Google has officially announced Announced Android 4.4 KitKat along with the Nexus 5 smartphone at an event. KitKat is the most anticipated release of Android it brings host of new features and optimizations for running on low end devices as well.
Google KitKat has many improvements including the Phone app which is now reimagined, it can now search your contacts, nearby places or Google Apps contacts (your business directory) all from within the app making it super easy to get the information when you need. The new Hangouts app which now includes SMS, MMS and all the messages in one place. You don’t have juggle between apps for reading SMS, and Hangouts messages. Of course you can choose not to set the Hangouts as default app for messages.
Google Nexus 5 comes with a new launcher, now swiping from the home screen reveals the Google Now assistant for getting information easy and fast. Google says this is more convenient for the power users of Android to get the important information. You will see Google Now integration through out the OS, Google will release more useful Google Now Cards in the near future.
Google has made sure that the latest version of Android runs smoothly on low end devices having just 512MB of RAM. Google says getting the next 1 billion users is the goal and making mobile phones accessible for everyone is at the hear of Android. With KitKat Android memory footprint has come down significantly, by removing unncessary background services and reducing the memory consumption regularly used apps. The optimizations doesn’t end at OS level but they also apply to Google services like Chrome and YouTube etc. With the new optimizations Android Kitkat can now comfortably run on phones with 512MB of memory.
By optimizing the memory consumption of Android Google is hoping that OEMs will push updates to the lower end phones as well, so that most of the Android devices will get the new version soon. Earlier due to memory constraints OEMs have not pushed the latest version of Android to their low end devices thereby increasing the Android fragmentation issues.
KitKat has received some important and useful UX changes as well, for example now apps can make use of full screen, the notification bar will hide making room for full screen experience. Google calls it immersive mode, in this mode everything will hide from the screen, the only thing you will see is the app, game or book you are reading.