The much awaited Android 4.4 KitKat OS is finally launched along with the launch of the Google Nexus 5 from LG, and the new OS version packs in a lot of new features and stuff. We have listed the best as said by its makers, but we will get to know the actual best ones only after one of the devices gets the update, or when the Nexus 5 is in the hands for testing.
“Ok Google” listens to you
This was something seen in the Moto X, where “Ok Google Now” used to activate the phone and make it hear to what you say, respond to the command. Now, the KitKat version asks you to say “Ok Google” and the voice search would get activated, and the same can be used to listen to the music, send text messages and even search for directions to a place.
Music Player art on Lock Screen
The shortcuts to music play toggles were already present on the lock screen in the previous versions of Android, but the KitKat version brings a full screen album or movie art along with the toggles to control the played media. This is when a song is being played, or if you are projecting movies to a Chromecast.
Improvised Phone App
The phone app easily looks a lot different, and the contacts area shows a prioritized list where the most contacted people are listed on the top. From the same place, the user can search for the nearby places and contacts.
Caller ID smarter, like TrueCaller
Yes, we do mention TrueCaller here because it is one of the widely used apps for its help in searching for the information about the phone number, but now Google is doing something similar by searching for the phone number in the local listings of Businesses in Google Maps, if the number is unknown and not saved in your phone.
The wireless printing that the iOS users boasted of, is now a part of the Android KitKat, where the smartphones can print to the Google Cloud Print, to HP ePrint printers or to the other printers which have got the compatible apps in the Play Store.
The recently redesigned Quickoffice app for Android is well integrated in this new version, and one can take full advantage of it with the direct inclusion in the OS.
Hangouts App Brings Messages at one place
The messaging app is gone, and now you would be able to see all the messages at one place – Hangouts. Google had slowly changed the Google Talk to Hangouts, and now made this as the only messaging app included in the KitKat version. To make it better, Hangouts allows you to send even GIFs and locations to your contacts.
Emoji in Google Keyboard
Gone is the plain and boring keyboard, as we see the Japanese Emoji characters smiling and expressing around in the messages and they can be directly chosen in the Google Keyboard.
Support for Chromecast
We did love Chromecast, the tiny dongle to stream the content directly to the HDTV. Now, the compatibility of that comes with every device which runs the Android 4.4 version. Content from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and Google Play can be directly streamed to the HDTVs.
Web Components through Chrome
There are several apps which use the web content to display, and for this, now they would be using Chrome to render the web components accurately and quickly.
Built-in Android Device Manager
The Android Device Manager which was recently brought out for users to take advantage of, to keep the private information safe, is now built-in into the KitKat OS and thus every device that gets this version would see the device manager already and can use it to find the lost phone or wipe data in it.
New Download Manager
The download manager, or the Downloads app has got a redesign and now it provides the users with some extra options such as sorting of the downloaded files, in either the list or grid view.
Home Screen / Launcher Switching made easier
You remember how you used to change the home screen earlier? it was somewhere deep in the settings where you had to change to defaults, or go to the App settings and clear the defaults for that particular home screen app. Now, there’s a direct setting for that. You would just need to go to Settings > Home and you get the easy switching options.
Refreshed Email App
The email app (not sure how many are actually using this instead of Gmail) has got a redesign, with the changes being – Nested folders, photos for contacts and a better and easy navigation through the conversations.
HDR+ photography only on Nexus 5
So, there’s something different for the Nexus 5 owners who would be receiving their device soon – HDR+ photography. Here, the camera would take a few rapid shots and combine them to come up with a single best possible shot. Claims that the night photos are sharp with less noise, but who actually tested this already?
Location Mode settings changed
This time, Google cares about your phone’s battery and thus there are options for users to choose between the high accuracy, and the battery saving location modes. Earlier, one had to keep running around the settings to toggle between Wi-Fi, mobile network and GPS to check for the location accurately, while saving the battery, but now it’s the job of your OS to do that.
Pedometer – Finally!
Only Samsung had this for now, on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3. The pedometer would be counting each of the steps you make and the updated hardware along with the Android 4.4 will do the counting while saving a lot of battery.
NFC for Authorizing Payments
The new architecture that Google was mentioning about recently, works with most of the mobile carriers and just a simple tap with the NFC tag would be enough to authorize the transactions on the cloud, and pay with Google Wallet or other apps.
IR Blaster Support
For the smartphones which come with the Infraded blaster, the new version of Android supports the applications for remote controlling of the TVs and any other nearby devices.
Full Screen Wallpapers
The black notification panel will now have the part of the wallpaper, as the wallpaper extends through the notification panel and the system buttons. And while you try to preview a wallpaper before you set it, the new Android system would preview exactly how it would look after it’s set.