In the midst of all of the excitement of the new Nexus 5 release, we can sometimes forget about the underlying benefits of its new Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. Google really worked on this new operating system to make it lean and fast. They also included many new features that will allow app developers use these new features as easy as possible. There are so many of these gems buried inside, it will take a month to explore them all - some of the features, the app developers can use immediately on current devices while others can only be used when manufacturers add a few parts in their devices.
Two such features are Step Detector and Step Counter - sounds simple enough, and they really are, but serve a great idea. These two features simply run in the background and monitor every step you take. They easily allow your app developer to track your steps when the user is walking, running, or climbing stairs. Since these features are monitored by sensors that are implemented in hardware, they have a very low power consumption - another way that Google has optimized the new Android 4.4 KitKat for better battery life.
The Step Detector analyzes accelerometer input to recognize if the user takes a step and triggers a follow up event for each subsequent step the user takes. The Step Counter will track the total number of steps taken until you reboot the device; then it will start over keeping count. Because the logic and sensor management is built into the platform and underlying hardware, the developer does not need to maintain your own detection algorithms in their own application.
Step Detector and Counter Sensors are available only on the Nexus 5 at this time, but Google is working with chipset manufacturers to bring them to new devices as soon as possible. They will probably start showing up in the mid 2014 models...now we can start a rumor that they will show up on the Galaxy S5!
Let us know in the comments or on Google+ and let us know if this is a feature that would interest you...are you an exerciser?