What’s new, KitKat?

    Archives What's new, KitKat?

    Screen Shot 2013-11-02 at 2.14.04 AM

    At long last, Google unwraps its newest treat for the digital sweet tooth. Here are 12 new features you will find in the latest version of Google’s open-source OS, Android 4.4 KitKat:


    Clean is in

    The KitKat OS carries with it a few design tweaks to make the visuals smoother and easier on the eyes. The status and notifications bar is now translucent, and in effect, the screen looks a bit bigger and your home screen wallpaper now takes up more space than it did before.

    KitKat_Screenshots_-_1_verge_super_wideScreenshot from The Verge

    Add to that a more condensed version of Android’s standard font (Roboto) and you’ve got yourself a lighter and cleaner look.

    immersive mode

    When they said full-screen, they meant it

    An “immersive mode” lets you hide all your system UI elements like your status bar and your navigation buttons. It is activated by a simple gesture that involves swiping up or down from the top or bottom of the display.


    Album art on your lock screen

    This version brings in a new interactive design for the lock screen whenever you’re playing music or movies. For instance, if you’re listening to an album, you’ll be able to see the album art in all its full-screen glory on the lock screen, together with a few controls that let you play, pause, skip to the next track, return to the previous track, or seek to a specific time.


    Hangouts: the new messaging center

    Built into KitKat is the revamped Hangouts app, which now integrates SMS and MMS. That’s right—Android bids goodbye to the old Messages app and consolidates text messages, instant messages, and even voice call activity into one place on your phone. Hangouts will now be your go-to app for these tasks.


    Emoji, emoji everywhere

    KitKat puts Emoji right in your Google Keyboard, which means you can put those teensy icons in an SMS, a Facebook chat message, the subject line of an email on Gmail, and everywhere else.


    Good Guy Google

    Google also promises that entry-level or low-spec’d devices can also get a fast and responsive experience on KitKat. The company claims that the new system runs smoothly on devices with as little as 512 of RAM.

    Low-power sensor batching = your best friend

    The new platform supports hardware sensor batching, which is said to immensely reduce power consumed by ongoing sensor activities.

    The Android developer website reads, “With sensor batching, Android works with the device hardware to collect and deliver sensor events efficiently in batches, rather than individually as they are detected. This lets the device’s application processor remain in a low-power idle state until batches are delivered.”

    Sensor batching ultimately allows your device to run for a longer period of time because it uses power more efficiently.


    A few steps more?

    KitKat adds support for two composite sensors: the step detector and step counter. As of today, they only work on the Nexus 5, but Google claims that they are currently working with their chipset partners to bring them to other new devices.


    Tag! You’re paying!

    A feature called Host Card Emulation (HCE) lets your NFC-capable device pair up with NFC apps for payments, loyalty programs, card access, transit passes, and other custom services. KitKat also comes with a new Reader Mode that lets you use apps as readers for HCE cards and for other NFC transactions.

    IR Blaster! Victory dance!

    KitKat also brings native support for infrared blaster technology, together with a new API and system service that enables developers to create apps that take advantage of the feature.


    Google Now is at your beck and call

    While it previously worked only inside Google Now, saying “OK Google” when you’re on the home screen now launches voice search, too.

    According to The Verge, Google Now is also a left-to-right swipe away from the home screen.


    Cloud activities

    KitKat comes with the ability to work with Cloud Printing, which means you can print using any printer connected to Google Cloud Print and printers that have apps found in the Play Store.

    Apart from Cloud Printing, apps such as Quickoffice now let users save files to cloud apps like Google Drive.


    The Nexus 5 is the first device to be shipped with Android 4.4 KitKat, which means it is also the first device to have all these new features. Follow THIS LINK to know more about the new Nexus!

    Sources: Android, Android Developer SiteThe Independent, SlashGear, Engadget, TechCrunch, The Verge


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