Not Getting The Android 4.4 KitKat Update? Fear Not. You're Not Missing Much

Blogs Damien McFerran 13:34, 17 Jan 2014

With HTC confirming that the One X and One X+ are missing out on Android 4.4 KitKat, Damien offers some words of consolation

Unlike Apple, Google is often quite slow in getting its software updates onto all Android devices out in the wild. The reason for this is simple: Google allows hardware makers and networks to customise the firmware, which often results in delays – or not getting the update at all. As a result, adoption of Android 4.4 - otherwise known as KitKat - has been sluggish; Android 4.3 is still the dominant version of the OS, with KitKat present on less than 2 percent of devices. 

Compare this to the rapid update rate seen on iOS devices, and you can see why many Android users are feeling frustrated. They're having to wait months to get a sniff of the latest software, and in some cases, won't be getting it at all. Case in point: HTC has just confirmed that the One X and One X+ will be stuck on 4.3 forever. 

While this isn't the best news – especially when you consider that both of HTC's phones aren't exactly ancient – it's certainly not the end of the world. I've been using 4.4 on my Nexus 5 since it launched last year, and while it's arguably the best iteration of Google's mobile software yet, the differences between it and Jelly Bean are minimal. Granted, some tidying up has been done behind the scenes to make sure Android is faster, smoother and more efficient than it's ever been, but those looking for dramatic aesthetic changes or revolutionary new features are going to be disappointed.

"Immersive mode" makes some apps easier to use and Google Now has been given pride of place to the left of your main home screen, but most users will be genuinely hard-pressed to tell the difference between 4.3 and 4.4. The most drastic change happens in messaging, with SMS and MMS functionality now being absorbed into Google's Hangouts IM client – a move which some may see as a valid reason not to upgrade to KitKat.

There's nothing here which matches the wow factor of when we first laid eyes on Google Now, or when Apple introduced the new-look iOS 7. Google has clearly gotten to the stage where Android is so accomplished, so feature-rich, that massive, sweeping changes aren't needed – everything looks, sounds and functions well, and 4.4 is more about smoothing the edges rather than ripping up the rulebook and starting afresh. God knows the company has done that enough times in the past - just compare Android 2.0 to Android 4.4, for example.

If you've bought a phone recently that is still lumbered with 4.3, try not to get too jumpy. You'll more than likely get KitKat in 2014. And if you're one of the unlucky people whose phone is stuck on Jelly Bean forever, try not to feel too downhearted – you've still got one of the best mobile operating systems around.

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Seriously? You write this as if you don't know anything about Android which I think you would if you're using a Nexus 5 and writing on this website.

"Google" has nothing to do with getting their software updates on to non Google Nexus devices, that's all up to the device manufacturers.

Android is a completely different software from iOS, if you're going to compare the numbers then you need to compare the number of people on iOS 7 using an iphone and the number of people on Android 4.4 using a Nexus device.

Just more click bait from another horrible so called "tech site".

...or you may want to avoid mentioning the updates because everyone of them is an apple ios feature copied, again

You mean all of Apple's "new" iOS features are copied from Android? Last time I checked ios7 was almost a direct clone of miui, next thing you'll be trying to tell me that they invented the fingerprint scanner and that the iPhone was the first phone ever to have one...

Agreed, Damien must not know how phone manufacturers produce android devices. Google releases it's code and it's up to the manufacturer to create a viable working os for their own device, not the other way around.

Did you even bother to read the feature? First paragraph:

"The reason for this is simple: Google allows hardware makers and networks to customise the firmware, which often results in delays – or not getting the update at all."

Seriously, I love Android and always will, but it's totally blinkered fan boy nonsense like this which gives its followers a bad name.

You've read the title, seen a comparison to Apple, gotten all worked up and not even bothered to read what has been written properly.

iOS has copied many, many Android features over the years, so let's not even get started on that.

"Google releases it's code and it's up to the manufacturer to create a viable working os for their own device, not the other way around." –– That's exactly what Damien said in the first paragraph (see below).

""The reason for this is simple: Google allows hardware makers and networks to customise the firmware, which often results in delays – or not getting the update at all."

Google have openly admitted since they started that they base everything they try to do on Apples model, from dropping out of uni (but they had hedge fund backing where as Woz and Jobs did not), to the colours and fonts for the google logo.

The guy so started Android, openly admits they had to change Android to the copy iPhone.

The head of MMS and SMS has admitted that has been an embarrassment, an integrated messages service, I wonder where that came from, these are all checkable facts.

Every 'innovation' on kit-kat is from iOS 7 or an app in the Apple App Store, no one sane would dev for Android first, they are in business not charity.

Next your going to be imaging that Nest devices haven't been on sale for two years at the Apple stores.

Ask Andy Rubin how he admits freely that android had to be recoded to ape iOS. After he had spent years copying the Blackberry UI

Bless, I suggest you do a Bing search, put these words into the search: criticisms, miui, copy of iOS.

Then do a search for first release dates for iOS, then for Miui, then for Android.
And I am not the only person to notice this, Bing it! I suggest you put in the search field, android kitkat copies iOS, there are many independent sources who concur with me.

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