New Delhi: Google has announced the availability of Android 4.4, called Android KitKat, the latest upgrade to the world's most popular smartphone operating system. Google, which is known for nicknaming its Android mobile operating systems for smartphones and tablets after desserts, has for the first time chosen a brand-name candy for a version name.
Financial terms weren't disclosed for the sweet deal between Google and Hershey/Nestle, which makes Kit Kat. But the deal shows that naming a stadium or sponsoring a TV show can be seen as old school. The latest marketing craze may be to slap a brand name on a tech product.
The newest version of the Android smartphone software aims to allow more smartphone users access to its evolving menu of online services such as driving directions voice-activated search. Android KitKat will be able to run on inexpensive, low-end smartphones as well as the most advanced devices and this also could make the Android software more attractive to third-party app developers, who have been frustrated by what they call the "fragmented" nature of Android devices.
The new KitKat version of Android integrates Google search technology directly into the phone in various ways.
Here are the top 10 new features that Google brings to Android with the KitKat upgrade:
Ok Google: A feature first showcased in the Motorola's Moto X finds its way into native Android. Just say, "Ok Google" to activate the phone without touching it. Users can launch a voice search, send a text, get driving directions or play a song with the voice command.
Full-screen album art: On Android KitKat album art will display in a full-screen format on the lock screen while listening to music or streaming via Chromecast.
Immersive mode: The new immersive mode gives a full screen experience hiding all controls while reading a book, watching a movie or playing a game. Swiping on the edges brings back the status bar and navigation button.
Improved multitasking: Google says Android 4.4 betters system performance by optimising memory and improving the touchscreen so that it responds faster and more accurately.
Priority contacts: The new phone app in Android KitKat automatically prioritises contacts based on the people users talk to the most.
Extended search: On Android 4.4 users can also search for nearby places and businesses or people in their Google Apps domain.
Improved caller ID For calls from numbers not listed in the user's contacts, Android 4.4 will look for matches from businesses with a local listing on Google Maps.
SMS, MMS integrated into Hangouts: The new Hangouts app on Android 4.4 also displays SMS and MMS messages.
Emoji on Google Keyboard: Android KitKat brings in the popular Emoji characters to the default Android keyboard.
Printing: Android 4.4 allows users to print photos, documents, and web pages from their phone or tablet. Users can print to any printer connected to Google Cloud Print, to HP ePrint printers, and to other printers that have apps in the Google Play Store.