Google releases its latest Android 4.4 KitKat
Google finally releases its latest Android 4.4 KitKat – The newest iteration of its mobile OS.
The KitKat update to the Android OS brings some visual changes, including more immersive graphics, cleaning up the home screen, removing some superfluous styling and as well as deeper integration with Google’s intelligent assistant.
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User interface tweaks: Android 4.4 KitKat offers a translucent menu bar located at the bottom of the screen, and new transition effects when you open the app launcher. It also hides the status bar and navigation buttons when the user is reading a book, or playing a game or watching a movie.
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- New dialer, caller ID: The new phone app now automatically prioritizes the users’ contacts based on the people they talk to the most. If users get a call from a phone number that is not saved in their contacts, the phone will look for matches from businesses with a local listing on Google Maps.
- Unified Hangouts messaging app: Android 4.4 brings a new unified messaging app, with Hangouts getting SMS and MMS integration. Hangouts also allow users to share their location and send animated GIFs.
- Smarter Google Now integration: Google can be launched by simply swiping to the left instead of swiping from the bottom.
- Better support for cloud printing: Users will now be able to print photos, documents, and web pages from their phone or tablet through any printer connected to Google Cloud Print, HP ePrint printers, and via other printers that have apps in the Google Play Store.
- Chrome WebView: Android apps that feature web content now use Chrome to render web components accurately and quickly.
- Step detector, counter: Android 4.4 brings platform support for two new composite sensors, step detector and step counter allowing users to track steps when they’re walking, running, or climbing stairs, via apps and hardware that offer the feature.
- Enhanced support for connectivity options: Android 4.4 brings support for the Message Access Profile (MAP) enabling Bluetooth-enabled cars to exchange messages with Android devices. It also supports Wi-Fi Tunneled Direct Link Setup (TDLS), a way to stream media and other data faster between devices already on the same Wi-Fi network.
- Better accessibility options: Android 4.4 offers system-wide preferences for ‘closed captioning’. Apps that offer video can access the user’s captioning settings and adjust the display of the captions as per the user’s preferences.
- Screen recording: Android 4.4 offers a screen recording utility that lets users capture video as they use the device and store it as an MP4 file. This also allows developers, reviewers and end-users to create walkthroughs and tutorials for apps, testing materials, and marketing videos, among others.
Google has moved to deliver more of its in-house apps, like Hangouts, Maps and Google+, through the Play store, updates that keep these apps competitive and modern are able to be delivered to any compatible phone with access to the store. Even if a smartphone is running an older version of Android, it will be able to use most of the features that are drawing users to KitKat.