Android announced it’s latest version called Kitkat or Android 4.4 few days ago. It was another in the set of iterative updates that Google has been pushing right since Android 4.2 Jellybean in an attempt to make the Android experience more uniform and snappier. The update was made available initially only with the Nexus 5 and later found it’s way to the likes of Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.
I had to wait a bit longer for my Google Edition HTC One to receive the update, but it did come faster than any other non Nexus device out there. And hence began the journey of tasting what is without a doubt the best Android version there is. Here is the list of five things that I found most impressive about Android 4.4.
The Font and Overall UI
The font on Android 4.4 is Condensed Roberto. If you are into fonts then you will agree that the font on 4.4 looks a lot classier than it’s predecessors. The font is neat but several apps do not have support for Android 4.4 just yet and as a result there might be a visual jerk when you move from system apps to third party apps. But, as more and more apps will adapt the new font, you feel things would be more streamlined.
The UI too has received a massive upliftment. In short, a lot of blue has been replaced by whites and that is a good thing. However, for some strange reason the settings screen remains blue just like it was in Android 4.3 and that brings an element of inconsistency as everything else, right from the battery icon to the dialer is white.
The New KeyBoard is Amazing
Google Keyboard was pretty good right in version 4.3, however, it has gone on to become even better in Android 4.4. In fact, I did not have to use SwiftKey at all which tells how good a job Google has done with the new keyboard.
The flow writing is smooth and predictive texting is really good and accurate. The keys are perfectly spaced and as a result even with large hands like mine, you will not have any issue with the keyboard. So yes, now you can safely say goodbye to all those third party keyboard option.
The Added Option of Runtime in ART
Android 4.4 has bought with it the option of using ART as the runtime option as an alternative to so far always used on Android, Dalvik. The basic difference between the two in the simplest words is that, when a machine is running on ART, the apps are pre compiled and ready to go when you select them unlike Dalvik where the apps are compiled in Real Time.
ART is very experimental at the moment and some of the very common apps such as Whatsapp do not work on it. In fact, the first boot into ART took about 35 minutes for me. However, it is a great option and the apps that did work certainly loaded noticeably faster and the battery too seemed to last a little better. However, things are very experimental, it was not long before I went back to trusted old Dalvik.
The battery Life is Better
This was one of the most important things for me. The battery on the Android 4.4 due to better memory management seemed a lot better. I was experiencing about 3 to 3 and a half hours of on screen time with about 12 hours of standby. With KitKat on board, I am easily able to squeeze about 4 hours with two E-Mail accounts with sync on and brightness set to Auto.
Google Experience Launcher
Google Now, so far had been a very peripheral component of Android. It was one of those things that you used once in a while and never really bothered opening it given the complexities due to OEM Skinning.
With Google Experience Launcher, you are just a swipe away from accessing Google Now. I found myself using it a lot more and was surprised, how helpful it actually can be. Yes, Google Now is a lot simpler to use with recent updates, but I really dig the ease of usage thanks to it being integrated with the homescreen.
Overall, although not much has changed, there have been significant improvements in Android KitKat 4.4. Things are looking really good for Android and if the same pattern does continue, you can see the people who complain about inconsistencies start to eat their words. I have been impressed and look forward to using KitKat more with time, and for your sake, yes, I mean it, I hope Android rolls the update out for your device soon, cause trust me, this is a chocolate, you will love.