Awesome Android Kit Kat Features
Kit Kat is the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system known as Android. It was designed to be what Android have not been like so many updates ago – light and smooth. While Jelly Bean focused on getting the buttery smooth interface into smartphones, Kit Kat takes it further to becoming extremely light, meaning it can run on a device that would normally only run on Gingerbread (or even lower). This means that low end phones don’t have to run a very old version of Android anymore. They can use the latest one instead.
Now apart from the internal smooth and light optimizations of Kit Kat, Google introduced a few new features as well, which were pre-loaded to their new Nexus 5 smartphone. Let’s have a look at what they have here.
Google Experience Launcher
Something that will probably never get ported to OEM smartphones (and other Nexus smartphones for now) is the new Launcher in the Nexus 5. Called the Google Experience Launcher, it is a completely rewritten Android launcher that has been integrated with their Google Now voice control services. From anywhere on the home screen, you can just say “Ok, Google” and their voice command feature will activate. While this is not in the same level as the Moto X “always on” listening service, it does offer a nice touch of trying to imitate it for all smartphones that doesn’t have the Moto X hardware.
Redesigned Contacts and Calls
Another amazing feature in Kit Kat is how contacts now work. Your contacts list can now be sorted with your most frequently contacted people at the top of the list. While this feature has been available on many OEM builds, it is nice to see this on the stock Android build.
Google also integrated part of the Google Experience in the contacts app by making use of their most powerful tool – search. Now, when you search for names or contacts, you can also search for local businesses that are listed in Google’s business directories. This extends to their Caller ID feature, which can now identify publicly registered numbers.
Kit Kat is about to get rid of the messaging app. The new update now allows for native SMS features to be integrated to built-in as well as 3rd party apps. To demonstrate their new SMS API features, they got rid of the standard SMS app in Android and used the Hangouts app as the default SMS app instead.
3rd Party apps usually had to go through some hoops to overlap the built-in SMS app in Android. This may involve rerouting messages, which could lead to double messages or errors. Sometimes, they even have to disable or forcefully uninstall the stock SMS app. Now, all they have to do is hook up to the Kit Kat API and set their app as the true default SMS app.
What I can probably guess is that one of these days, when Samsung does update their devices to Kit Kat, you can almost bet that the SMS app would be gone. The problem is, they won’t use Hangouts as the default App. They will most likely integrate their own messaging platform – ChatOn with SMS features. It’s already in every new Samsung smartphone. I guess we can at least save space used by the regular SMS app.
When Google bought Quickoffice, they finally offered a real office feature for Android. For a while now, people have boasted about productivity in Android, but it never had a real office app until they offered Quickoffice for free. You usually had to pay for that kind of service on mobile. Now, not only is it free, but it is integrated into Kit Kat as the default office tool for the productive Android user.
On top of being able to read and edit your documents on the go, you can now print them using a built-in cloud printing solution. Your smartphone and printer must be connected through Google Cloud Print or HP Cloud ePrint for this to work.
Integrated Health Sensors
Probably in response to Apple and Samsung’s campaign for better health, Kit Kat is now equipped with health focused services as well. It now natively tracks steps and distance traveled, which can then be collected by other health focused applications. This helps you keep track of your activities when you have your smartphone with you.
New Camera Firmware
Google recently released Kit Kat 4.4.1 so soon after Kit Kat 4.4 was released. The highlight of the update is the new camera firmware, which optimizes the Nexus 5 camera for better color capture and better low light performance. It also includes a new HDR+ feature that combines low light mode shots with HDR imaging technology. This produces an amazing, well-balanced shot no matter what situation you take it. It also takes very little time to make, since they really ramped up the camera’s speed with the new firmware.