The 3-minute, 250-word version of what's new in Android 4.4

You've probably got weeks, maybe months until your phone gets 4.4 anyways. Here's what you can take away now.

The official version of what's new in Android 4.4, or "KitKat," is 1,034 words. A thoughtful write-up at the Google Operating System blog is 1,026 words. We can do better than that, can't we? We can, and we shall.

caller_id_0.jpgImage via Google.
Smarter caller ID utilizing Google's business knowledge.
  • Say "OK Google" on the home screen to search, set reminders, ask questions.
  • Built-in printing support, though it's either Google Cloud Print or (likely) "Good luck."
  • Work-around for Google Wallet on all devices, even Verizon phones.
  • More full-screen more often: during music, books, videos, web pages.
  • Built-in cloud file choosing/saving, beyond just Google Drive. for now, but Dropbox & co. on the way.
  • Sincere claims and promises of better RAM (memory) and battery conservation, so even cheap-o Android phones are fluid.
  • Messages and Hangouts are merged; if the other person is also an Android/Hangout geek, you'll hardly notice the transition. Like iMessages between iPhone owners!
  • A nifty new phone interface, which puts your most frequent call-ees right in the front, and lets you otherwise search for names or nearby businesses/places. It is a phone, after all, right? Also, if a business known to Google Maps/Places is calling you, it shows the business name.
  • Full emoji support right in the main keyboard (and Hangouts app).
  • Built-in device management, or "Oh crud lost my phone so find it or wipe it."
android_print_huh.jpgImage via Google
Printing from Android? Supposedly!

Overall, it's not just small additions, but improvements to a lot of actual interactions. So two more words, then:

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