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
- 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?