September 30, 2014

Notable features in Android 4.4 KitKat

KitKat Statue

Now that Google has finally made the inner workings and features of Android 4.4 KitKat public, what can we expect?

Google has posted a lengthy list of features for consumers and developers alike. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

KitKat Emoji

As we reported this morning, KitKat will indeed include better memory management for devices running on as little as 512MB of RAM. The new memory management techniques all allow both OEMs and app developers to target these lower-end models, and ensure the app or operating system runs as smooth as possible.

Some features will be limited to the Nexus 5 for the time being, such as the Always On feature already found in the likes of the Moto X. While not identical the premise is the same. Any time you’re viewing your home screen, or even when already in Google Now, you simply say “OK Google” and give a voice command. Tasks such as play a song, get directions or send a text are all available.

Messages KitKat

Speaking of texts, as Google announced earlier this week, Hangouts and the Messaging app are now the same. On KitKat you’ll no longer have two separate apps to manage your Hangouts and SMS conversations in. Instead Hangouts will handle both for you, similar to how Messages on iOS handles iMessage and text messaging.

A new immersive full-screen mode, better multitasking, a smart contact list organized in order of who you talk to the most and a Smart Caller ID feature that will display business names when you receive a call from a number not currently in your contacts are also listed as features to be found in KitKat.

I know this next feature is going to excite a lot of people, so I won’t delay it any longer: Android 4.4 KitKat is finally bringing native Emoji to Android. YES!

The ability to print from within any supporting app, a new file picker and improved support for Quickoffice are all sure to make business users happy.

The list goes on and on, especially for developers. Developers can start digging through the changes here, or watch the video below to learn what’s new. Either way, you’re going to be pleased.

As for consumers, Google will be shipping the Nexus 5 starting next week. There’s no word on when the KitKat update will land on existing Nexus devices, but we can’t see it being too far off. You can read through all of the goodies in Android 4.4 here.

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