Android 4.4 KitKat official, aims to reach 1 billion users

31 October, 2013

Android 4.4 KitKat has been officially announced and as usual, the latest version of the Android OS debuts alongside the a new Nexus, the Nexus 5. So, what's new? Well, the 4.4 KitKat aims to reach the next 1 billion users and it will scale automatically to fit on the devices with as little as 512 MB of RAM.

The design of the OS has been polished and it looks better than ever. Android 4.4 brings a new phone app, which now helps you search across your contacts, nearby places or even through any other Google app accounts, right from your dialler app.

Google's new Hangout app comes out of the box on Android 4.4. It puts all your SMS and MMS under one roof along with other conversations and video calls so that you don't miss messages regardless of how they are sent.

The lock screen now has a camera shortcut and there is an option to rearrange the home screens to match your requirements. All devices without hardware keys now get extra room as the navigation interface disappears as soon as an app is launched.

As one can expect, the newest Android version brings a whole lot of new features for Google's search platform. You can now activate search with keywords and the speech recognition engine is about 25 percent more accurate than before, according to Google.

You can use the hotwords to launch voice search with the Google Now, send a text, get directions or even play a song. The upcoming version of the Google Now will bring new card types that keep you updated with contextual topics of interest to you.

Android 4.4's new framework allows you to AirPrint (a feature similar to wireless printing), which is however limited to HP printers only for now. The OS now supports third-party cloud storage in the Gallery app

Google aims to make Android accessible to everyone, even people with low-end hardware. In the past, due to the memory constraints, some lower-end smartphones couldn't get a taste of the newer Android versions, but with KitKat that's about to change. Android 4.4 KitKat removes unnecessary background services and reduces the memory consumption to a large extent, which now allows the OS to run smoothly even on devices with 512MB RAM. Ironically, the Galaxy Nexus with 1GB RAM will not get KitKat.

Google has also managed to enhance the battery performance through its sensor batching, which reduces the data requests. Lastly, Android 4.4 comes with under the hood tweaks and changes to enhance the overall performance of the OS.

Android 4.4 KitKat will be powering the newly launched Google Nexus 5 out of the box, while the roll out for the other Nexus devices will begin in the coming days.

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