At its event in San Francisco, Google unveiled Android 4.4, the long-awaited KitKat. And it brings some serious changes to Android, and some much-awaited integration among Google services. First thing you will notice is some design tweaks in the UI which make Android cleaner and simpler than ever before. The status and notification bar are now translucent and disappear completely when you’re in a fullscreen app. The Google’s Roboto font has also got new condensed version. The dialer app has been completely re-thought. It will let you search for a person or business through Google’s database even if you don’t have the contact number stored in your contacts. The hangout app has become unified messaging system for Android integrating Google voice, chat and SMS. But these cosmetic changes are just half of the story the real thing is under the hood. Google has taken completely different approach with KitKat. Some of the most amazing features of the latest version are:
Android for Everyone
Android 4.4 is designed to run fast, smooth, and responsively on a much broader range of devices than ever before — including on millions of entry-level devices around the world that have as little as 512MB RAM – Google said on its official blog
KITKAT IS VERY MUCH INTENDED TO SOLVE GOOGLE’S FRAGMENTATION PROBLEMS
With better memory management throughout the OS and new APIs, Google has taken the OS efficiency to new heights. It will also help to deal with the Fragmentation issues of Android.
New NFC Capabilities
With Android 4.4 KitKat developers will be able to emulate your credit cards through Host Card Emulation (HCE), for payments, loyalty programs, card access, transit passes, and other custom services. There is no need for Secure Element to store your information.
Built in Printing Framework
With standard printing framework built at its core Android apps can now print any type of content over Wi-Fi or cloud-hosted services such as Google Cloud Print. In print-enabled apps, users can discover available printers, change paper sizes, choose specific pages to print, and print almost any kind of document, image, or file.
Low Power Sensors for Improved Overall Standby Time
With the new technique called Hardware Sensor Batching, Google has managed to reduce overall power consumption of sensors. According to Google “Sensor batching is ideal for low-power, long-running use-cases such as fitness, location tracking, monitoring, and more. It can makes your app more efficient and it lets you track sensor events continuously — even while the screen is off and the system is asleep.”
Android 4.4 also adds platform support for two new composite sensors — step detector and step counter — that let your app track steps when the user is walking, running, or climbing stairs. These new sensors are implemented in hardware for low power consumption.
Framework for Beautiful Apps
Android 4.4 KitKat now supports full screen immersive mode. The System UI will hide when you use any full screen app or Game and it can be brought back with just swiping gesture from top or bottom of the screen. Android 4.4 introduces a new transitions framework to create high-quality animations in your app.
New Multi-Media Powerhouse
Android 4.4 adds support for screen recording and provides a screen recording utility that lets you capture video as you use the device and store it as an MP4 file. It’s a great new way to create walkthroughs and tutorials for your app, testing materials, marketing videos, and much more.
60 HOURS OF AUDIO PLAYBACK
Android 4.4 adds platform support for audio tunneling to a digital signal processor (DSP) in the device chipset for high-performance, lower-power audio playback. Google says the Nexus 5 can play music for up to 60 hours on a charge thanks to a new audio tunneling feature.
There’s plenty more in the full change log. Most of the features will help the developers community to bring us the awesome apps. So what do you think about the features of Android KitKat? Leave your opinion in comments.