Android 4.4 KitKat update news, release date, features and reviews
Forget iOS 7, Android 4.4 is where it's at. Richard takes a look at what's new
Android KitKat 4.4 is now out in the wild, admittedly in a limited capacity at this stage.
While then new version might not be a massive overhaul in terms of functionality, it's a signficiant face-lift on the UI design front, with a noticably lighter and brighter interface freed from this heavy, dark bar elements at the top and bottom.
Icons are also bigger, while Google Now has been fully integrated into the launcher. The general idea is to make Android nicer to look at and easier to use.
At the moment the full KitKat experience is only available through the Nexus 5, with other Nexus devices getting the UI change but not the added Google Now launcher functionality.
Read on to find out all the details about Google's latest chocolate flavoured OS.
[Scroll down for Android 4.4 update schedule]
Android 4.4 is a pretty significant update, one that sees both UX changes and plenty of new features added. A lot has also gone under the hood, but anyone using a stock version of the platform will immediately notice subtle differences in the design, layout, look and feel of the platform.
Icons are bigger, the app tray has been re-designed and Google Now is a lot more influential inside the OS. Android 4.4 is currently only available on Google’s Nexus devices –– specifically, the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (both versions), Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. Unfortunately there is no support for the Samsung-built Galaxy Nexus S.
Below is everything you need to know about Google’s brand-spanking new iteration of Android complete with update news, features, reviews and tips and tricks. Take a break, have a KitKat, and enjoy…
Nestle competition winners receiving out of date KitKat
To help getting the buzz going around Android 4.4 KitKat, Nestle and Google teamed up for a genius competition which would see 1000 winners around the world. Those winners would receive a brand new Nexus 7 tablet, or so they thought. Nestle handled the competition internationally apart from the US which fell to Hershey and the winners have started to receive their Nexus 7 tablets through.
Throughout the advertising campaign the image of the 2013 Nexus 7 tablet was used but in India, winners have been receiving the 2012 version. That version of the Nexus 7 doesn’t have the 2013’s improved display or chipset and doesn’t feature Android 4.4 KitKat.
On the other hand, the Terms and conditions of the competition do state, “The pictures of the prizes depicted on the press ads/posters/TVC’c/pack shots etc. are only representative and the actual prize may vary from the depiction.”
A friendly competition has backfired on Nestle and KitKat India is clearly taking no prisoners with their response as per its tweet below.
We hear you’re unhappy. Winners got the Nexus7 tabs available in India in Sept (contest date). The new version launched only in Nov.
— Kit Kat India (@KitKatIndia) December 7, 2013
It’s no surprise competition winners are upset in India as the competition pictured the 2013 edition and said “all new” throughout.
KitKat could come to older mid-range Samsung devices
Samsung are looking into updating some older handsets to Android 4.4 KitKat. A leaked internal document has shown a bunch of handsets being investigated by Samsung. These include the Galaxy S4 mini, Galaxy SIII mini, Galaxy S Advance, Galaxy Ace 3, Galaxy Ace 2, Galaxy Core, Galaxy Frame and the Galaxy Fresh are involved. The shot below shows that there is the potential for a load more handsets further down the list.
These handsets have an enormous spread all over the world, it would make a lot of people really happy to get a KitKat update. Don’t expect it to be coming out very soon though, it seems like this is all still in the planning stages.
How to manually update the Nexus 5
Pining for Android 4.4.1 on your Nexus 5? Well someone has worked out how to do it manually and has posted a helpful user guide. It’s understandable that you may want to update considering that fixed camera feature is prescent on 4.4.1 KitKat. If you’re well experienced in using commands then you should get stuck in but if not just wait for the OTA as this is going to get complicated.
Tom Dawson at Android Headlines explains,
- “Rename the downloaded .ZIP to something easier to type, we’ll use “android441.zip”
- Reboot your Nexus 5 into the bootloader by holding Power+Vol Down and then hit Vol Up to get to Recovery, press the Power button to boot into recovery
- When in recovery mode, use the volume keys to navigate to “Apply Update from ADB” and hit the power button
- Connect your Nexus 5 to your PC/Laptop
- Open a command prompt or terminal in the same folder as the OTA file (Windows users can hit “Ctrl+Shift+Right Click”) and type “adb devices” to check if your Nexus 5 is seen.
- Once there, just type “adb sideload android441.zip”
- Your Nexus 5 should take a little while to reboot and then you’ll be running Android 4.4.1, which you can check from the settings. Remember, if you’ve adjusted anything in the /system partition, the update will fail.”
It’s complicated so only get involved if you trust yourself. If you do decide to get stuck in, however, the link for the download file from Google is here
Android 4.4 KitKat causing problems with Nexus 4
Nexus 4 owners are reporting a number of problems since updating to Android 4.4 KitKat. The update was available for Nexus 4 and has been causing some users issues. Problems reported include the phone dialler not working, the lock-screen...locking up and becoming unusable and the home button stopping altogether. Other problems include faster battery drain, lag in the phones performance and the device shutting down unexpectedly.
One Twitter user advises returning to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean whilst Google irons out the problems.
Due to various performance issues and malfunctioning hot-spot feature on Android 4.4 KitKat, I've just downgraded my Nexus 4 to Jelly Bean.
— Jarosław Morawski (@kreativtek) November 30, 2013
Yikes. Anyone else experiencing issues?
Android KitKat now up and running on 1.1% of Droids
Google has released its monthly Android distribution figures which now include version 4.4 of its mobile OS. According to the data, Android 4.4 KitKat is now up and running on 1.1% of Droids. But that's hardly surprising given it is currently only available on Nexus handsets.
Android Jelly Bean 4.3 jumped significantly from 2.3% in October to 4.2% in the latest figures. Both 4.1 increased by 0.1% to 37.4% of installs and 4.2 increased 0.4% to 12.9%.
In the meantime Android 2.2 Froyo, 2.3 Gingerbread and 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwhich continued to drop as more and more Android users update to Jelly Bean. Android 3.2 Honeycomb is still included in the list with 0.1% share.
LG G2 will get Android 4.4 update in Q1 2014
The LG G2 will receive an OTA update to Android 4.4 in Q1 2014, according to LG Canada’s Court Elliot. The LG Rep said the update would begin rolling out in late-Q1, “or towards the end of March”, according to Mobile Syrup.
Android 4.4 will be seeded to networks around the same time but unlocked handsets will likely get access to the update first. Prior to Elliot’s omission, reports suggested the G2 might get its 4.4 update as early as December.
Was Elliot just referring to Canadian G2 handsets only? It’s possible. But whether this means the original rumours of a December release for 4.4 are true is another thing entirely. LG is remaining rather tight-lipped about its update plans, meaning we have very little concrete evidence to go on – other than Elliot's Q1 2014.
As it stands, the LG G2 – at least in Canada – will be getting Android 4.4 before the end of March 2014. We’ve reached out to LG for comment on its UK plans for the LG G2 and will update as soon as we know more.
DoubleTwist redesigned for Android 4.4: The best media solution for Android just got a lot better
DoubleTwist has redesigned its smartphone and tablet application for Android 4.4, implementing a cleaner UX with a focus on images and album artwork.
Support for wireless streaming to Apple TV, Xbox 360, PS3 and other AirPlay DLNA compatible devices is also still present, creating one of the most robust media solutions available on Google’s Android platform.
If you’re not familiar with DoubleTwist, the app is essentially an iTunes conduit for Android that lets users sync iTunes libraries with an Android device. In the beginning that was all it did, but over the years DoubleTwist has added in a raft of features, making the app one of the best-loved media propositions inside Google Play.
The company has also developed an open-source version of Apple's AirPlay technology for wireless streaming, making streaming even easier between compatible devices. So if you don’t already have it installed on your Droids, perhaps it’s time to head on over to Google Play and get this sucker downloaded?
Android KitKat 4.4 was optimised on a Nexus 4 with 512MB of RAM
It appears Android KitKat might be the most optimisied build to date as reports indicate Google's engineers were forced to streamline the software on specially setup Nexus 4 handsets with 512MB of RAM onboard.
ReadWrite's Dan Rowinski, interviewd Google's head of engineering, Dave Burke, who explained the approach to further optimising Android KitKat.
The move followed Google's development of Project Butter in Android Jelly Bean, a series of UI latency optimisations to make things run as smoothly as possible. The new project for KitKat, codenamed Project Svelte, aimed to build on this further.
"The goal of Project Svelte was basically to reduce the memory footprint to fit into 512 megs. The way we did it, by the way ... was to take a Nexus 4 and adapt it to run at 512 megs," said Burke.
Burke also outlined the goals of the project:
- Reduce the footprint of the system.
- Reduce the footprint (memory usage) of the apps that run on a Google Experience (Nexus) device.
- Fix how apps react and crash during bad memory situations.
- Provide better measurement and instrumentation of how apps are running in Android so developers can see how memory-conscious their apps are.
"We adapted the resolution to qHD that is 960-by-540 because that is kind of the sweet spot for entry level smartphones,” he added.
“We reduced it from four CPUs to two CPUs. We reduced the clock frequency and whatnot. And literally a bunch of us just used that as our default phone. It was painful and it was broken to start with."
Android 4.4 KitKat: Some Tasty Tips & Tricks
If you’ve already picked up a Nexus 5 –– Congrats! –– it’s an awesome phone, perhaps even one of the best Android handsets of the year. The specs are great, the hardware is plentiful, it runs the latest build of Android (4.4) and it costs just £299 off contract. What’s not to like?
So what about Android 4.4 KitKat? Below are some handy tips and tricks that’ll ensure you get the most out of your new handset. We’ll be adding more as and when we discover them. But for now here’s our current pick.
Get “Okay, Google” working in UK
Google’s always-on Google Now feature –– the one where you say, “Okay, Google” –– for some reason does not work when you have your handset’s language settings on English UK.
Why this is the case is unclear. Fortunately, there’s a work a round. All you have to do is go into Google Now –– swipe left from the Home screen –– go into Settings (three dots in the bottom right corner), then Voice and Select Language and reset it to English US. “Okay, Google” will now work from inside Google Now and from any of the Nexus 5’s homescreen.
Save Battery with Smarter Location settings
More and more applications want to know where you are and what you’re doing. All of this location pinpointing requires GPS, and that in turn warrants juice from your Nexus 5’s battery. Google knows this and has attempted something of a workaround inside Android 4.4 called Battery Saving GPS Mode.
Battery Saving GPS Mode essentially minimises the number of reference points used to derive your exact location and thus saves you unnecessary battery wastage. To enable this go to: Settings > Location > Mode, and enable Battery Saving.
For pinpoint accuracy, as and when you need it, go back into the Settings and select High Accuracy.
Turn off NFC
Not using NFC? Turn it off.
Check out Google’s Android KitKat animation
Hidden away inside Android 4.4’s menu settings is a little KitKat animation. It doesn’t do anything other than let you spin the KitKat logo but it is quite cool, especially for bragging rights –– no one will have KitKat for quite some time unless they have a Nexus.
To locate this little animation, head to Settings > About Phone > and then triple tap on Android Version. The KitKat animation boots up shortly thereafter. To get back to the Home screen just tap the Home button.
Sony reveals Android 4.4. KitKat update roadmap
Sony has revealed its plans to introduce Android 4.4 KitKat to existing Xperia devices.
In a post on the company's SonyMobile blog, Sony said, "We've seen lots of questions on our Android upgrade roadmap and equally, we have lots to tell you, so here's a note on just that..."
Sony clarified that several of its existing Xperia handsets would be making the jump to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean shortly.
"We're pleased to tell you that well start rolling Android 4.3 for Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia SP, Xperia Z Ultra and Xperia Z1 from next month."
The Xperia T, Xperia TX and Xperia V will also be upgraded on the same schedule.
Somewhat frustratingly, Sony hasn't specified exactly when its devices will get KitKat 4.4, only revealing that the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia Z Ultra and Xperia Z1 will be making the jump.
Instead of a precise date, or even a vague one, Sony has simply stated that users should "stay tuned to the social newsroom and @SonyMobileNews," where the company will update us with more specific details "as things progress."
Still, at least something is happening.
Android 4.4.1 update already in the works
Evidence has emerged suggesting Google is already hard at work on an Android 4.4.1 update patch for its latest mobile software.
On Monday 4 November a member of the XDA developer forums discovered some code for Android 4.4.1 intended to disable the translucent menu bars for the Nexus 10 tablet as apprently Google is having some trouble implementing this feature on the larger tablet device.
Today, November 7, another bit of info has emerged to add weight to the Android 4.4.1 idea as tech blog Myce reports that an "inattentive Google employee" has revealed the build under development. Myce spotted the KOT31B build in Google's Chromium issue tracker.
"The issue was first marked with the Google-Restrict-View label which makes it only readable to Google employees but the label was later removed," Myce reports, "The build is only a week old and could be the sign we’ll see a 4.4.1 version."
The "K" aligns with the version name for KitKat or Key Lime Pie (KitKat's earlier development name, Jelly Bean builds had a "J"), while the T31 indicates the build is from October 31.
Android 4.4’s Advanced Photo Editor detailed
Android 4.4 features an advanced photo-editing suite that Google has optimised for use on both smartphones and tablets. Google software engineer Nicolas Roard took to YouTube to detail the application aboard a Nexus 7 slate.
With KitKat’s Photo Editor you can apply predefined looks, alter the geometry, saturation and applied filters. But perhaps best of all – Photo Editor is non-destructive. Which means no matter what you do to an image you can always revert back to the original one.
“The editor is pretty powerful, works on tablet and phones, handles full-size image processing, zooming, re-edit, image exports, user presets, etc. This new version also adds more powerful specialized tools (graduated filters, per-channel saturation controls, local adjustments, etc.),” wrote Roard in a Google+ post.
You can also export an image from Photo Editor in different sizes and file formats. Photo Editor is now shipping inside ASOP, according to Google.
Check out the demonstration below:
What else is new inside Android 4.4 KitKat?
Android 4.4 is officially here alongside and inside the Google Nexus 5. Ahead of launch there was plenty of speculation about both the handset and Google’s confectionary-baiting software update. So what’s new inside the latest build of Android 4.4? Quite a bit as it goes… Google has reworked the UX, added in better support for low-end hardware, and tweaked many of Android’s core elements.
Here are some of Android 4.4's best bits...
Applications and games can now use the entirety of the display with 4.4, meaning no more notifications bar and no more battery icon. Just full screen applications and games. Android’s UI now stays hidden whenever you’re interacting with content.
“To make sure that users always have easy, consistent access to system UI from full-screen immersive mode, Android 4.4 supports a new gesture — in immersive mode, an edge swipe from the top or bottom of the screen now reveals the system UI,” said Google.
Like Apple’s M7 coprocessor, Android KitKat now wants to know more about what you do and where you are. To enable this Google has enabled hardware sensor batching inside 4.4, a feature that makes sensors far less power hungry.
“Android works with the device hardware to collect and deliver sensor events efficiently in batches, rather than individually as they are detected. This lets the device's application processor remain in a low-power idle state until batches are delivered. You can request batched events from any sensor using a standard event listener, and you can control the interval at which you receive batches.”
This is the big one –– Android 4.4 will run on handsets with just 512MB of RAM. That’s right, people: KitKat will theoretically run on the HTC Hero, a handset that came out almost three years ago!
KitKat streamlines every major component to reduce memory use and introduces new APIs and tools to help developers create more memory-efficient applications.
“OEMs building the next generation of Android devices can take advantage of targeted recommendations and options to run Android 4.4 efficiently, even on low-memory devices. Dalvik JIT code cache tuning, kernel samepage merging (KSM), swap to zRAM, and other optimizations help manage memory.”
It’s not a deal breaker by any means but you can now print using Google Cloud Print via your Android 4.4-powered handset and/or tablet. Google has opened up the APIs to developers, so expect support inside most of the big name apps inside Google Play very soon.
“Android 4.4 introduces native platform support for printing, along with APIs for managing printing and adding new types of printer support. The platform provides a print manager that mediates between apps requesting printing and installed print services that handle print requests.”
“The print manager provides shared services and a system UI for printing, giving users consistent control over printing from any app. The print manager also ensures the security of content as it's passed across processes, from an app to a print service.”
Android 4.4 features a raft of back-end tweaks aimed at improving the overall performance and speed with which you handset computes tasks. Google has further optimised memory inside Android 4.4 –– it can now run on just 512MB of RAM –– and touchscreen response is better, too.
The end result is a smoother UX, faster loading applications and a significant bump in multitasking performance. Android was pretty decent at running multiple apps before –– say, Spotify and Chrome and email. With KitKat it'll be even better.
Smart Caller ID
Inside Android you can sync you contacts list with a myriad of social networks and account types, including: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Google Mail, Google+. This sync pulls your contacts' details across and links their profile picture to their name in your contacts app, thus giving you a tidy, useful, contacts list complete with profile pictures.
KitKat takes things further. When you receive a call from an unknown number –– like a business or a pizza delivery guy, for instance –– KitKat will scan Google Maps for an appropriate image and, if it can find one, use it for the caller ID. The idea is to give you a better idea of who is calling you.
The “OK Google” command
The Moto X could do it and now so can Android KitKat. Navigate to Settings, turn the feature on and say “Okay Google” and watch Google Now magically appear before your eyes on your handset's display –– no touching required.
You can ask it about the weather, for directions, theatre times, and sports scores. Or, you can get it to play a certain song, text a friend, or make a phone call.
Hangouts is the new SMS
In a bid to bolster its position against the likes of WhatsApp, Viber, and BBM –– now available on Android and iOS –– Google has re-purposed its Hangouts application to feature SMS and MMS messages, as well as IM threads from your Google contacts.
You can even share your location with the new Hangouts and send animated GIFs.
Screen-grabs are one thing but having the ability to capture real-time video of what’s happening on your droid’s display is another thing entirely. With Android KitKat this is now a reality, and all saved content is stored on your device as an MP4 file.
“By default, the utility selects a resolution equal or close to the device's display resolution in the current orientation. When you are done recording, you can share the video directly from your device or pull the MP4 file to your host computer for post-production.”
Built in support for IR blasters
“Android 4.4 introduces platform support for built-in IR blasters, along with a new API and system service that let you create apps to take advantage them.”
That means all new Android handsets, providing they have latent IR functionality, can be used to control a myriad of devices including your HDTV and stereo.
And because the API is open to developers there’s likely to be all kinds of IR Blaster features added to current and upcoming applications and content inside Google Play.
That’s it for now, but we’ll update this piece with more information once we’ve had a play with Android 4.4 properly. In the mean time why not check out all the Nexus 5 details –– it’s a god damn monster!
Android 4.4 KitKat rolls out to Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition
No sooner has Android KitKat started landing on HTC One Google Play Edition (GPE) handsets and we're hearing news that the same is now true of the GPE Samsung Galaxy S4.
Google's official Android Google+ page announced the rollout and as with the HTC One it should be getting pushed over-the-air.
Although you can expect some UI style changes, as well as added support for stuff like printing, you won't be getting the full Android 4.4 functionality demonstrated on the Nexus 5. The homescreen integrated Google Now experience is still a Nexus 5 exclusive.
Android 4.4 KitKat rolls out to HTC One Google Play Edition
The Android 4.4 KitKat update has been confirmed for the HTC One Google Play Edition for some time, but now it's actually started landing on user handsets.
According to AndroidCentral the 320MB update is available over-the-air to download for some users already, although as these things are usually staggered some users may not yet have the notification. It's also worth doing the old "check for updates" method in case you haven't been notified for some reason but do have access to the download.
Failing all of the above, there is a download link for the update which you can sideload onto your handset, found here:
"As is the case with other non-Nexus 5 devices, the update includes the older stock Android launcher as opposed to the new one with Google Now integrated," reports the site.
It also notes that you can update the device using that file directly on the phone itself.
"Note: On the Google Play edition HTC One you can download the update directly to local storage, then use the "update from phone storage" in the stock recovery to flash your update."
Sony Xperia Z1 found running 4.4.2
A version of the Sony Xperia Z1 has been found running Android 4.4.2 sparking rumours that an update is inbound.
The device is currently running Android 4.2.2 but it’s rumoured to be skipping Android 4.3 and heading directly to the KitKat OS.
An update was spotted on a red device, however, the Xperia Z1 only currently comes in white, black and purple, but don’t expect a red version anytime soon.
The red version of Sony’s flagship phone was created for illustrative purposes by a Vietnamese website.
The more interesting thing is the device is running 4.4.2, newer than any other device on the market.
We'd normally attach this with the photos themselves but the website which uploaded them has asked us not to use the photos.
Sony bringing Android 4.4 KitKat to Xperia SP?
The Xperia SP seems to be the next device in Sony’s roster to get the Android 4.4 KitKat update.
Models under investigation include the Xperia ZR, Xperia T, Xperia TX and Xperia V.
Of course none of this is confirmation the devices will ever be updated but it seems that Sony is at least looking into whether it’s possible to make the port.
Motorola reveals 10 handsets getting KitKat 4.4
Motorola's ownership by Google appears to be yeilding fruit afterall as the phone-maker has revealed it will be bringing Android KitKat 4.4 to 10 of its existing handsets.
As well as the already revealed Moto X update, which is currently spreading across US carriers. Many of the other devices are also US-only, so this isn't thrilling news for our non-American readers.
Motorla's Electrify M for US Cellular is being boosted, along with the Atrix HD on AT&T but NOT the Atrix HD Developer's Edition, for some reason.
On Verizon, the DROID Ultra, DROID Maxx, DROID Mini, DROID RAZR HD, DROID RAZR Maxx HD and DROID RAZR M will all be getting the choclatey update.
The RAZR HD and RAZR M Developer Editions will also be getting a jump to the new build, but apparently this could be a bit later on - although it's difficult to put that into context considering we don't have dates for any of this stuff.
Right, that's enough capslock. Oh, Motorola, you and your crazy naming conventions.
HTC clarifies HTC One Android 4.4 KitKat schedule for North America
HTC has taken to Twitter to clarify the situation in regard to the Android 4.4 KitKat update for the HTC One in the North American region.
HTC says it will deliver Android 4.4 KitKat and Sense 5.5 to all North American HTC One models by the end of January 2014.
While further specifics have not been detailed, hopefully this also gives us some idea of a schedule for the rest of the HTC One-using world. We can't imagine there'd be a massive gap between the US rollout and over here across the pond.
Android 4.4 KitKat UI features emulated in Nova Launcher 2.3 and Apex Launcher 2.2
Many Android users may understandably be a little bit grumpy about the fact that only a handful of devices have recieved the 4.4 KitKat update so far. Just as annoying, many manufacturers are keeping quiet about when we might see updates arriving on existing handsets.
While we can't bring you news of a way to circumvent this frustrating sitation entirely, we can tell you there are a couple of ways you can get a little bit of your KitKat fix (no, not buying the choccy bar).
Two Android launchers have been updated and now include a complete overhaul to bring many of KitKat's UI design features to whatever Android handset you're currently rocking.
The Beta 1 build of Nova Launcher 2.3 was pushed out earlier in November (yeah, we're a little late to the party on this one).
The main changes include the new icons, white colouration for indicators and buttons, and transparent menu bars.
The transparent components aren't fully functional yet, as you can see from the screenshots as soon as you go into a menu it's all black and grey again, but still, it makes the homescreen look a whole lot better.
It's also worth pointing out that the transparent bits don't work with every phone just yet, but once it's out of beta hopefully it'll be much more fully fledged.
You can opt into the beta on Google Play or you can download the APK file for side-loading via the Nova Launcher site.
Apex 2.2 is also in a beta stage and accessible via the project Google page, though it's understood a Google Play beta program is on the way.
Again, you're mainly getting flashy visual things and transparency effects, though it's worth noting the design extends at least as far as a semi-transparent overlay for the app drawer here.
Not a complete fix, but hopefully this might tide you over until KitKat rolls out more widely.
Android 4.4 update now rolling out to Moto X
Motorola has announced that the Android 4.4 KitKat update is now available for the Moto X. Verizon has now initiated the rollout, which will take place in phases, so if you don't get the update straight away just sit tight –– it's coming.
Motorola’s Senior Vice President Software Engineering Steve Horowitz revealed the news in a blog post on Tuesday. Horowitz said: "Our software team has been hard at work bringing the latest version of Android to our Moto X users more quickly than ever. When it came to KitKat, we couldn’t wait to deliver."
Motorola also revealed some of the changes with KitKat 4.4 including an improved phone dialer which allows you to search for contacts directly from the dial-pad. There are a bunch of new gallery effects such as Posterize, Highlights and Edges as well as a draw feature to annotate photos. There’s a new hangouts app which puts all of your conversations from texts, video calls and other chats into one place.
Another update is Color Emoji, a group of characters to put in your text messages. There’s also a drag to focus and expose feature on the camera app which lets you control focus and exposure with your finger.
Android 4.4 update now rolling out to Nexus 4
It’s been a long time coming – weeks, in fact – but Google’s Android 4.4 update is now seeding to select Nexus 4 handsets around the globe. The update is 238MB in size and is said to contain a raft of bug fixes for Google’s former flagship. If you haven’t received an OTA alert just yet, don’t panic, as it will likely be with you inside the next 24 hours.
The update brings the new Google Hangouts instant chat interface, automatic caller ID for nearby businesses, as well as the new ART runtime – a feature that reduces app start times and improves battery performance. Google reportedly encountered a lot of bugs in the original KRT16S build of Android 4.4. The new build – KRT16O – is now seeding to Nexus 4 handsets and is believed to have addressed these problems.
Expect an OTA update in the next 24 hours or so…
Android 4.4 update schedule: HTC, Samsung, Sony and Motorola
Android 4.4 is here and in the hands of a few users the globe over. Google is slowly adding support for existing Nexus handsets and tablets. But for everybody else inside the Android kingdom – those using HTC, Sony, Samsung or LG devices – the wait for KitKat is likely to be much longer than a matter of weeks.
So when will your Android handset get Android 4.4 KitKat? Good question. Here’s everything we know so far about HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony and Motorola’s plans for updating its existing hardware with Android 4.4.
HTC will begin rolling out Android 4.4 to its HTC One handset in January, a company exec has now confirmed. The Taiwanese manufacturer will work with UK networks to bring the update to as many One handsets as possible. The Google Edition HTC One will be receiving the update earlier, however, although HTC has yet to divulge any specific details as yet.
There’s no word on the update for the HTC One Max and HTC One Mini or the company’s existing fleet of Android handsets like the HTC One X, One XL and One S.
Keen to put its reputation for being rubbish at Android updates well behind it, Sony recently confirmed the following: “We’re also happy to tell you about the first raft of Xperia products that we’ll make Android 4.4 Kit Kat available for – they are: Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia Z Ultra and Xperia Z1.”
Sony didn’t give any specifics regarding timing and availability, but advices users to keep an eye on @SonyMobileNews for update information and schedules. In the meantime Sony will be updating an absolute boatload of its handsets – Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia SP, Xperia Z Ultra and Xperia Z1 – to Android 4.3 in the coming month.
As usual, Samsung is attempting to be like Apple and is adopting a very secretive approach to its plans for Android 4.4. However, Google has already confirmed that the Galaxy S4 with 4.4 should be coming soon. "Samsung UK will announce rollout plans for Android 4.4 in due course," a spokesperson told ZDNet.
Expect the Note 3, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Mega and perhaps even the Note 2 to get in on the KitKat action.
Moto confirmed it would be updating its Moto G handset to Android 4.4 in January. In the US where most of its business now takes place, reports claim the Moto X, Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx, and Droid Mini will all be getting Android 4.4 but neglected to give a specific date.
Basically, if you’re after Android 4.4 on your phone the general consensus for the big four seems to be nothing is happening until at least January. We’ll update this piece as and when we know more. Until then: January is the time to keep in mind.