With a new version of Android comes a new promotional glamor site for Google's beloved mobile OS, and this time KitKat's getting the treatment. Android 4.4 packs a bevy of new features and capabilities, but if you want the basic rundown, Google's official splash for KitKat (here) is the prettiest way to educate yourself. (Bonus: here's an equally pretty site for the Nexus 5.)


If you're looking for a deeper rundown of Android 4.4's new features, don't worry, the Android Developers site has you covered with detailed, technical information about the new OS version. If you want to go even further down the rabbit hole, check out the Android 4.4 APIs overview. While both of these documents are technically geared at developers, a lot of it should be normal-geek readable, too. There's a lot of very interesting information packed in here, and we're working to get it all sorted out for you in a series of feature spotlights throughout the rest of the day. So if you're too lazy to read or skim, stay tuned - we're on the case.

Android 4.4 splash page, Android 4.4 developer overview, Android 4.4 API overview

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://www.westagemusic.com/ Marc

    So is this not always listening? Only on homescreen and google now? :(

    • Brad

      Ah, bummer... but I kind of suspected that...

      • RitishOemraw

        Same here. Was too good to be true.

    • Cory_S

      That is annoying me too. The Snapdragon 800 has screen off audio listening capabilities.

    • Ryan Yakus

      per googler paul wilcox, it is still always listening, however if you have a secure lockscreen you have to unlock the device before it will work, which makes sense.


      • http://www.westagemusic.com/ Marc

        Don't see the sense in it. Why isn't it prompting for a unlock pattern after triggered an action via voice command?

  • Vito Lee

    Just read through it. Only thing that caught my eye is that SELinux is now default to "Enforcing". Perhaps I shouldn't need root anymore...

  • Anthony Tran

    God, the wait for this baby to ship is going to be excruciating!!! UPS or USPS better book it to my house once they receive it!

  • kekkojoker90

    See android devloper on youtube with all the new feautures!

  • http://katzmatt.com/ Matt Katzenberger

    I just want to know when I can have it on my Nexus 10. In the coming weeks is pretty vague

  • LaRocKa1158

    When will we get the updated hangouts app?

    • NinoBr0wn

      When we get 4.4, I presume, or at least at the time 4.4 is published.

      • LaRocKa1158

        That G+ event was very misleading ...

    • Oliver Bastholm

      Probably in a few days, unless the APK gets released here on the site.

    • Frekko

      when will we get updated Nexus 10?

    • Michael Pahl

      6 hours 3 minutes and 10 seconds.

  • AkhilSood

    Just tell me when are the *.img files comming up, so i can flash away on my sweeter looking n4.

  • NinoBr0wn

    Can anyone confirm or deny the rumored iCloud-like backup solution finally included in 4.4?

    • Michael Pahl

      what are you talking about? What doesnt Android already have? all your contacts are synced to your gmail, all your music in Google Music, all your pictures in G+ Photos... what more do you want?

      • NinoBr0wn

        The question wasn't about what I want, it was about whether or not a specific set of features is baked into the ROM. But it would be very convenient to backup all my app with all of their data, have my homescreens restored exactly how they are setup, all settings restored, texts, all in a simple backup and restore function/package, you know, just like iCloud, as I said. If Apple can do it, Google can. Is there something wrong with that?

        • Michael Pahl

          You haven't restored a phone in a long time. all of that already happens. Wallpaper, app data/saved games, settings and wifi passwords. just not app icons to the same spot, but using Nova you can create a backup to gdrive or an sd card.

          • Stacey Liu

            App data does not get restored unless the app has its own solution. If it did, we wouldn't need TiBu or Helium. My 4 pics 1 word or levels will not carry through a restore. My ZPlayer equalizer settings will not stick through a restore.

            This is the one iOS feature that I've wanted in Android.

      • Pete Van Wattingen

        App data and game saves etc. Which is already technically there but no apps use it :(

    • gierso

      i-cloud backup solution?
      google already had that since ICS.. you coulbd backup and restore from their servers by using your google account

  • Seth Merritt

    The screen shots for hangouts looks like you have to select a drop down on the action bar between hangouts and SMS per conversation. Uh oh.

    • Oliver Bastholm

      Not very smart...

  • Ivan Myring

    So how is everything being announced? And is there a new nexus 10?

    • Dinofan01


    • quick

      Not yet

  • Dinofan01

    If the Play Music app is any indicator I expect a lot of very ugly lock screens. I can already see the low resolution covers all over my lockscreen...

    • s_bomb

      Uggh, you're right, I was briefly excited to see that feature, but you've brought me back to reality. All that time spent carefully curating my mp3 metadata, and still I get random low-res nonsense as a replacement.

    • Justin W

      I actually am fairly excited about that feature. I just wish I would be able to use it with lockscreen replacement apps like Locket or WidgetLocker.

  • Hizzanes

    Will AP have the apk for Hangouts when its available?

    • LewisSD

      They always apk's up first.

  • JJ

    Anyone know if the N5 will be able to incorporate the Moto phone's ability to set a bluetooth device as a secured device that when out of range will lock itself?

  • EH101

    I'm liking the sound of the new NFC system. Might be able to get any card to use NFC now as long as the card provider has an app to do such. No more blocking by carriers for the sake of ISIS... maybe...

    • Atomic Zombie

      shouldn't need the card provider to do anything, simply using google wallet to 'listen' and emulate the device should be enough.

  • Mehmet Fatih

    Are we going to be able to download it through some official website (aosp etc.) and just flash it to the phone? I am really sick of touchwiz and all the shitty apps that can be deleted without a root on my Galaxy S2 , and I am certainly not gonna wait for an official samsung 4.4 update (I dont even think they will update it) Please answer me guys :)

    • Nick

      If I understood you correctly, Google will not provide the Galaxy S2 with any support, that's Samsung's job and they generally drop support of devices after 2 years, 18 months even.

      • John Honai

        Hey, that's still 6 months to a year more of a support than GNex!

  • Ivan Martinez

    I'm particularly excited about the optimizations for low memory devices. Really hoping this breathes new life into the 2012 N7 that's become notoriously sluggish

  • Jason

    I ordered the 32GB Black moments after it was posted... and the shipping address has the wrong zip code and Google support won't change it! The guy over the phone was basically like well just cross your fingers it gets to you. It's amazing to think that Google can offer all these amazing products and services yet changing an incorrect zip code on a shipping address is impossible.

    • Ian Smith


  • Stacey Liu

    When will the factory images be up?

  • Rovindra Singh

    Trying to order and I get a "Order Not Complete" page, why did I have to oversleep, why!!!!!!!!!

  • Anders CT
  • 3rdcharm0921

    Does this mean the N8013 tablet will be obsolete and not get another update? The last update got us to 4.1.2. I've only had this tablet for less than a year. I would hope they would continue improving it, not releasing a newer tablet...makes me think that maybe I should have gotten an ipad....

  • saltyzip

    Has the Nexus 5 got always on voice controls and active notifications like the moto x?

  • Testraindrop

    Information overflow... I need to read up so many new things :(

    Google do a presentation next time.