Thursday, October 31, 2013

Android KiKat 4.4 New Features With Big Improvements Unveiled

As the launch of Google's mobile operating system Android draws near, things have began to unfold. Leaked screenshots and other things have revealed part of what the search giant had been up to and what we should be expecting Android KitKat 4.4 in the near future.



A confidential file was sent to companies that make Android devices and certain features were specifically more highlighted, pronounced and explained to these companies in the document. This is what was gathered from the "confidential" file.

Addressing Fragmentation
One of the problems that is plaguing the Android ecosystem is fragmentation. It is observed that less than 40% of Android devices are not running the latest Android version due to memory capability and competition.
Phone manufacturers are trying to be competitive by offering cheap devices. However, memory and latest hardware are sacrificed in this process.

To address this, Google stressed in the document that it wants the Kitkat to work well on low-end devices such like devices with a memory of 512mb.

You would recall that Google acquired FlexiCore (makers of Droid Booster) recently, a company that is expert in optimising Android OS to work well with low-end devices.

I believe this a movement in the right direction. With Google's use of FlexiCore expertise, Android Kitkat is expected to be very fluid and fast; better than jelly bean. 
We only hope that these low-end Android devices manufacturing companies take advantage of this development.

Wearable Devices
Google has already delve into wearable gadgets, Google Glass is an example and the Google Smartwatch is coming soon. 
According to the document sent out, Google's KitKat will support new kinds of sensors coupled with the already existing sensors. These new sensors would be geomagnetic rotation vector, step detector and step counter.

This sensors will enable tracking of movement, motion sensing and help in tracking steps. This will be very beneficial to those that visually impaired.

Finally, this will also serve as a counter to Apple's motion sensing in iOS 7.

Camera
The Camera app now has various filters and improvement to it. Printing and sharing gets better and also, editing of images is now improved, much like you would see in Snapseed


NFC
NFC hasn't been a total success that Google wants it to be yet and there is a need for Google to stress this in the confidential message it sent to phone manufacturers.

KitKat will allow developers to create services to allow phones to “emulate” physical cards that let people make payments, earn loyalty rewards, enter secure buildings and public-transit system, according to the confidential document. But it’s unclear whether the change will spur growth in the area.

According to the KitKat marketing materials, developers will be able to emulate cards without keeping people’s information stored in the secure element.
The biggest question mark about the feature is where the personal information will be stored without running the risk of getting manipulated or stolen by hackers, Mr. Rosenberg says.

TV Remote Controller
Android KitKat will give developers ability to build apps that will help in controlling TVs, tuners, switches and other devices by sending infrared signals.

Samsung and HTC devices already have built-in infrared “blasters” and both companies used a company called Peel to design an app that can control TVs. But KitKat will help developers avoid having to write different apps for different hardware makers because there will now be a standard way for all apps to tell the Android device to activate the blasters.

Bluetooth Connectivity
Google wants Android apps to be able to interact with a wide variety of devices using Bluetooth technology. Those devices include joysticks, keyboards, and in-car entertainment systems. In KitKat, new support for something called Bluetooth HID over GATT and Bluetooth Message Access Profile will allow Android to talk to more devices than before.

In conclusion, the future of Android is very bright and with KitKat being given a lot of thoughts, we expect powerful devices and apps to come outon the Android platform. The only question is, will Android phone manufacturers aside from Samsung, Motorola, HTC take advantage of this new operating system?

Drop your comments if you think so.

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