5 Things You’ll Love About Android 4.4
There was no event or announcement, but after months of waiting, Google finally took the wraps off of Android 4.4 and its flagship phone, the Nexus 5. The N5 went on sale as the first Android 4.4 – which is better known as KitKat – on October 31st. 4.4 will of course be making its way to other devices starting in the coming weeks, so what better time to talk about what’s to love in Google’s latest? I contest that there is none.
5 Cool Things About Android 4.4
1. Project Svelte
This is Google’s way of not only convincing manufacturers of low-end devices to ditch Gingerbread, but also to improve the Android experience on older handsets. Basically, Project Svelte makes it possible to run KitKat on devices with as little as 512MB of RAM so it’ll provide a much better experience on devices that would otherwise be stuck with Gingerbread. That, of course, also means it’ll run like a top on newer hardware as well, so it’s a win-win.
2. Immersive Mode
How many times have you been playing a fullscreen game and accidentally hit the back or home button on your device’s virtual navigation bar? Well, that’ll be a thing of the past with KitKat, because fullscreen apps are truly full screen – the navigation and status bars are completely hidden. A quick swipe down brings them both back, so getting back home is a snap.
3. Audio Tunneling
One thing that nearly everyone does with their phone is listen to music. With Android 4.4, Google has introduced a new feature that should save quite a bit of battery life. Without getting too nerdy, here’s the gist: audio processing will be offloaded to the onboard digital signal processor (DSP), which uses much less power than the CPU. The result? You get the tunes you want, and your battery takes less of a hit.
4. Hangouts Takes Over SMS/MMS
We’re one step closer to unified messaging: a few weeks ago, Google announced an update to Hangouts that brought SMS and MMS compatibility. In Android 4.4, it becomes the default messaging application, so you can manage all your text messages and Hangouts in one spot.
5. Smarter Dialer
How often do you avoid answering a call because you don’t know who it is? With Android 4.4, the dialer will check numbers not in your contact book against the yellow pages, so if it’s a business, the name shows up. In 2014 the company is also going to include people search, but only for those who opt-in with their Google ID. The days of “unknown number” are coming to an end. This is the future I’ve been waiting for.
Even though it was basically just announced and is only officially available on one phone, there’s already a lot to like about Android 4.4. And there’s even more to be excited about while you wait for it to hit your device – hopefully the wait isn’t a long one.