Android KitKat makes its debut

We have been talking it for weeks, so it really is no surprise to see Android KitKat (aka Android 4.4) make its debut.

It isn't a radical change in some ways, but in other ways it is, not least because this is the OS that could expand the reach of Google's latest mobile platform to more phones.

That's Google's own apps now use less memory, while the interface is said to automatically scale back to work in devices with only 512MB RAM. The idea is to bring uniformity to the market when it comes to Android operating systems. Nice theory, but it will still be down to makers to choose to use this above other earlier systems they are perhaps more familiar with for budget phones.

The interface has been tweaked, with a camera shortcut and 'now playing' content more prominent on your home screen, with the ability to rearrange your home screen if you want to do that. The navigation interface also goes when you are inside supporting apps, which should boost screen size. The dialler and Hangouts are also easier to access.

There is now support for wireless printing and third-party cloud storage within the Gallery app and battery life gets a boost with some technical tweaking. Developers are now able to write apps that support infrared control, pedometers and carrier-independent NFC payment architecture with KitKat too.

Finally, search gets a boost, with voice search going hands-free using keyword activation. If it can't understand you, the operating system will answer questions to make things clearer. Speech recognition is said to have been boosted by about 25% in terms of what it understands.

The one unanswered question is just when it will arrive. Google will be pushing it out to its own hardware where possible fairly quickly, but the other makers will probably want to take their time studying its impact before committing to a timescale. If you are on a contract, you probably have a delay there too, as networks also take a good look at it.

We would say the first quarter of 2014 for most flagship phones. be interesting to see how many older and more budget phones feel the love too.

Source: Engadget

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