There are a number of themes in Android news so common that we can almost pre-write the posts. One of the near certainties has always been that Verizon is going to take forever to update its phones. Well, that's why this news is so surprising. KitKat is coming to the Moto X on Verizon first, and it's happening today.
This will jump the Moto X on Big Red directly from Android 4.2 to 4.4, and leaves the other versions of the device in the dust. In fact, there hasn't even been an OTA update for the Nexus 4 or the Google Play edition Galaxy S4 or HTC One. Yes, everything you thought you knew about Android updates is wrong. Here's the list of improvements in Android 4.4 according to Motorola:
- An improved phone dialer. Now you can search for contacts directly from the dial-pad and easily see and tap on those you contact frequently.
- More gallery goodies. KitKat packs in some cool, new gallery effects—such as Posterize, Highlights, and Edges. You can even use the Draw feature to annotate your photos freehand with your finger.
- New Hangouts app. All of your conversations now in one place—texts, video calls, and other chats all together in one app. Plus, you can now send animated gifs and share your location.
- Color emojis. For when words aren’t enough, the Google Keyboard now includes colorful characters to send in text messages and other communications.
- Drag to focus and expose. An updated camera app lets you control both the focus and exposure of your photos. Simply drag your finger to set just the right exposure and focus point.
- And more… Restyled status and navigation bars, new full-screen mode, and enhancements to Motorola features like Touchless Control.
The Android 4.4 update is rolling out in phases, with the first one starting today. Verizon being Verizon, it will probably watch for any sign of trouble in the first batch of updates. This might even technically be a soak test, which means a delay after the first push. However, the official announcement from Motorola would seem to indicate that the software is pretty solid – it would be a black eye if they made all this fuss, then had to pull the update because the something was busted.
There's nothing official on other carriers, but Motorola says it will have more soon.