REVIEW: What Android 4.4 Features Bring to Premium and Low-End Devices

Google doesn’t stop impressing us with its new roll-outs. After Android 4.3 OTA update became available for a number of devices, the company is getting ready to launch its new Android version for all Android handsets, both old and new models. Unlike the previous Android updates, Android 4.4 KitKat will run on both premium and low-end devices.

Today, let’s see how Android 4.4 looks like, check out the key Android 4.4 features and availability.

KitKat Design

With a number of new Android devices being released each and every year, old models seem to be less appealing to customers. Google is to break such stereotypes with the launch of Android 4.4 and let even the oldest smartphones get the all-new OS on-board. The only difference is that low-end devices come with less internal storage and RAM, that is why you will not be able to try all Android 4.4 features, unlike the owners of newer devices.

In general, Android 4.4 KitKat design has become cleaner and brighter. Google has also switched the way it handles translucency throughout the OS. Android dark black overlays have been replaced with semi-transparent white.

Key Android 4.4 Features

Google now allows some apps to go full-screen easily, covering status and button bars.

Home screen. Icons now look bigger, with the text condensed. The top status bar is translucent and blends with the wallpaper. Five standard home screens have been replaced with two. However, you may add more by grabbing apps/widgets and moving them to the left of right of the existing screen.

Menu. With the new Android 4.4 menu you are free to change the wallpaper and add widgets. There is an option dubbed settings, but it works in a rather strange way. For instance, while pressing the settings option, it takes you to Google search settings, not the settings menu of your phone.

Selecting wallpapers, you will find a number of KitKat thumbnails you are free to choose from. At the same time, Android now lets you choose your own pictures from the gallery and use those as a wallpaper.

The notifications menu was left untouched. However, Google has added a new location tile to the quick-settings panel. The Google search bar still stays at the top of home screens and can be removed only in case you use a launcher or install a new ROM.

Lock screen. In general, Android 4.4 lock screen is not much different from 4.2 and 4.3. Google has added a new music widget to let you control the play list without the need to unlock the phone. What is more, while playing videos on a Chromecast from the phone, the lock screen will show the video’s art as well as allow you to pause or play the movie.

Google Now. Android has simplified the way to access and use Google Now. To activate it, there is no need in tapping anywhere on the screen. Simply unlock the device and say OK Google, and the voice search will be activated. While searching, Google Now will dive deeper into your phone and pull results from the installed apps like OpenTabe, Etsy, Flixster, Moviefone, and NewEgg. In such a way, while searching for the best place to dine out, Google Now will start the already-installed OpenTable app (for instance) and show the reservation page of the restaurant. For comparison, earlier you had to start the app and search separately. In addition, Google Now will provide you with several new cards, which will show the updates from your favorite Web sites.

KitKat dialer has been updated as well. Now the system will scan the contacts you call/text with more often and keep such people front and center. In addition, you are free to look for businesses and nearby places right from the phone dialer.

The all-new Hangouts app consolidates all of your text and multimedia messages, conversations, and video calls in one place.

With Android 4.4 installed, your smart device will be compatible with any printer connected to Google Cloud Print. In such a way, you’ll be free to print photos, docs and Web pages right from your smartphone/tablet.

Android 4.4 KitKat Availability

First, Android 4.4 was launched with the Nexus 5 on October 31. As per the rest of Android devices, Google has announced that the Nexus 4/7/10 as well as the Galaxy S4 are to receive the update in the coming weeks, while all HTC One versions should be updated within 90 days. Let’s wait and see…

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  • LiquidR

    Can’t wait for Kit Kat on my Nexus 4.. Going to hold on the 5..