Alongside the Nexus 5 unveiling, Google took the wraps off KitKat and showcased its latest features. While Jellybean was all about smoothness, Google has concentrated on memory optimisation this time with the aim of making KitKat and its core Apps run less intensively, especially on low powered devices.
KitKat will obviously come loaded on the Nexus 5 out of the box but other Nexus devices such as the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and the Google Play Edition devices should see it in the coming weeks.
As was the case when going from 4.2 to 4.3, many of the changes are under the hood so to speak and there has been a considerable amount of them. If you want to read more in depth details of these changes you can check out this link on the Android Developers website which covers each change comprehensively.
With that said there has been some visual improvements and UI changes to make the whole system more streamlined.
The main highlights of the update are:
- A new “Immersive Mode” which will allow supported Apps to go completely full screen removing the menu and status bars
- All Google’s core Apps have gone through a “Project Svelte” treatment to reduce their memory consumption and Apps have the ability scale down when running on low memory devices
- Improved printing support via Google Cloud Print or through any App supported printer
- Hangouts in now the default messaging App and will handle SMS messages. Third party Apps can now also be installed to handle SMS
- Better support and handling of additional sensor types such as pedometers to reduce battery strain
- Improved Phone App which will now let you search for numbers via the web that are not stored on your phone
- If you receive a call from a number not in your phone book, Google will try identify it from the web
- Google Now can be accessed from swiping from the left of the home screen and it will also see changes to offer improved location or context based cards
- You can now create an unlimited amount of home screens
- Once supported by hardware, devices can be woken up using voice commands such as “OK Google” similar to the Moto X
- Faster Multitasking due to memory and touchscreen improvements
As I mentioned above there are many more changes but these are the most obvious until we get our hands on KitKat and dig a little deeper.
Check out the image gallery below to see some of the improvements.