Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Android Kit Kat 4.4 on the Nexus 7

Typing "Kit Kat release date" into Google had become a weekly routine for me these past few months. At long last, my patience was rewarded when my Nexus 7 had an exciting new icon in the notification bar marking a new system update. Despite some initial hangups in downloading the firmware, the installation process went smoothly.

To keep myself surprised for a change, I had kept myself in the dark about Kit Kat's new features. So when my tablet rebooted after the update, surprised I was. After witnessing the drastic new changes in iOS 7 a month before, Kit Kat fell way below my expectations. New icons, layouts and settings were soon apparent after some digging around but my usual excitement on new android updates was somewhere in space crashing into Mars.

Below is a list of changes found on the Nexus 7 running Android Kit Kat 4.4:

Android Kit Kat 4.4 Logo


The first noticeable difference in the interface after the update, is that the electric blue icons and writing have been replaced by off-white. As evident by the iOS 7 and the new minimalist web design Google is sporting these days; white is the new black.

Colour Change in Kit Kat 4.4

The long-beloved expressive and fun emoji keyboard native to iOS users has now made its debut on the Android platform. Although the emoticons do not look exactly the same, they do manage to replicate the same emotions.


You can now print photos and documents directly from within, without the need of any external apps. These are compatible with wireless printers (hp print service plugin is pre-installed for hp ePrint printers). It also gives the added options of saving the file as a PDF or to Google Drive or GoogleCloud printing using any other device, having Chrome installed.

Nexus 7 Printing Menu

OK Google:

The list of commands in Google Now has been greatly improved upon. By saying "OK Google", you can do the usual voice search or command your device to send a message, schedule an appointment, make a note, play a movie or song, get directions and so on. Pretty similar to what Apple's Siri does, including a robotic female voice which reads the results out loud.
Google Now was updated  when my device was running Jellybean, before the update, so this may not be a Kit Kat exclusive feature.

Google Now

And if you keep silent after saying "OK Google", the app will display a list of commands you can dictate using Google Now.

Google Now Voice Commands


A new permanent addition to the quick settings bar is Location. It displays apps currently using your location and monitors their battery use. If you are using an app which is accessing your location, like checking into a restaurant on Facebook, the location icon will also appear on the top right corner.

Play Newsstand:

This app has been launched to replace and combine Currents and Play Magazines. It displays non-book content: this comprises of both online reading material (blogs, newspapers) and paid magazine subscriptions, all within one app.
This app is also able to offer more customized offers by learning your reading preferences from past history. To celebrate its release on the 20th of November, Play Newsstand is offering free and discounted magazines.

Play Games:

This social gaming app has been released during the summer, but in this update it has become a stock app. You can track your achievements, compare scores with friends and discover new games. You can download it from Google Play for any device.


The stock clock app has been redesigned, making the time-related options more easier to switch between. Also, when setting the time for a new alarm, you are now faced by a new circular style time selector.
Android Kit Kat 4.4 Stock Clock and Alarm Selector

An new feature in the stock app is the option to dismiss an alarm before it rings, via the notification bar. 

Android Device Manager:

Google has finally installed anti-theft tracking software within the new update; Normally third-party apps have helped do the trick. Using the Android Device Manager, you can now track your device if lost or stolen via the web. It not only shows you on a map where it is, but also gives you the option to ring, lock or erase all data from it. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Samsung Galaxy S4 has had the iPhone emojis for a long time though. Just saying.