Google may produce Android and maintain Google Play so that we can easily get content onto our devices, but at the end of the day, it's the developers that make the magic happen. They create the apps that make Android devices worth buying in the first place. So it's good news to see, as we would expect, that the Android 4.4 SDK is now available. Developers can make the upgrade from directly within the Android SDK Manager.


As usual, the complete Android Developer Tools bundle comes with the Eclipse+ ADT plugin, Android SDK Tools, Android Platform-Tools, the latest Android platform, and the latest Android system image for the emulator. The support library, too, has been updated, to help apps maintain capability with older versions of Android.

What's more exciting is the number of new features developers have to work with. Here's a list of highlights directly from Google:

  • New ways to create beautiful apps — A new full-screen immersive mode lets your app or game use every pixel on the screen to showcase content and capture touch events. A new transitions framework makes it easier to animate the states in your UI. Web content can take advantage of a completely new implementation of WebView built onChromium.
  • More useful than ever — A printing framework lets you add the convenience of printing to your apps. A storage access framework makes it easier for users find documents, photos, and other data across their local and cloud-based storage services. You can integrate your app or storage service with the framework to give users instant access to their data.
  • Low-power sensors — New hardware-integrated sensors let you add great new features to your apps without draining the battery. Included are a step detector and step counter that let you efficiently track of the number of walking steps, even when the screen is off.
  • New media capabilities — A new screen recorder lets you capture high-quality video of your app directly from your Android device. It's a great new way to create walkthroughs, tutorials, marketing videos, and more. Apps can useadaptive playback to offer a significantly better streaming video experience.
  • RenderScript in the NDK — A new C++ API in the Android Native Development Kit (NDK) lets you use RenderScript from your native code, with access to script intrinsics, custom kernels, and more.
  • Improved accessibility support — New system-wide captioning settings let your apps present closed captions in the style that's preferred by the user.

Source: Android Developers Blog