All you need to know about Android 4.4 KitKat – Top Features

In this post I will explain some highlighted features of the new Android 4.4 KitKat.

Google announced the Android 4.4 KitKat along with the brand new Nexus 5. The new version of this sweet operating system comes with some amazing enhancements that you are going to like for sure.

Let us take a look at these features one by one while we explain each one of them by their turn. Read on because this is going to be interesting.

All you need to know about Android 4.4 KitKat

New User Interface Tweaks

This version is not a minor update for Android so it brings some new and improved tweaks for the user interface parts of the new OS. These tweaks include:

  • New launcher
  • New apps drawer
  • New homescreen setup
  • New Widget setup
  • New and larger icons
  • API that allows apps to go full screen and take benefit of the full screen real estate aka Immersive Mode
  • New lockscreen widgets

Out of the above mentioned list I will explain the Immersive Mode only as the other ones are quite obvious.

Immersive Mode

The Android 4.4 KitKat comes with a new API that allows developers to make their apps go fullscreen by hiding the status as well as the on-screen navigation bar to reap the benefit of the whole screen canvas and this definitely increases the area of the app the user can interact with.

Before 4.4 this was not possible and in most apps the on-screen button used to stay on-screen even if the app was supposed to be fullscreen.

Apps like various ebook readers, Flipboard and many others can take advantage of this and provide a better user experience.

Support for low configuration devices

The new and better Android 4.4 KitKat is designed to run smoothly. Even on devices with just about 512 MB RAM, Android 4.4 will run comfortably.

The developers can take advantage of the whole new API ActivityManager.isLowRamDevice() to tune their apps so as to make them run properly on low configuration devices as well.

Better Caller ID and Dialler

The new version of Android also comes with a better dialler and a new caller ID that takes advantage of the internet to find out who’s calling you from a number that is not stored on your phone.

You can also search for businesses right from the dialler itself now. If you get a call from some business number, the new dialler will search the number and extract the information related to that number and it will show you a detailed info on the caller ID screen.

The new dialler also sorts the contacts based on how much you tend to talk to people. People you contact the most will be given priority but you can always go on and dial a new number.

Hangouts as default SMS & MMS app

Android 4.4 KitKat comes with Hangouts as the new SMS and MMS app. This integrates the IM and phone messaging capabilities into one. But it has a few quirks and some people might not like it.

Deeper Google Now integration

Google Now was announced back with the good old Android 4.1 JellyBean and brought some amazing features along with it to the table. It has been improving with every single update ever since. This new version of Android comes with a deeper and much better integration of Google Now into the operating system.

When you are on the homescreen you just need to say “OK Google” and the voice search will get activated. Ask your questions or get things done. It’s your choice.

Again, when you are on the homescreen, all you need to do is swipe left to access Google Now directly.

The launcher itself is based on the new Google Search and without that it cannot function at all. Read this great article at ArsTechnica to know more: Click here.

In app web rendering via Chrome: Chrome WebView

The apps that require to show some content via web can now use Chrome directly. This is beneficial in many ways like the rendering will be faster and better than it used to be.

It will allow the in app rendering on most of the web elements like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript.

Better support for sensors like Pedometer and IR Blasters

Android 4.4 now comes with support for sensors like pedometer and IR Blasters by default. Pedometer will allow apps to keep a count of number of steps the person is taking and the IR blaster can be used to control electronic devices like Television, AC etc.

Better Bluetooth Profiles

The two new Bluetooth Profiles will let the devices running Android 4.4 KitKat and the apps running on it interact with a larger number of low power devices and perform some better media interaction thereby improving the usability.

Screen Recording Utility

Android 4.4 KitKat also supports screen capture in form of video and comes with a screen recording utility as well. This is a very useful feature for developers who can easily make screencasts showing how their apps can function.

Better Accessibility Options

A new accessibility option has been added and it is named as Closed Captioning. You can now go to Settings > Accessibility > Captions and you can turn this feature on.

This feature will let the apps that have to utilize captioning to check the options system wide and then function as per the options set by the user.

Host card Emulation

Do you know about NFC or Near Field Communication? It let’s you do various different kind of stuff like transfering files, sending and receiving multimedia, setting profiles and even making payments! All this with help of just one small NFC chip.

But the technology is still pretty new and can make a device a tad bit costly. So the Android 4.4 KitKat comes with a new feature called Host Card Emulation which will let the phone running Android 4.4 KitKat emulate the functioning of a NFC device even if the device doesn’t have an NFC chip.

This can have a plethora of applications and it will be exciting to see how the developers are going to utilize it.

Printing Framework

The new flavour of Android also comes with this new feature that lets you print any document over WiFi or cloud using the new Printing Framework.

A great video by MKBHD

If an image if worth a thousand words then a video should definitely be worth about ten thousand words. Here is an amazing video by MKBHD that explains the Top 5 features of Android 4.4 KitKat.

So this was a post that mentioned and explained some of the highlighted features of the new Android 4.4 KitKat. But there is a lot more about this new amazing version and if you would like to take a look at all this then head over to Android Developers page of Android 4.4 KitKat.

Ujjwal Kumar

Ujjwal is just a simple guy who likes to be happy and likes to write various different kind of stuff. You can find him writing posts related to Android most of the time but he also likes writing poems, short stories and other stuff. Mail him at ujjwal [at] droidextra [dot] org.

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