Android 4.4 KitKat SDK is Live, Factory Images and Binaries Will Be Available Soon


Google has traditionally been good about releasing OS updates in a timely fashion. Android KitKat was announced this morning alongside the Nexus 5. Google has already updated the Android SDK with 4.4 KitKat. Devs can begin to upgrade their Developer Kit and start playing around with the new version of Android. The complete Android Developer Tools bundle comes with the Android SDK Tools, Android Platform-Tools, the Eclipse+ ADT plugin, as well as the latest Android system image for the emulator. The Android support library has been updated too, in order to help maintain apps for compatibility with older versions of Android.

Android 4.4 KitKat has an updated launcher with a transparent navigation bar and status bar, a slimmed down version of the Roboto font, and an overall lighter look and feel to the OS. If you're in a full screen app, the navigation and status bars will disappear, giving you a full screen experience. Google Now has been tweaked a bit and is now accessible by swiping left-to-right from the homescreen. Search and Google Now have both been enhanced and will work better than ever. The phone dialer has been updated too, and will now search for names and businesses on the fly, both when you're making a call and receiving one. This Android OS update is loaded with tweaks and features that will make our lives easier. The Android SDK will be easier to use as well. Here's a list of highlights from the Android Developers Blog:

  • New ways to create beautiful apps â€" A new full-screen immersive modelets your app or game use every pixel on the screen to showcase content and capture touch events. A new transitions framework makes it easier to animate the states in your UI. Web content can take advantage of a completely new implementation of WebView built on Chromium.
  • More useful than ever â€" A printing framework lets you add the convenience of printing to your apps. A storage access framework makes it easier for users find documents, photos, and other data across their local and cloud-based storage services. You can integrate your app or storage service with the framework to give users instant access to their data.
  • Low-power sensors â€" New hardware-integrated sensors let you add great new features to your apps without draining the battery. Included are a step detector and step counter that let you efficiently track of the number of walking steps, even when the screen is off.
  • New media capabilities â€" A new screen recorder lets you capture high-quality video of your app directly from your Android device. It's a great new way to create walkthroughs, tutorials, marketing videos, and more. Apps can useadaptive playback to offer a significantly better streaming video experience.
  • RenderScript in the NDK â€" A new C++ API in the Android Native Development Kit (NDK) lets you use RenderScript from your native code, with access to script intrinsics, custom kernels, and more.
  • Improved accessibility support â€" New system-wide captioning settingslet your apps present closed captions in the style that's preferred by the user.

In addition, the Nexus 5 binaries and system factory image should be available later today. The proprietary binaries and factory images for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 will be made available "in the coming weeks" once those devices begin to receive their OTA updates.

Developers, rejoice!