Kit Kat

More last minute leaks point towards Kit Kat features

Another to add the the list of rumors about what's next for Google has magically surfaced tonight. According to ex-WSJ reporter Amir Efrati, Kit Kat will focus on unifying Android and making the OS run better on low-end hardware.

Specifically, he says it was designed for devices with 512MB of RAM, like the millions of devices in the wild running older versions of the OS. Google using a phone with a Snapdragon 800 and 2GB of RAM — if rumored specifications are to be believed — as a lead device for software designed for devices with old hardware is a bit puzzling though. This would be best done using the Nexus S, which Google surely has access to.

Additionally, Google has provided support for sensors such as a step detector and step counter, and and added what they are calling a geomagnetic rotation vector. This would enable Android to run as a fitness tracker as well as have more accurate and detailed location reporting. Bluetooth HID over GATT and Bluetooth MAP are additional services that would seem to suggest better wearable support.

Finally, It's said that there will be native support for IR controllers, such as the types used for televisions. We've seen these on devices before, though without support at the OS level.

Really, there's nothing here that hasn't been rumored for months. We'll know how much of it all is true, and what is just rampant speculation soon.

Source: Jessica Lessin


Reader comments

Supposed leaked docs point to Kit Kat being designed for low spec phones, televisions and wearables


So technically, Android is down-grading •_• It's great that Google is starting to recognize Android's "low-end" hardware but still.... lol but who cares, I'm excited for Android 4.4.

Posted using Nexus 5 (ha)

*slaps you in the face*

If you think about it... if you can get a system to run efficiently on a low spec phone (iPhone) then it's going to run great on a high spec phone right?

Yeah, I like how Apple® keeps (or tries to keep) its "low-end" devices (iPhone 4) updated with their latest software (iOS 7). The downside to that is the lag and bugs etc. I'll be interesting to see if A-4.4 works on a low-spec device "bug-free".

Posted via Android Milkshake 5.1

Apple designs their OS around the 'improvements' first, then see how to cram it into hardware in a 'useable' manner.

IF the Google rumors are true, they are staring with lower end specs and building into them what functions, and higher end phones just get the benefits of performing tasks faster/better, possibly with more visual effects.

Think trying to get cars to run on lead free gas. When first started, they just made additives for consumers to pour into their car, or the car would run like garbage (idle speeds, wear, etc). Verses designing a car with a fully functional catalytic converter and then making the engine run better after the catalytic converter was already in the design.

For those who don't know, the first catalytic converters were garbage and would hinder performance of a vehicle. But they are required by law, most people who were their own mechanics would take them out or break them so they weren't functional, which gave better performance. Later cars were designed around the idea of a catalytic converter, so they actually run better WITH one then without it. The apple method is the first way, All phones must do this (car example: prevent harmful emissions; add a device to the exhaust)(Apple example: run apple ad program; even though not in original design specs to run with the processor), the rumored Google example is the second (car example: All cars have this catalytic converter to reduce emissions; how can we improve performance using it) (theoretical Google example: All phones have 2GB of storage, a 750 MHz Processor and 512MB of ram; what is necessary to make the device function as a smartphone, cut the rest, unless they are more powerful than our specs, then add back features)

Yeah, Apple sucks about that. They upgraded my iPhone 3GS from iOS 5 to iOS 6.1.3 and it runs like crap. I've never had such a bad experience with a phone. And since they closed the APN portal in iOS 6 I had to jailbreak it to get all the features which caused it to run even worse. I can't wait till i'm old enough to have a job so i can afford a new android phone. And there's always christmas.

Lol dont complain because you jailbroke your phone and literally broke it, because an iphone 3GS despite being 4 years old, it runs better than 4 year old androids, and no I am not an apple fanboy, I have android, wp8 and ios, I share my love of tech, I see positives in all of them, apple provides best browser experience, android customizability and wp8 best cameras (lumia 1020).

Would be SO awesome if google comes out and updates all the way back to the Nexus S! Nexus One would be super awesome, just so they could say "we updated all the way back and it still works!" But i think thats a pipe dream!

Not a pipe dream.

May not happen from Google, but if the nexus s still has a good community behind it, it may happen yet.

Keep the faith.

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Of course, better support for lower end hardware doesn't necessarily mean a worse piece of software for high tier devices, look at windows 7 vs vista.

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Agreed, but if low-end support were the focus, as suggested, using something like the Nexus S — and it's almost 100% unburdened software —  would be the best way to move that forward.

It's not about testing and functioning on old technology like Nexus S.

Wearables should have the latest sensors and inter connect more efficiently while containing basic non expensive not overkill chip sets and unnecessary ram. Wearables are not replacing smartphones. Smartphones will augment peripherals.

Makes sense.

"Wearables are replacing smart phones" - Someone who has no idea what he's talking about.

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81

He may have edited his comment, because it says that wearables are not replacing smartphones.

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I had only read your article, Jerry and had not clicked through to the source article by Jessica where low end phones are specifically mentioned.

In addition to peripherals, Android support for a new crop of extremely inexpensive practically disposable communication /Internet devices will make Android and Google far more ubiquitous globally than Windows achieved.

If the rumors about kit Kat are true, the gnexus will get the update. Maybe a good ROM will be developed for the nexus s.

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Wait so I'm curious would they only update old Google phones n not any other phones?

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First paragraph, last line, don't you mean the, not he?

Also, anyone else think that Google should make a desktop App to upgrade your phone to 4.4? My HTC one vx would love that!

my finger swiped this on the android central beta app

Google doesn't conduct testing of Android with the Sense overlay. So, if you were allowed to upgrade your phone on your own, you would brick it. Then, you'd be swearing that it was Google's fault and not yours, lol.

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Not happening. That phone's been discontinued, and HTC isn't going to update it, out of the goodness of their hearts, lol.

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Leaking like crazy!

Amir Efrati

"Here are some things I haven't mentioned before: there will be something called integrated storage access framework , which makes it easier to browse, open docs/images/other files across all of your preferred storage providers, local or in cloud."

"Anyone care about HTTP Live Streaming support ? If so, you're in luck. KitKat can do that."

"There's new form of WebView based on Google Chromium . Supports latest web standards support, HTML5 compatibility to build/display web-based content in applications."

Odds are that if it runs better on older hardware that the code is more efficient, as in the software engineers have found ways to accomplish functions with less lines of code. If the functions take less time to perform, then the CPU will need fewer cycles to accomplish the same task. Really, there are only two ways to speed the OS up: make it take fewer cycles to perform the code, or make the cycles take place over a shorter time period, hence overclocking our phones :)

This is what we want people, more efficient code. Google's job is to minimize the recourse Android needs to run fluidly so that apps can use them. It is getting Android out of the way so we can do more with our phones. What we do with those freed up resources, well developers and manufactures can have fun with that problem.

In my opinion, Android 5.0 needs to build on a vision of an OS with gestures being a part of the UI design language. It's the direction all of the OS's will head, and it is the type of thinking that can keep Android feeling fresh in the near future. Although, the UI is how we interact with the software, not the quality of the software itself, thus 4.4 sounds like great progress. Lastly, I would love for Android to have a vision of a design language with gestures before Apple does. It would be great for Android to be known for such sophistication first :)

To me Android 5.0 needs to be built on the idea that the phone is only part of your ecosystem, other parts are Google Glass, Google watch, Google Tablet, Google Chromebook, etc.

When you are within range of any device, change behavior slightly of each device so they provide an optimal user experience that the user can customize, or better yet learns from each other.

What really needs to happen though is that Android needs to switch from a macro kernel based system to a micro kernel based system, one that would allow a modular design in any piece of hardware that is open. That would also allow the Project Ara/Phoneblocks to actually come to fruition, otherwise they would be WAY to difficult to be built since function would vary too much from device to device (drivers are fine, but eventually you need to have millions of drivers to function with all the devices, but a networked phone made of networked pieces allows each device to be self contained and transmit info in a manner that the primary device [probably screen since most people look at their phone for info] can interpret.

That meens that my 10,1" tegra 2 Acer iconia a500 keeps getting updated. And ik stil dont have an excus to buy a New tablet...

Posted via Android Central App from my galaxy nexus

Too bad there's no way OEMa are going to go back and update all those devices they deemed "incapable of proper performance" when they said certain phones wouldn't get updated. Looking at you HTC. I still think Google needs to partner with the OEMs and make it happen themselves. Just imagine the press from all those phones getting updates.

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Either that or put pressure on OEM's to allow EOL'ed devices to be unlocked so the community can update from here. Those power users (or power users in training) who care about keeping their device updated will then have an avenue to do so. Just slap the usual "if you modify the software and screw up your phone you're on your own, we won't help you" warnings before you unlock.

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That seems feasible and reasonable

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

Except the radios. That is the big issue.

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

So when do we start hearing 'Kit Kat will run on my Droid Eris, i want my update!'

Edit: i see i was already too late

My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

Thank God, not that I'll buy a low end phone but now i can actually recommend more than the most expensive phones. Also i hope my OG Nexus 7 will run better cause it runs horribly with 4.3.

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All of this is null if Manufacturers use overlays and skins. It's usually not the new version on Android that is too resource intensive, but rather the new generations of skins. They keep piling on new flashy features, then start saying, "Oh, I'm sorry... That one year old phone doesn't have the adequate hardware to run the newest version of [insert skin name]." So if this is an attempt by Google to remedy "fragmentation," it won't be enough in my opinion. Heck, I don't expect my quad core, 2 gigs of RAM Droid DNA to get updated to 4.4, let alone alone devices like the GSII. The best way for Google is to update the services framework. Meh, only an opinion.

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I do not see the business case for updating EOLed devices.

Do not get me wrong, I would love to see HTC/SAMSUNG go back and update their older devices, but there is no financial incentive to do so and in today's world, it is about the oh mighty dollar (fill in your local currency).


I agree , as much as I love android and love my HTC Vivid which is capable of running the new OS. I don't understand why the do away with phones that where great phones....for example I have no problems with my HTC phones....the HTC inspire 4g was fine and then I got my Vivid. I'm very big on updating and being updated. I love how OS looks on different phones, but hate to have to download a launcher n order to get a sort of feel for the current OS.

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Do you have any idea what you're saying? Companies "do away" and discontinue products that (A) are not selling and (B) become obsolete, as technology advances.

You're probably one of the ten people that still have a Vivid. There's no financial incentive, for any company, to push any more updates to it. An alternate launcher is the best you can do for that device.

Honestly, if you care about updates so much, then get a Nexus. They're supported for two (?) years by Google, and there's excellent developer support, if you're not afraid to get your hands dirty.

If you can't get your hands on a Nexus 5, then you could probably find a Nexus 4 for cheap, if you have the cash to shell out and don't mind picking up last year's model.

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Sadly, this is the truth. Sony doesn't seem like to build another small (Xperia ray) sized phone (yes Z1f would be still too big for me), so they could give an update anyway since they have nothing to offer for which i would part with my mighty dollar.

Even if Google supports older low end phone like my GS2 but it's up Samsung and TMO to update my phone anyways. Since it took forever to update it to JB it will take awhile or no Kikat at all. But I am excited for Kikat for my Nexus 10!

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This is NOT about working with EOL'd devices. Its about working smoothly with low end entry level devices going forward.

Don't get your old HW out yet. Google is not going to be pushing carriers and OEMs for it to be updated.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

Absolutely right. Here's the paragraph for those that didn't read the source:
"KitKat “optimizes memory use in every major component” and provides “tools to help developers create memory-efficient applications” for “entry-level devices,” such as those that have 512 megabytes of memory, according to the document."
I think the take away from this is that Android will run more efficiently with less ram across the board. That's a win for every device. When most people have bad experiences with Android, it's been with a low end free device from their carrier. That likely means next time, they get the iphone that "just works" so many other people have, and they are gone from Android forever. No higher spec device for upgrade, no tablets, etc. They are gone from the ecosystem.

Android moving forward with an efficiency bar set at 512mb means that devices carrying 2gb if ram will be liquid smooth even with manufacturer overlays. Although I don't doubt OEM's or carriers will see this as an chance to further bloat on their end.

Kit Kat: designed for low spec phones... and debuts on one of the highest clocked CPU phones in existence. Okay, Google. Stop the trolling now please.

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I can't wait to see what some dev cooks up for my trusty ole' EVO! I have no faith that HTC will provide an update since the phone is over 3 years old at this point.

So does this mean my lg g2 will be so fast on Kit Kat that it will transcend the very limitations of time itself?

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And let me guess, it will be smooth as butter? Yeah, we heard that all before and Android still stutters on the best phones doing something as simple as swiping a home screen or scrolling through the settings menus.

That may be the case if you consider the "best" phones the S4 and/or the Note 3. On my G2 I have yet to have even the slightest hiccup or stutter. If Samsung doesn't figure out what to do with Touchwiz quick, they will be dethroned.

Goog needs to announce this already, so we can stop speculating and start enjoying! Come on goog, how about a little kitkat for Halloween?!

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk