Google Android head Sundar Pichai said that the goal for 2014 is to “reach the next billion people.” In emerging countries like Brazil, India, Russia, Indonesia, and Mexico, Android’s business is tripling every year. In some of those countries, several manufacturers have been selling Android phones that are powered by the two-years-old Android Gingerbread (version 2.3) operating system. Android KitKat is intended to prevent older software from being sold in those emerging countries.
Android KitKat has a number of aesthetic enhancements and application improvements. Here is a list of 10 of the best KitKat features:
1.) “Ok Google”
You no longer need to touch your screen to perform searches, send texts, get directions or play music. When you are on the home screen or have Google Now pulled up, you just have to say “Ok Google” followed by a command to perform one of those tasks. You can say commands like “Ok Google, where is the closest McDonalds” or “Ok Google play Eminem.”
2.) Full-Screen Album And Movie Art Combined With Controls
When streaming music or projecting movies to Google Chromecast from your KitKat device, you will see full-screen album and movie art appear. There are controls on the lock screen that lets you play, pause, or jump to a certain song or movie chapter.
3.) Immersive Display
In previous versions of Android, the status bar and navigation buttons remained on the screen while reading an e-book, watching a movie, or playing a game. Since that was intrusive, Google added a feature in KitKat that hides the status bar and navigation buttons until you swipe the edge to bring them back.
4.) Contact Prioritization
Android KitKat prioritizes your contacts based on the people that you talk to the most. From the Contacts app, you can also search for places and businesses that are near you from the search box at the top. The Android KitKat Contacts app also integrates with your Google Apps contacts.
5.) Enhanced Caller ID
People have a tendency to ignore calls from unrecognizable numbers. If you receive a call that is not saved in your Contacts, then Android KitKat will attempt to retrieve the Caller ID information from local listings within Google Maps. This feature could be very useful for people that have family and friends that call from their work numbers.
6.) Message Consolidation
Android KitKat has consolidated SMS , MMS, video calls and Google Hangouts chat messages all in one place. The Android KitKat Messages app also supports location-sharing and animated GIFs through Google Hangouts.
Google has added Emojis into Android KitKat’s Google Keyboard. Emoji is the Japanese term for ideograms and smileys used in text messages and websites. You can enhance the context of your messages by placing smileys, cars, animals, and other interesting icons with this feature.
8.) Cloud Printing Support
Android KitKat has support for cloud printing. You can print documents, presentations, websites and photos from your KitKat phone or tablet. For this feature to work, your printer must be connected to Google Cloud Print or HP ePrint.
Google Quickoffice will be preinstalled with Android KitKat. Quickoffice supports the editing of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations created with Microsoft MSFT +1.94% Office or Google Docs. When you log into Quickoffice, the application will grab the documents that have been saved in your Google Docs and Google Drive account.
10.) Step Detector And Step Counter
Android KitKat has a step detector and step counter so that fitness-related apps can track when the user is walking, running, and climbing stairs. The step detector uses the accelerometer input to recognize when the user has taken a step. The step counter tracks the total number of steps since the device’s last restart. The Runtastic Pedometer app uses the step detector and step counter to track whether you are taking the 10,000 steps per day that is recommended for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
How do you get Android KitKat? Aside from coming pre-loaded on the Google Nexus 5, KitKat will be available as an update for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, HTC One (Google Play Edition) and Samsung Galaxy S4 (Google Play Edition) in the next few weeks.
Are you looking forward to using Android KitKat? Let us know in the comments below!