What's New in Android 4.4.3 KitKat: Dialer Update, Bluetooth and Battery Fixes

Google dropped Android 4.4.3 on us yesterday. Binaries and factory images hit first, and then the source code landed on the AOSP repositories shortly after. The update seems like a minor one, but it brings a lot of changes with it. There are over 7,450 changes in this update according to the change log. Let's see what Google brought us with the latest version of Android.

A lot of this update is about bug fixes. There have been some pretty major Bluetooth bugs, as well as fixes for battery drain due to the camera app running in the background after it's closed, and an updated Dialer app. The Bluetooth bugs were specific to situations where Bluetooth was cutting out due to BLE overexposure, popping noises when playing FLAC audio files, something called semi-permanent death of background services, and VPN routing going bad. These Bluetooth issues have been a big deal for some users and the fix is a welcome one. The issue with the camera app draining the battery was related to a service called 'mm-qcamera-daemon' on Qualcomm devices. Basically, the camera app still runs in the background after it's been closed. This can cause higher CPU usage, which drives up device temperature and battery drain. I've seen this problem first hand on my devices. This is another welcome bug fix, and it's a bit overdue in my opinion.

One of the more visual changes in Android 4.4.3 is the updated Dialer app. We have shots of the new Dialer so you can take a peak if you haven't seen it yet. The changes aren't major, but a lot of them are visual and so the changes look like big ones. The UI has been updated with more colors, bigger images, and cleaned up fonts. It's more aesthetically pleasing, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of changes under the hood.

Some of the changes to the code are specific to certain devices, like the lower volume when you're using a wired headset. Right now, the update is only officially available for Nexus devices. OEMs will be rolling out the updated to supported devices as they see fit. Hopefully, they don't take too long with it.

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About the Author

Jeremiah Nelson

Staff Writer / Podcast Host
Jeremiah Nelson has loved Android since the OG Moto DROID. He spends his free time listening to metal and flashing new ROMs.