From Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich to Jelly Bean; Android has now morphed into its 4.4 version, KitKat. Since 4.0 Google’s has migrated from changing the appearance altogether to making it more polished with each iteration. KitKat adds to this trend by changing the look just enough to make Android feel refreshing while bringing some noteworthy features to the platform.
All of the Google Apps now have a cleaner, more boxy look to them that resembles the current Google Now app. The black bar at the top of the screen is now turned transparent and is accompanied by white icons as opposed to the blue ones found in the previous version. This is a welcomed addition, as it makes the notification bar more streamlined with the actual home screen rather than feeling like a separate entity. When you’re not on your home screen but are still playing music, the album cover becomes the background for the lock screen. Not only can you pause and go the next/previous track, but there’s now the ability to seek through the track.
Speaking of the home screen, it’s gotten a little update as well. The icons have been updated a bit (thank goodness that they don’t have the “flat” look that seems to be the current trend these days) as well as the dock. The line above the dock has disappeared and the middle button that you tap to bring up the app drawer actually as color now rather than being only a white outline with 4 dots in the center. Once the app drawer is opened you’ll see that tabs no longer exist. So how do you add widgets? Hold down on the home screen and it’ll shrink; providing you with the options to change the wallpaper, add a widget, or go straight to the settings. One little welcomed nuance is that the system will automatically had another screen when you’re dragging a widget or icon to a new place. This prevents you of having to add a new blank screen and then adding a something afterwards.
One thing that Google seems to have borrowed from Motorola is the ability to say “okay Google” in order to perform a search from the home screen. No longer do you have to press the search button in order to begin a search.
Other Noteworthy Features
- Automatically looks up a business so that it shows up on the incoming call screen if the number isn’t in your contacts already
- Hangouts combines SMS and MMS so that everything is in one place (yes, you can use emjois everywhere now)
- Integrated Quick Office to edit documents on the go
- Built in pedometer
- HDR+ for your photos
- Use your phone as a remote, provided it has a built in IR blaster
- Playing music now uses much less power
- More control how your location is accessed in order to help conserve battery life
- NFC Payments without the presence of an NFC Chip
- Check out the official KitKat site for More Information