

  • Unorthodox

    It would be nice to compile AOSP for my sh!tty Chinese tablets. JB just won’t handle 512Mb well.

  • shelderman

    what about always listening?

    • kishan

      Yes, it exists.

  • Guest

    Its a little more expensive in the UK. $400 for the 32GB option = £250. Then you have to add the 20% VAT which takes it to £300, so why are Google charging an extra £40 on top of that?

    • LightofHonor

      Processing and handling.

  • Ethan Bailey

    any word on the new hangouts apk so i can sideload it?

  • Jiro K

    I’ll get the n5 later in like December But for now I need kit Kat inside my n4

    • oneyedmonkey

      Don’t get me wrong I am very happy they finally release the n5, but am a bit disappoint that nothing about release of kit kat yet

      • timmyjoe42

        I doubt they’ll announce anything about the Kit Kat release date for other devices (Nexus 4) until closer to Nov 8th when the device (Nexus 5) is available to the public. Here’s to hoping.

  • toomuchgame441

    Native full screen support for apps, Screen recording, Miracast ceritfied, IR Blaster, Caller ID for local businesses BUILT IN to the dialer??…. OK… Goodbye HTC One…. GOOGLE NAILED IT!

    • JointhePredacons

      the ONE will get that when it gets updated to 4.4 ….Plus the ONE already has an IR blaster.

      • toomuchgame441

        I SAID bye bye HTC One!

      • ari_free

        I think he meant you don’t need HTC to get those features

        • JointhePredacons

          Im not sure what he meant. I assumed he meant hes getting rid of his HTC ONE, so thats why i commented the way i did. Now re-reading his comment im thinking he means that the HTC ONE is going to lose position on the top 5 list. But my comment still makes sense. When the HTC ONE gets 4.4 itll get all those features, while it already has an IR blaster, so i didnt see the point in getting rid of his HTC ONE, if thats what he meant. Im still not sure.

  • Terry

    The official KitKat page says hangouts supports SMS and MMS.

  • ant-roid

    Immersive mode

  • Jmaxku

    Sweet. My Galaxy S4 GPe’s IR Blaster just became relevant!

    • chuckles87

      And when my gs4 gets here I’ll be able to use it when i flash the gpe rom

  • dirtyfingers

    Underpants = Ruined

  • ThreeFourSeven

    I’m more interested in the new NFC capabilities.

  • JointhePredacons

    Cant wait till it rolls out to my ONE on T-mobile.

  • Brandon Watkins

    so much of a jump! going to be sweet on my htc One!

  • Lennatron

    Damn this might be enough for me to retire my Note 2. I’m just speechless l can even process what I read…

  • DDroid45

    Who wanna place a BET? That HTC offer kitkat before Samsung, LG, Sony, or Motorola. I got a HTC ONE and I’m confident me and my one family is gonna have it first, at least inthe U.S. and I do mean the carrier locked version.

    • lowert

      I’ve got an LG Nexus 4, bet placed!:D

      • DDroid45

        Like I told muaslam, that is a nexus, that don’t count. So stop playing, nah if you had a LG g pro I’ll say lets bet

        • lowert

          Never mind, I’m already running 4.4 on my N4 :)

          • DDroid45

            How is it, does feel like a big upgrade. I read on it. It sounds like a nice upgrade

          • lowert

            Basically the first thing you notice is the new launcher, which looks pretty nice (along with the now translucent top and bottom bars), and has Google Now built into it. Other than that, there are a couple of minor UI changes to further enhance the user experience, but the major changes are under the hood, a couple of memory-management related kernel modifications and a new JIT compiler (the ART runtime, though, experimental yet) just to name a few. Overall, the whole system feels really snappy and has a newish feel to it, even though mine is still an unofficial port from the AOSP sources, and has some minor glitches and outdated Google Apps :)

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            hey @lowert:disqus i have also nexus 4, did you recieave OTA update or a custom ROM ? i need ur reply plsss, because i am very worried about that :(

          • lowert

            Hi! No, no OTA yet, because the rom has not yet been released officially for our devices, we have to wait ‘a couple of weeks’, 2-3 I guess. I’ve picked up an unofficial port from xda-developers forums.

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            yes, u replied :D what do u mean “port” ? it cannot damage our nexus 4 ?

          • lowert

            Well, basically, a port means that the system image was created for another phone, in this case the Nexus 5, and the hardware-related parts of that ROM was changed to those of the Nexus 4. But in order to install such things, you have to install a custom recovery, which results in your warranty being void, so I don’t recommend you doing that if you have no experience with this. Anyway, the link is here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2506678

          • Guest

            okay, i dont have any experience about that tho, but u think our nexus 4 will recieve an OTA update of kitkat 4.4 from google ?

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            who are you ? dont copy my question zzzzzzz

          • lololo

            your questions are being copied because you are kinda annoying. with all due respect, you should research more ‘on your own’ instead of spamming questions under a news thread.

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            @lowert:disqus but u think our nexus device can update to 4.4 ? because i read some articles, saying that, nexus 4 are not included on update :(

          • lowert

            Actually, Nexus 4 (along with the new Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 and some special Google Edition devices) will be the first phone getting the official OTA update of KitKat. You just have to wait a couple weeks :) (You must have read about the Galaxy Nexus not receiving the update, which is true, but that doesn’t affect your OTA update)

          • Guest

            yes i just read that the gnex can’t update anymore, and how’s the feeling having a 4.4 on your nexus 4 ? can u say that it is really great ? the translucent/traparent top and bottom notif bars are working on nexus 4 ? and are all features of 4.4 kitkat that the nexus 5 have can nexus 4 taste it all ? @lower

          • lowert

            Exactly the same experience as you would expect on a Nexus 5 :) But I have already written down my impressions, if you scroll up a bit, you can read them.

          • Guest

            yes, i read you impressions, but all of those i understand :) i can’t wait to update my nexus 4, wooo :) do u still have the 4.4 kitkat on your nexus 4 now ?

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            es, i read you impressions, but all of those i understand :) i can’t wait to update my nexus 4, wooo :) do u still have the 4.4 kitkat on your nexus 4 now ? @lowert:disqus

          • lowert

            Yes, I can see no reason to go back

          • Guest

            wow, !!! i can now imagine having my nexus 4 updated to 4.4, but u will also wait for the OTA update ? so the 4.4 that you are using right now is for temporary ?

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            wow, !!! i can now imagine having my nexus 4 updated to 4.4, but u will also wait for the OTA update ? so the 4.4 that you are using right now is for temporary ? @lowert:disqus

          • lowert

            I will probably update to the official version as it will contain some device-specific optimizations, and all the google apps will be updated, so the current state is just temporary

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            thanks for the info dude :) what can u advice me for my nexus 4 ?

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            thanks for the info dude :) what can u advice me for my nexus 4 ? @lowert:disqus

          • lowert

            I would recommend you to wait for the OTA update, as it is just around the corner

          • Guest

            so you can assure me that my nexus can update to 4.4 ?

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            @lowert:disqus u have plans to buy nexus 5 ? or u will stick to ur nexus 4 ? because they said that after 6months, the nexus 4 will no longer update on android os,

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            u have plans to buy nexus 5 ? or u will stick to ur nexus 4 ? because they said that after 6months, the nexus 4 will no longer update on android os, @lowert:disqus

          • lowert

            I’m not going to change my trusty n4 any time soon. As for the newer android versions, I don’t care much about the official updates as unofficial ports will be coming for sure.

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            why you don’t care about the official updates ? what is the reason ? so unofficial ports is more important to you ? @lowert:disqus

          • lowert

            It’s not that they are more important, but as long as I can update unofficially, I’m not going to upgrade my hardware in order to receive the official updates

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            yes i just read that the gnex can’t update anymore, and how’s the feeling having a 4.4 on your nexus 4 ? can u say that it is really great ? the translucent/traparent top and bottom notif bars are working on nexus 4 ? and are all features of 4.4 kitkat that the nexus 5 have can nexus 4 taste it all ? @lowert:disqus

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            okay, i dont have any experience about that tho, but u think our nexus 4 will recieve an OTA update of kitkat 4.4 from google @lowert:disqus ?

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            i have another question, is that okay ?

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            who are you ? :) why are you copying mine ?

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            but u think our nexus device can update to 4.4 ? because i read some articles, saying that, nexus 4 are not included on update :(

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            and they also say that, after 6months, the nexus 4 can no longer update because of the 18 months contract ? is that true ? :(

          • Guest

            can u give me a link of the port from xda-developers forums.? is that safe ?

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            can u give me a link of the port from xda-developers forums.? is that safe ? @lowert:disqus

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            but u think our nexus device can update to 4.4 ? because i read some articles, saying that, nexus 4 are not included on update :( @lowert:disqus

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            and they also say that, after 6months, the nexus 4 can no longer update because of the 18 months contract ? is that true ? :( @lowert:disqus

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            yes, u replied :D what do u mean “port” ? it cannot damage our nexus 4 ? @lowert:disqus

          • Rv Lagura Polancos

            still there @lowert:disqus ?

    • muaslam

      I also have an LG Nexus 4, so, what you really wanna bet? :-P

  • ari_free

    The only disappointing thing is that it doesn’t have native multi-view. Which means that it will only have it for Samsung devices with its API’s

    • Adrian Meredith

      That would have been nice but they’re taking the right direction. Os updates are all about better performance and supporting newer hardware

  • No_Nickname90

    Does the stock keyboard work on 4.3? I WANT them emojis. LoL!!

  • Barni Kremenko
  • Metrx Qin

    I would like i could wake my phone up by speaking “Ok,Google”. start to search