Android 4.4 KitKat Features

Just in time for trick-or-treaters, Google started handing out KitKat yesterday, along with a new smartphone running the latest Android operating system.

Although the tech rumor press had pretty much accepted Key Lime Pie as the moniker for the upcoming Android release, Google announced a partnership with Nestle at the beginning of September. The K-release (following Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich) was thus named KitKat.

New Features in Android 4.4 KitKat

For Android users, KitKat enables always-on voice searching, faster multitasking, wireless printing, integration of Google Maps into the phone dialer and caller ID, and, in a real productivity coup, emoji symbols built right into the default keyboard.

Options for app developers abound, too. Message Access Profile (MAP) eases communication between mobile devices and cars with Bluetooth capabilities. The operating system and apps can be optimized for low-memory devices with as little as 512MB of RAM. An Immersive Mode removes all UI elements like the Home button and top bar. Notifications can include more information like pictures and a chronometer. There’s also support for hardware infrared blasters and tougher encryption.

Nexus 5 Proves Popular

New Nexus devices tend to be hotly anticipated, as they receive Android updates more quickly than other phones and are sold inexpensively and unlocked for use on multiple carriers. The Nexus 5 was no exception, with rumors swirling about its specifications and release date for months. The $349 black and white models with 16GBNexus 5 Google storage were sold out as of the morning of November 1, with $399 32GB models expected to ship two to three weeks later.

The phone is built by LG and is internally very similar to that company’s G2. It uses the same 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, but has a smaller 4.95-inch display that nonetheless runs at a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. The 8-megapixel camera uses optical image stabilization to reduce blur in photos. And of course it runs KitKat from day one.

Unlike the Nexus 4, the Nexus 5 supports LTE mobile broadband, giving it faster access to the Internet. Sensors include accelerometer, GPS, compass, proximity/ambient light, gyroscope, pressure, and hall effect. It also supports wireless charging, Near Field Communication, and HDMI out via SlimPort.

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