Many mobile users who regularly access their files across multiple devices have found that relying on cloud storage just makes life simpler, but many of us don't keep our files stored in just one place. Now Android 4.4 is rolling out a new way to open files within apps that makes accessing all of these providers both easier and prettier. With KitKat's new storage access framework, apps that prompt users to browse for files will open a sidebar navigation menu that lists recent files, available cloud storage providers, and files stored internally.

Files1 Files2

This new system is far more attractive than the popup window Android apps currently toss up, and it provides a more intuitive experience. Users won't have to enter what appears to be a separate app to load a file. Now, regardless of whether they're pulling data from Dropbox, Google Drive, or their local gallery, they will be presented with a consistent experience.

For developers, here are two DevBytes videos with more information.

Most devices with Android 4.4 will come with Google Drive and local storage available out of the box, but it only takes a trip to the Play Store to download additional options.

Source: Android Developers Blog

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Ryan Callihan

    Off topic, I suppose, but no word on the new Launcher in 4.4 being ported to the Play Store?

    • NexusPhan

      Balls. Failed rumor.

      • Phil Oakley

        There's no indication either way on this yet.

    • Phil Oakley

      Doesn't look like the new '4.4' apps, like the Hangouts update, will be on the Play Store for a few weeks, sadly. Let's hope Google Experience gets uploaded to the Play Store though. They should be ripped as soon as people get their Nexus 5's, so we could have the new updated apps (Search/Now, Hangouts, Experience, etc) soon.

      I say 4.4 in inverted commas because of course most if not all won't be exclusive to 4.4 once the update hits the Play Store.

      • Ryan Callihan

        Gotcha. Thanks. That's unfortunate though. Waiting these few weeks to get 4.4 are gonna be killer.

    • miri

      By the sound of it, the new launcher is exclusive to the Nexus 5, even after an update to 4.4, though it is possible that it could be pushed to other 4.4 devices (maybe even 4.3 for us poor GalNex owners) via the Play Store.

  • http://twitter.com/phonecount StalkyTheFish

    This feature bitchslaps iOS so hard!

    • IamTheFij

      2 year old iPhones still got their update though. Poor Galaxy Nexus. :(

      • Junaid Ansari

        You can always root :)

        • IamTheFij

          Yea, unlocking and updating manually isn't hard, but shouldn't be necessary.

          Google made a big scene about sticking up for users because OEMs weren't supporting their devices, now Google drops support for the GN when it's only 2 years out.

          • andy_o

            I don't have a GNex, but I'm with you on this one. So my N4 won't get next year's update? F that.

          • Naga Sridhar

            Not true..yes there may be a possibility..but with N4 hardware features, I think we can be positive about N4 getting an update next year!!

          • andy_o

            I'm just taking their excuse of the 18 months at face value.

          • Naga Sridhar

            agree with that!! I didnt follow updates too closely but how have they been doing with the nexus S? how long was it supported?

          • gd

            Nexus S last update was ICS.

          • Joseph Glenn Hartley


          • Abukar Abdirahim

            True, but it's kind of hard to update a device who's chipset manufacturer no longer exists.

        • andy_o

          Rooting doesn't do anything to update the version of Android you're running.

          If you mean something like installing custom firmware, then the drivers might give you trouble. So not always, and it's not optimal.

      • ari_free

        Yeah but even the new iPhones don't get to have this

        • IamTheFij

          Well, that is also very true.

      • Ketan B. Parmar

        wait for CM installer app

      • faridur

        Yes. Old iPhones got iOS7 updates which is practically useless. iPhone 4 lags like crazy. Complete eyewash.

      • dcdttu

        Rumor has it that it was just too hard to develop for the now-obsolete TI processor, but I don't buy it. AOSP will have 4.4 on the GN faster than you can hit F5 on this page.

      • Just_Some_Nobody

        Well, more like a partial update. But sure, hang on to your two year old iPhone. Why upgrade when it looks exactly the same as the new iPhone?

  • NF

    I'm looking forward to this feature a lot.

  • http://about.me/uzidon Uzair Ahmed

    I'll wait for a full-fledge Kit-Kat review from AP before I decide whether or not to update my N4. I am still sceptic about some features/changes, and I'm afraid I won't like them! :(

    • Jakob

      You and you alone!

      • http://about.me/uzidon Uzair Ahmed

        Yes, perhaps. :/

    • Jonathan Zelayandia

      what exactly are the things that you are afraid you wont like?

      • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

        Giving Google access to every phone I dial (in order to use the caller id feature) is one thing I hope I can disable. It creeps me out.

        • Jonathan Zelayandia

          that is a legitimate fear, but i feel that them being able to do this is a result of them already having all your contacts and what-not on your servers. I mean, the businesses and what-not are all public numbers anyways, and your private ones will be saved on their servers and still hideable probably if you wanna call private/unknown.

          • IamTheFij

            It's not so much as Google knowing someone's number, but rather that he called such number.

            Valuable info for Google to deliver you even better targeted ads. You call a bakery, start getting ads for bakeries!

            I'm already using Google Voice so they have it all on me.

          • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael Luik

            And why is that bad? Don't you like cake after all?

        • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

          Has there been any indication that that's what's going on? I hadn't seen that. I saw them clearly state that for caller ID they'll also search public business listings, but otherwise your caller ID ALREADY searches the contents of your contacts. So I'm confused about what they'd need to upload.

          • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

            This, as well as the fact that the new caller id function only works for auto lookup of business numbers and not personal ones.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            Exactly my point. I didn't see any mention of anything beyond public business listings. I don't know where this thing about uploading your personal contacts came from, as it's totally unnecessary, both because your phone has full access to them AND because you already DO upload them.

        • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

          I misread your point. But I'm still confused. Numbers you DIAL has nothing to do with the caller ID feature. They're unrelated functions.

  • mlj11

    Solid Explorer has a cloud navigation system that works fairly well. Once you've allowed it access to a particular cloud storage app by signing in, you can pull up files from the cloud quite easily.

    I'm glad Google is making this framework available so more apps can have native access, presumably without having to sign-in on a per-app basis.

    • Freak4Dell

      Unfortunately, it still sounds like you need that service's app. One of the main reasons I use Solid is because it lets me use many cloud services without having many apps. It would have been nice if logging into the cloud services worked like logging into a Google account, where it's just stashed away in Settings.

  • ginobili

    Nobody saying something about her?

    what the fuck is wrong with you internet?

    • mlj11

      It's Nexus announcement day, whaddaya expect?

    • Matt Alexander

      I'd wiener her vageener. Are you happy now?!?

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      Maybe our community's finally matured?

      • The_16th_Doctor

        ohhh youre funny

        • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

          Wishful thinking, I suppose. One day we can have a thread where a woman who's attractive talks about electronics and we let the thread be about the electronics. But clearly not today.

    • TrueFarm

      I want to be that octopus for some reason

    • adi19956

      I was surprised too. She's stonking and she does technology = perfect.

      Having said that, KitKat and the Nexus 5 were launched today, they kind of overshadow her

    • thartist

      Shut up and... Boobs!

    • ari_free

      Yes, I think she did a great job with explaining the new Storage API

  • Pamela Hill

    This is definitely one of the best features of the day, imho.

  • PHug

    Hot, smart & gave us an outfit + Hairstyle change. I like Lisa.

  • Martim

    No word on the 100 GB of Google Drive space or the automatic backup solution for Android, huh?

  • skeeterfood

    They really need to get her a teleprompter, it would make these look a lot more professional.

  • ltredbeard

    Full disclosure: I didn't watch the whole video.....Is this only for selecting a file to attach to gmail or mms?

    • fattire

      No for selecting any file for reading/writing/deleting, etc.

      • ltredbeard

        Very nice. Thanks.

  • Random!

    This looks so great I bet it would look awesome to manage access to external sdcards in nexus devices *hint, hint*

  • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael Luik

    A step forward but what Android really needs a full-fledged stock file manager.

  • http://goodevilgenius.org/ Dan Jones

    Sadly, Dropbox doesn't appear to have implemented it yet, so for cloud storage, it's Google Drive or Box for the time being.