Android KitKat Update
Android powers more than a billion phones and tablets around the world. It’s customizable, yet easy to use, and since it’s made by Google, it works seamlessly with all your favorite Google apps. Android OS has been updated from the day it emerged to the newest one which is Android KitKat 4.4.
Android version 4.4 KitKat unlike previous versions is a major upgrade to the previous versions. Many new features have been provided over the previous versions as well as, a lot emphasis have been given on ever-lasting problem of memory management. Let’s talk about the recent features of Android 4.4 KitKat and the major updates.
Google’s changed the way Android looks, created their own new launcher, made the dialer much smarter, further consolidated their messaging services, gave the Email app, love, and added many new features for app developers to take advantage of.
Google Experience Launcher
On Android 4.4, the Google Experience launcher has a partially transparent status bar and navigation bar on the home screen, showing off your wallpaper and hiding those black bars.
Google Experience Launcher can be installed on any Android device running Android 4.1 or later. Google is currently only officially offering the Google Experience Launcher on the Nexus 5, so you’ll have to activate it yourself on other devices and even in other Nexus devices, like the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7.
Dialer with Search
Android 4.4′s new dialer also allows you to search for businesses and dial their phone numbers right from the dialer. For example, you can open the dialer, search for “Hot Dogs,” and quickly call a nearby Hot Dogs place.
Whenever you get a phone call, Android can now query Google’s servers to provide caller ID information for you. This feature is enabled by default, but you can disable it if it is not desired. The dialer is now integrated by Google search and you receive the whole functionality of Google Search.
All is in Grey, So long Blue
The most immediately noticeable change is the shift from the neon blue theme of Android’s interface to a new, neutral gray color which is actually looks more matured in design. The battery, Wi-Fi, and cellular icons on Android’s status bar, for example, are now gray along with the options in the quick settings panel are also gray colored, as are the accents on the official Google Keyboard.
This actually helps developers in standardizing the development pattern and provides a more neutral canvas. For example, Netflix’s red app will look better with gray system icons than blue ones which were used earlier.
Hangouts SMS Integration, Google Talk replaced
Google’s Hangouts app — the replacement for Google Talk hasintegrated SMS support, eliminating the need for a separate Messaging app. This feature also isn’t exclusive to Android 4.4, but is also available on older versions of Android along with a recent update to Hangouts. However this is just an add-on feature which lets the user decide whether to keep on using the basic messaging app for texting or use hangout for messaging.
On Android 4.4, Hangouts registers itself as a “SMS provider”. Any other SMS app can also choose to register itself as an SMS provider, becoming the default messaging app. Any app can listen for incoming SMS messages, but only a single app, the user’s default SMS app, can send SMS messages.
The premier Google Talk has been replaced by Google Hangout app which actually have implemented a major change in usability as well as features. The main missing feature in Hangout is the ability to show the online user, which was previously available in Google Talk. Furthermore Hangout keeps single window for every chat window, which keeps track of full conversation. This can be a wanted as well as an unwanted feature that Hangout have provided the user.
Get Started with Google Cloud Print
Nowpeople can print from any device (desktops, phones, tablets) to any of your printers connected to Google drive on Google cloud.
Android now includes a printing framework. It’s a built-in system feature that supports both Google Cloud Print and HP ePrint by default, but developers can add support for new types of printers using the API. This means you should be able to install support for other printers via an app from Google Play and they’ll integrate with Android’s printing system.
You’ll find a new Printing option on Android’s Settings screen, and many built-in apps support printing. For example, you can tap the menu button in Chrome and tap the Print option in the menu to print a web page. It is quite amazing losing all the net wires as well as the big USB ports required for printing and also the support for printing from mobile.
KitKat have replaced the earlier app for file handling. This file picker supports both local, on-device storage and cloud storage services like Google Drive. However, any cloud storage service can integrate with it. Support for Box is already offered, while other cloud storage services like Dropbox or SkyDrive could implement a “document provider” and appear in this list. Whenever you use the file picker, you’ll be able to choose a file from any local source or cloud storage service.
Android now also offers an “immersive mode” feature that allows apps to hide the status bar at the top of the screen and the on-screen buttons at the bottom of the screen on Nexus devices. This means that apps like games, video players, and eBook readers could use the entire screen for content. This won’t happen automatically; it’s up to app developers to choose whether this is right for their app.
To go along with this, Android includes two new edge gestures. When immersive mode is enabled in an app, a swipe from the top or bottom edges will reveal the hidden status bar and navigation bar.
Better Memory Management
KitKat is designed to run on devices with as little as 512MB of RAM. Google has implemented behind-the-scenes improvements to Android 4.4′s memory management, and will be providing developers and OEM manufacturers with tools and options to take advantage of these improvements. These memory improvements are expected to lead to smoother multi-tasking as well.
The fact that less than half of all Android phones are running Android 4.x has led to fragmentation issues within Android. It looks like these memory optimizations may lead to greater adoption of Android 4.4, and this should help unify Android to some extent.
Further to previous installation, it has been observed that this new memory management have lead to faster app handling as well as minimalizing micro-lags which used to riddle Android since its inception.
The next screen provides us with the task handling, which is a built in feature of Android 4.4. A single swipe lets the user remove the application from application history which is further killed and removed from the system memory.
These can further be selected in the option of restricting the number of application to be kept running in the background from settings, however this has been introduced since android ICS.
2. Improved Google Now
You can now activate Google Now by simply saying “OK Google”. It’s not only available to Nexus 5,but also available for any android device capable of running Android KitKat. The contextual cards feature also gets an upgrade. Google Now cards will try to predict information you need based on your location, favorite sites or TV programs.
In addition, Android 4.4 features a new app-linking feature, which allows Google Search to deep-link search results to applications installed on a user’s device. So, for instance, searching for a restaurant via Google Now can direct you to a restaurant reservation app such as OpenTable, ready to make a reservation for that particular restaurant.
Email App Improvements
The included Email app has finally seen some love. The Mail app now looks almost like the Gmail app and shares many of the same navigation features and settings. It no longer feels like a forgotten relic.
Tap and Pay
HTG Explains: What is NFC and What Can I Use It For?
NFC hardware is being included in more and more devices – particularly smartphones, but also some laptops. For more information please refer website explaining the term.
KitKat includes a “Tap & pay” option on the Settings screen. Thanks to “host card emulation,” any app on Android can now emulate an NFC smart card. In the near term, this means that any device with NFCshould be able to use the Google Wallet app. In the long term, this means that there’s an integrated way for various apps — such as loyalty card apps and competing digital wallets, to work with NFC point-of-sale terminals.
Android now also allows apps to use “Reader Mode” and function as NFC readers.
These are just some of the notable updates in the Android 4.4 package. There are a number of other new features included in Android KitKat, such as low-power location monitoring, easy home screen switching, built-in infrared blaster support and a redesigned downloads app to name a few. If you want to know the entire list of changes, please visit the official Android website.
Above all, the Android 4.4 isn’t that an awesome update over the earlier versions of the OS, but it does bring good improvements to the millions of users using the OS. The improved memory management and the rest of the noted features combine to make Android 4.4 quite a notable addition to the Android family.