Google has finally launched its latest Android OS, the KitKat, along with the Nexus 5. After previously revealing just the version number along with its name, Google today officially gave out the details and features of its new OS. The newly introduced features are as follows:
Improved Google Now Integration
Users can now launch Google Now by simply saying “Ok Google” and start giving voice commands to it. This feature was previously seen in the Moto X although it is less powerful than the one on the Moto X as the phone needs to be unlocked and on the home screen itself and it is only included in the Nexus 5 for the time being.
Faster Multitasking and Low-End Device Support (Project Svelte)
Android 4.4 KitKat aims at enhancing multitasking performance by optimizing memory and improving touch screen responsiveness. Google is also intent on resolving the fragmentation issue by providing core apps with less memory footprint. The new OS will also be able to run on low-end devices, with RAM as less as 512 MB. Known as Project Svelte, this is great news for users with older devices running older versions of Android.
As was seen in many previous leaks, the Android 4.4 KitKat comes with many design tweaks. The navigation and status bars now sport a translucent look. It also lets users to run apps in full screen mode by hiding the status bar and the navigation buttons. If they want, the users can bring them back by swiping the edge of the screen.
Smarter caller ID and Priority Contacts
This is a very useful feature that has been introduced in the new Android OS. The caller ID will now display the name and the business image of the caller, even if the number is not saved in your contacts, by searching through local business listings on Google Maps. The new contacts app will also automatically prioritize your contacts based on the people that you talk to the most. Users can also search for nearby places and businesses, contacts, or people in their Google Apps domain directly from the Phone app.
Android 4.4 allows users to print photos, documents, and web pages directly from their phone or tablet. Users can print to any printer connected to Google Cloud Print, to HP ePrint printers, and to other printers that have apps in the Google Play Store and can change paper sizes, choose specific pages to print, and print almost any kind of document, image, or file.
Unified Messaging App
The Hangouts app will now also display your SMS and MMS, thus allowing users to view all of their messages in one single app. The app will also allow you to share your location and send animated GIFs.
Improved NFC Payment
Google has now removed the secure element required for NFC payments, thus allowing users to make payment irrespective of their carriers. Android 4.4 introduces Host Card Emulation that makes any device with NFC hardware capable of using the tap-to-pay functionality.
Android 4.4 now allows users to record video directly from the screens of their devices. The video is stored in MP4 format and can be recorded in both portrait as well as landscape modes.