On Thursday, Google finally took the wraps off of their latest version of Android. That would be Android 4.4 – KitKat. KitKat is a lot more than a marketing gimmick, it brings quite a few changes to Android and some much-awaited integration among Google’s services, which we all love and use a ton of. The first thing you’ll notice are there are a lot of design tweaks in the OS, which makes the operating system even cleaner and simpler than ever before. With KitKat the navigation bar and status bar are now transparent. And if you’re in a full screen app, like watching a video, you will notice both the status bar and navigation bar will disappear.
Additionally, there’s a new launcher, there’s also a new condensed version of the Roboto font, and there’s a general new lighter and cleaner look to Android overall. KitKat still does look a lot like Jelly Bean. Looking at the dialer it’s quite a bit different, and Google has entirely re-thought it. Google has built in a ton of information into the dialer, which is pretty awesome. Google has also updated Voice Search which is now a whole lot faster and also offers a lot more feedback to guide you through looking for something or sending you a text message.
Google Now has a new home now. It lives in a left-to-right swipe from your homescreen, it’s now able to send you information you might want based on your location, or on certain sites you visit frequently (like Androidheadlines.com). It also works on TV Shows you like particularly. When searching, Google can now direct you straight to not only the appropriate website, but also the right app. Which makes searching for a restaurant much, much easier now.
As expected, with Android 4.4 – KitKat, Messaging is gone. Now the stock messaging app is hangouts, which is why the Google+ event needed to happen earlier this week. The head of Android, Sundar Pichai has stated that KitKat is still a “cutting edge operating system designed to run on cutting-edge phones” but Google has also made to possible to have a single version of their OS across multiple smartphones. “As we get on our journey to reach the next billion people.”
Additionally, Google has brought one of my favorite features over from the Moto X. That is Touchless Control. Which was built into the Snapdragon 800 that the Nexus 5 is running on. All you have to say is “OK Google” and tell it what you want to do. It’s just that simple.
There’s also faster Multi-tasking in this new version of Android. It takes system performance to an all-time high, by optimizing memory and improving your touchscreen so that it responds even faster than ever before.
Emojis are now everywhere. For the longest time, our iPhone friends would tease us because we couldn’t see their emojis on our phones. Well now we can see them everywhere!
So where’s our OTA? Well no OTAs today. Pichai stated that right now, only the Nexus 5 is sporting Android 4.4, but that the other members of the Nexus family and the Google Play Edition devices will get the update very soon. Hopefully that means within days.