November 01, 2013, 5:59 PM — 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.
Image via Google.
- 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. Box.net 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."
Image via Google
Overall, it's not just small additions, but improvements to a lot of actual interactions. So two more words, then: