13
Dec
whatsreallynewicon

Have issues with the Nexus 5 or Android 4.4 KitKat (we know you do)? Well, Google has iterated its way out of many of those issues while also polishing a few other things, rolling out Android 4.4.2 recently. We had actually been working on What's Really New in Android 4.4.1, but with the update to 4.4.2 close on its heels, we'll be discussing changes from both updates.

The hallmark of the 4.4.1 update, as described by Google, is camera enhancement for the Nexus 5. One of the things reviewers consistently harped on when looking at the Nexus 5 was subpar camera performance. Much of this was not hardware related - after all, the Nexus 5 has an alright sensor and OIS built in. The largest issues were with software and processing - the app took too long to open, focusing was slow and inconsistent, and once you did capture a photo it simply wasn't as excellent as Google's admittedly well-produced ads would lead you to believe. But 4.4.1 made that better.

Camera improvements weren't the only thing present in 4.4.1 (and subsequently 4.4.2), though. We've dug around the updates a bit and have collected some of the other notable changes and enhancements within. We'll start with the camera, and then move on to everything else. For the purposes of this post, we've narrowed it down to some of the more interesting yet less-discussed features, but you can find a full developer's changelog (listing each and every commit for 4.4.1) at the link here.

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The Camera (Nexus 5)

The headline feature of the 4.4.1 update (for the Nexus 5 anyway) was camera enhancement. In many reviews of Google's latest Nexus, the camera was one of the device's primary downfalls. Besides the camera app's idiosyncrasies, long startup time, and less-than-stellar interface, many complained of slow focus speed, and image quality that just wasn't as good as they'd hoped. Expectations were high for the camera after Vic Gundotra's famous "insanely great" comment, and it looks like Google's begun the process of healing the Nexus camera experience, though the unreleased Camera API is still a work in progress.

In an interview with the Verge announcing the update, Director of Engineering for Android David Burke explained that the Nexus 5 with its OIS camera made a trade-off, opting for slower shutters and reduced gain to obtain a better image, rather than opting for speed and efficiency.

Besides behind-the-scenes tweaks to image capture, camera startup (which was reduced by "about 250ms"), and image quality, there's a user-facing change: when shooting images in HDR+, users will see progress indicators everywhere. This is helpful, since the previous behavior (a two-step process with the initial screen-flash capture animation followed by a second sound) was unclear, and made the process seem slower than it actually is.

imageunnamed (5) Screenshot_2013-12-05-18-30-25

One last thing - 4.4.1 also seems to have added new camera resolution options. Added to the list are 2MP (16:9), 1MP, and 720x480px.

Screenshot_2013-12-10-22-56-35 Screenshot_2013-12-10-22-55-19

Squashed Bugs and UI Fixes

As you might expect, 4.4.1 also came with plenty of fixes for bugs, and even some of the UI/UX errors we recently pointed out in Stock Android Isn't Perfect.

Bug: Hijacked Sharing

In the initial release build of KitKat, there was a strange bug that emulated the "always" app picker behavior, even in certain cases where the user had not chosen a default app. We discussed this in a recent Bug Watch, and it looks like it's been fixed. Commit 34d41e9 explains the now fixed behavior for highlighting preferred apps and skipping directly to their send intent only when the "always" button has been selected in the past. 

Bug: Exchange Mail

As we discussed in another Bug Watch entry, many 4.4 users were plagued by Exchange mail problems, from not being able to set up a connection to constant sync errors.

There are tons of tweaks to Exchange in the 4.4.1 update, fixing legacy problems, performance issues, and according to many exchange users fixing woes from 4.4. You can see all the changes here.

Bug: SMS DOS

A particularly unnerving SMS vulnerability, by which Nexus phones could be rebooted or denied cellular connectivity, was squashed with the 4.4.2 update. The bug, which Cody detailed here is essentially a denial-of-service vulnerability by which flash messages (messages that display immediately on screen, typically used for emergency notifications) pile up and cause some unsavory side-effects. Over a year since it was first reported to the Android Security team by Bogdan Alecu, the bug is finally fixed, as confirmed by JR Raphael.

Bug: Seeking On the Lock Screen

In 4.4 KitKat, long-pressing the pause button on the lock screen's music widget (or other media widgets that support this gesture) brought up a seek bar. The only issue was that attempting to manipulate the bar yielded no results, and letting go would fling your selection of lock screen widgets to the right, severely disrupting your experience. Thankfully this bug has been squashed.

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Dialer

In KitKat's new dialer, if the user called up the dial pad, the only options for getting rid of it were to either hit the back button or perform another action like placing a call or hitting a card. In 4.4.1 however, a piece of code was committed to let the user simply tap in an empty area to dismiss the dial pad with a slick animation. This is a small touch, but one that polishes the dialer's UI just that much more.

dialer

Transparent System Bars on the Lock Screen

Users of the "Google Experience Launcher" on the Nexus 4 (and Nexus 7) finally have transparent bars on the lock screen with the 4.4.1 update. This is thanks to a commit that turns the bars on for the lock screen by default (though Nexus 10 users will still go without). While the launcher still isn't available for all devices (or officially available for even the Nexus family), it's clear that Google's working on making it compatible with the Nexus devices, and users can finally enjoy the transparent décor just like Nexus 5 owners.

Status Bar Icons

In Stock Android Isn't Perfect, we pointed out that KitKat's status bar icons didn't quite line up. The apparent baseline for icons was often a couple of pixels below where the icon actually rested, and the clock wasn't vertically aligned with other icons. The clock still isn't quite aligned, but for the most part, status bar icons now line up.

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More "Background Protection" In Recent Apps

Speaking of the status bar, it got more "background protection" when viewing recent apps in the update to 4.4. Essentially this means the translucent gradient behind the bar is now darker. You can see the contrast between the appearance of the status bar on the home screen and in recent apps below.

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Settings Icon

In the Quick Settings panel, each quick setting gets its own icon, an abbreviated visual reminder of the functionality that lies behind the tile. In 4.4.1, the Settings app got a new, gear-shaped icon, and with that came the simplistic version of the icon for the QS panel. With 4.4.1, the icon got refreshed again, adding a ring to the simple white gear. Whether it over-complicates the icon visually is neither here nor there, but it's different.

image

Matching Translucent Décor for Dessert Case

This isn't a huge tweak, but the way Android handles system bars for the immersive view of Dessert Case (and presumably views like it) has been made consistent. In 4.4, you'd get a solid nav bar, and a translucent status bar by swiping, but now both are transparent.

Screenshot_2013-12-10-20-26-45 Screenshot_2013-12-10-20-28-39

Other Stuff

Cast Screen

Nexus users with 4.4.1 (or 4.4.2) may have noticed that the “Wireless Display” option in settings has been changed to Cast Screen. Along with that tweak, there have been changes to the casting interface, cast management, and casting permissions. Here are a few relevant commits.

4e54c2a - This commit tidies up the display route selection UI, making the experience for users consistent throughout System UI, Settings, and applications that use the media router, so users will be able to see when (and to where) their screen is casting.

cef34fc - "Update cast screen strings." This commit updates wording to reflect the renaming of Wireless Display to Cast Screen, making it consistent across the settings UI.

75af171 - This one deals with the revised "cast settings screen," adjusting WiFi display scan intervals, simplifying logic for adding and removing display routes, exposing WiFi display device addresses, and a couple of other tweaks.

While these changes by themselves don’t necessarily point to big moves in Android’s screen casting ability, a commit explicitly disallowing third party apps from initiating screen casts is of interest. The commit adds permission for System UI to control casting through the Quick Settings pane, while Settings presumably already had the permission. Either way, Software Engineer Jeff Brown explained the commit's intention in its description:

Commit af57418

Disallow applications from initiating cast screen.Only allow the system ui and settings to connect to a remote display. To do this, we essentially hide the remote displays from applicationsby using the ROUTE_TYPE_REMOTE_DISPLAY then add permission checksaround the operations that connect to them.

As a bonus, this may actually save power on devices since applications that use MediaRouter will not longer be performing discover onremote display routes at all.

Brown explained this point on Google+, indicating that the permissions for the casting interface are "mainly about protecting the user," going on to specify that the system "is designed to require explicit action by the user to connect to the remote display via Quick Settings and the remote display provider is responsible for notifying the user about the status of an ongoing connection via a persistent notification which provides an option to disconnect."

Essentially, permission to act as a remote display provider and cast content is reserved as a matter of trust. Users should be informed about what's happening, and starting/stopping/controlling the feature should be clear.

Brown says that Google may make "some of this functionality" accessible to third party apps, perhaps by requiring users to explicitly activate such services on a per-app basis, but striking a balance between trust, user control, and convenience is "not an easy problem."

Despite all this, Koushik Dutta has confirmed that screen casting (and AirPlay mirroring) is possible on a stock device without root, in a similar implementation to Helium. You'll need to be tethered to a PC, though, so the experience is far from perfect yet.

App Ops Update

Since the 4.4 update, App Ops has progressively gotten harder to reach. In fact, when we wrote GTKA, we didn't think App Ops was even accessible. Back in November, Dianne Hackborn, an engineer at Google who's generally ready with helpful explanations of topics like these, clarified again that App Ops wasn't exactly meant to be a user-facing UI.

She explained that the feature was there mainly for development purposes (like fine-tuning per-app notification control), as the framework on which it's based is used for "a growing number of things" within Android.

More recently, Artem asked why Google specifically crafted a UI around the functionality, and Hackborn explained the tool (and its UI) is used by platform engineers, and whether the UI would ever make it into users hands she "couldn't really speculate," but for now, it will blend into the background.

Gallery and Photos

One other notable change to the camera interface is what happens when you swipe to the left. Instead of reaching the gallery app's filmstrip view, you'll be dumped into what looks like the Photos app in filmstrip view. Since the release of KitKat, users have questioned why Photos and Gallery still existed concurrently. After all, having two separate apps for managing photos is kind of a confusing decision.

What makes this more confusing is that swiping left gives you a Photos icon for the upward navigation and the typical share options and pencil icon for editing, but if you hit the edit icon, you'll be asked what app should edit the photo - Photos or Gallery (or other apps you may have installed). If you hit the upward button, you'll reach the Photos app's main screen, which itself is hooked into G+ via the sliding navigation drawer.

Basically Photos handles pass-through from the camera, while Gallery is responsible for in-depth editing, other on-device photos, and for surfacing a limited feature set for Google+ photos (still considered Picasa albums).

These are all symptoms of Gallery's impending demise. In early leaks of KitKat, it was clear that Gallery was absent, with Photos fulfilling its role. AP Alumnus Ron Amadeo pointed out on Google+ that the two share code, and that the Gallery didn't get a new icon in KitKat. More recently, he confirmed the new Google Play Edition devices don't have Gallery at all, so Photos' usurpation of Gallery is just about complete. Until a future update removes the app from Nexus devices, users on 4.4.2 will still have a somewhat confusing experience.

Power Widget

The power widget, which used to simply turn location on or off, will now toggle between on, off, and power-saving modes. Strangely however (as commenters confirm), one has to go into the actual settings menu to fully disable location.

location

Speaking of the Power Widget, the whole widget is actually shorter (vertically) than in 4.4, and while the Bluetooth icon in 4.4 would turn into a dull gray version of itself when Bluetooth was toggled. In 4.4.1/2, it becomes an empty outline.

image image

Keyboard Changes

With 4.4.1, some changes came to the keyboard as well, primarily dealing with keyboard sounds on the Nexus 7 (2012) and Nexus 10. Commit 34262cdf indicates a new, "softer" audio package, which brings the two devices more in line with the audio package found in the Nexus 5. Some users have also reported a sharper or more precise haptic feedback vibration on the Nexus 5, but no specific commit appears to confirm that.

Bluetooth Absolute Volume

Android 4.4 (finally) introduced a unified volume control for connected Bluetooth devices, in an effort to eliminate duplicate audio controls. Commit 7850a93 indicates that going forward, devices would be specifically whitelisted for access to the absolute volume control, meaning other devices would automatically be "blacklisted." This reverses a previous commit (a7ae4a1) that established a blacklist for devices that "do not handle absolute volume well." According to the "whitelist" commit, the specific whitelisting and broad blacklisting of devices is a temporary fix for bugs encountered with devices that advertise absolute volume but don't actually play nice with the feature in practice.

Bluetooth LE Connections

Prior to 4.4.1, the number of devices that could be simultaneously connected to an Android device topped out at four. With a commit put in before the 4.4.1 update, that limit is bumped up to seven.

Mobile Plan Removed From Settings

In Getting to Know Android, we pointed out a new setting in KitKat - Mobile Plan management. The option directed users to their carrier's provisioning website, if the carrier had a known provisioning site. In 4.4.1 it appears that (at least on the Nexus 5) this option has been removed.

nexusae0_Screenshot_2013-11-16-16-46-36

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned before - and as I'll reiterate with any post of this type - this isn't everything that's new. If you want a full rundown from 4.4 to 4.4.1, check out Funky Android's excellent comprehensive list here. If there's anything significant you've noticed or want us to look into, feel free to discuss it in the comments below.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Kramerdoughnut

    The dessert case photo's home button bar is HUGE compared to the solid bar on its left. What gives??

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Shots from different devices. I had one device running 4.4, 4.4.1, and 4.4.2, but they are all different form factors.

    • Shawn Cheever

      Looks like a tablet and a phone side by side.

    • http://ubuntu-su.blogspot.com/ Kleverson Royther

      Probably on a Nexus 10

  • http://www.mscha.nl/ Michael Schaap

    Two things I still really, really hate about the camera:
    1) The viewfinder is cropped. Your photo will not have the same composition that the viewfinder had. Unacceptable, IMO.
    2) No hi-res wide screen pictures (preferably in the proper 3:2 ratio).
    The first point can be solved by using a third-party app. The second one unfortunately not - the camera HAL doesn't support these resolutions.
    (My previous phone, the Galaxy Nexus, had a 5 MP 4:3 resolution, but the HAL also supported the same resolution cropped to 3:2 and to 16:9. Third-party camera apps could be configured to use those.)

    • blahmoomoo

      While I'm not entirely sure about this, in my experience it seems that the first problem existed in the stock Nexus 4 camera app too, at least in 4.3 and prior (haven't used the camera recently, so don't know about 4.4). It seemed that the camera viewfinder was cutting things off where the soft buttons are.

      • http://www.mscha.nl/ Michael Schaap

        No, that's not what I meant: the viewfinder zooms in onto the 4:3 camera image until it fills the 16:9 screen (minus the buttons, perhaps), and thus over 10% of the top and bottom of the picture are cut off.
        And yes, this happens in the stock camera ever since Jelly Bean (4.1). :(

        • blahmoomoo

          Ah, I didn't realize the Nexus 5 camera was 4:3. I believe the Nexus 4 camera is 16:9. It's still cut off a bit because the screen minus the notification bar and soft buttons is a bit less wide than 16:9, but the amount cut off is much less than what it would be with 4:3. That's... pretty bad.

          • DeePo

            A sensor that shoot in 16:9 like on the HTC One, is not that good, in fact it stirs massively the image on the edges, with a deformation that can be seen as soon as you leave the very center of the picture.

          • TY

            I thought the "stir" is a side effect of OIS? Lumia 920 has it too, but on the One it's less noticable.

          • DeePo

            No, it's the frame format, the Nexus 5 has OIS but a 4:3 frame, thus you got no stir effect at all. The One has a 16:9 frame, instead of cropping images up and down to use 16:9 resolutions, it crops them left and right to get 4:3 resolutions when required. Thus on the One is the effect is very pronounced, having both phones I can guarantee you the N5 is a better camera 9 times out of 10

    • pobautista

      1) Many digital cameras, and many film cameras, both LCD-type and viewfinder-type, have been doing this for years, and decades. The jury is still out which UX {cropped or not} is better.

      • blahmoomoo

        If you have some experience with photography and are interested in taking pictures that look good (but not necessarily perfect), you know that proper framing/composition is one of the more important things to have. So no cropping would be best, because you know exactly how the subjects will be positioned in the final photo. And since I assume some people who don't care about proper framing might think letterboxing looks ugly, providing an option to not crop the preview shouldn't be hard to implement.

        I haven't seen a digital camera (one dedicated to taking pictures and/or video) with an LCD that shows a cropped preview, partly because the preview screen has the same aspect ratio as the picture being taken. Even my camera that allows you to take pictures in multiple aspect ratios letterboxes the 3:2 and 16:9 previews.

        Non-digital viewfinders can't show the exact framing of the picture being shot unless the camera is an SLR since it is not in the same position as the lens, so the best it could do is approximate the view. SLR viewfinders can show exact framing since you are looking through the camera's lens.

        • ltredbeard

          Even some SLRs or DSLRs have a cropped viewfinder. The Nikon D5100 is only 95%.

          • blahmoomoo

            Eh, all right. At least they make a best effort there; 95% is far better than, say, 75%.

          • Britt Lewis

            my&nbspneighbor's&nbspsister&nbspΜ­­­­­­а­­­­­­K­­­­­­е­­­­­­ѕ&nbsp$­­­­87/հ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­r&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspі­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­е­­­­­­r­­­­­­ո­­­­­­е­­­­­­τ.&nbspShe&nbsphas&nbspbeen&nbsplaid&nbspoff&nbspfor&nbsp5&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ­­­­­­ѕ&nbspbut&nbsplast&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ&nbspher&nbspρ­­­­­­а­­­­У&nbspcheck&nbspwas&nbsp$­­­­21091&nbspjust&nbspW­­­­­­ο­­­­­­r­­­­­­King&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspі­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­е­­­­­­r­­­­­­ո­­­­­­е­­­­­­τ&nbspfor&nbspa&nbspϜ­­­­­­е­­­­­­W&nbspհ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­rs.&nbspblog&nbspհ­­­­­­е­­­­­­r­­­­­­е, ....Perfect23.Com

            ▲▉▲■ ▲■▲▉ ▲■▲▉ ▲■▲▉ ▲■▲■ ▲■▲▉▲■▲■ ▲■▲▉ ▉It seemed that the camera viewfinder was cutting things off where the soft buttons are.

          • A_Noyd

            Why don't you go F■▲K yourself.

    • Nick

      Don't forget the unusable video recording in any light conditions other than "surface of the sun".

      • Adam Truelove

        Use the light/flash maybe?

    • Jsilvermist

      Wait, I'm confused, wouldn't 16:9 be supported now since they have the 2MP option at 16:9?

  • Outrager

    I read that if you turn off animations the Dialer never shows up. I haven't tested it myself though.

    • Cole

      Just tried this on an N4, dialer animation played anyway.

      • Outrager

        Ah okay. Must have read it wrong or might have been only on their specific device.

  • Jays2Kings

    I also noticed that the holo dark buttons look different, at least I think the buttons didn't look like this in 4.4

    http://puu.sh/5LMcp.png : 4.4 & below

    http://puu.sh/5LMfU.png : 4.4.1+

    Edited with better comparison.

  • ssj4Gogeta

    With a commit put in before the 4.4.1 update, that limit is bumped up to an un-quantified "more."

    If you look at the changed headers, two macros have been changed from 4 to 7.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Ah, thanks for pointing that out.

  • natabbotts

    Looking at the commit itself, you can see the change from 4 to 7 bluetooth LE devices:

    https://android.googlesource.com/platform/external/bluetooth/bluedroid/+/8dc42c6%5E%21/#F1

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Yep, fixing that bit now. Thanks!

      • natabbotts

        Nice, quick response!

        Thank you :)

  • Cole

    I have the "Mobile plan" button on my stock Nexus 4, running 4.4.2.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I believe the change was only for the Nexus 5. I could probably be more clear about that in the post.

  • Nhan Than

    ..."reduced grain" should be fixed in second paragraph in the "Camera" section.

  • Sir Oliver

    Power Widget - Location, on Nexus 4, as I said after 4.4.2 once enabled, can only toggle between full and half, and to fully disable it, one has to go to the main lcoation settings menu.
    At leas that's how it is on my Nx4.

    • blahmoomoo

      That's how it works on my Nexus 4 as well.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I meant to note that, I'll add a quick blurb to the post for clarity. Thanks for pointing it out!

  • no

    I also noticed a new animation when moving through songs on the lockscreen.

  • miri

    "Users of the "Google Experience Launcher" on the Nexus 4 finally have transparent bars on the lock screen with the 4.4.1 update."
    Unless I'm missing something, this happened to all devices, not just the Nexus 4.

    Also, they fixed the lock screen bug where if you long pressed on a player widget (music, chromecast, etc.) it would scroll to the left and now accessing the seek bar can be done from long pressing on anywhere on the widget rather than just the play/pause button.

  • DJTEN23

    Two fixes I've found with the Nexus 7 2012: when playing music on the lockscreen in 4.4, holding down the play/pause button to seek would cause the lockscreen widgets to act up. This is fixed now. Also, the Gallery app would never show up in multitasking. That's fixed too.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Thanks for pointing those out. The gallery shows up in recents for me on 4.4, but the other bug is certainly annoying.

      • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

        Thanks for the post Liam!

    • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

      I didn't even know about that. Probably skimmed over it when it was released since I usually use Widgetlocker but haven't so far since the full screen albums look good.

  • Jivester

    The share to Picasa was deleted as well. Thus ducks for me because their is no way way to upload photos between different g+ accounts.

  • ih8legal

    Another change I noticed in 4.4.2 was transparent system bars on the Nexus 7 (2013) lockscreen.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Yep, the commit actually turns them on by default for whatever device is using them, so they'll appear assuming that device supports transparency. Just wish the transparent decor could come to the Nexus 10 now.

      • http://randomphantasmagoria.com/ Shawn

        Apparently there's some graphics driver issues that make the transparent system bars perform badly on the Nexus 10, thus why they're disabled. Not sure if Google cares enough to do anything about it. :/ That's the one thing about the Nexus 10...it's sort-of a bastard child because it's the only Nexus that runs an Exynos 5 and the only one with a Mali GPU.

        • Krzysztof Bryk

          oh look, samsung hater maybe ;] let him speak !

          • http://randomphantasmagoria.com/ Shawn

            Yep. I hate Samsung. That's why I own a Galaxy S4 and a Nexus 10. That's why I've also owned a Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, and Galaxy Note 8.0 in the past. Yep. I hate Samsung.

          • Krzysztof Bryk

            yaay, good for you

        • Simon Belmont

          The Mali GPU in the N10 just hates hardware overlays. That's why the performance is subpar if transparency was used in the status and navigation bars.

          Very accurate description calling it the bastard child, though. Not sure why the guy below you is picking on you so much, because you weren't being hateful about it, just accurate.

  • Javier

    Some change was made to the camcorder in 4.4.2 because when you try to record a video in dim light you cant really see nothing in the viewfinder and the video turns way dark.

    • TheLastAngel

      Yep, another screwup. Can confirm that.

  • Simon Belmont

    Great write-up. I've been waiting for this for a while and it turned out great.

    Now if only Google would fix this issue with the stock email app that is STILL present in Android 4.4.2 on both my Nexus 5 and 2012 Nexus 7: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=62805 .

    • Switching to another OS soon

      Too bad so many media outlets are proclaiming that it's been fixed even though it still persists. Hopefully one will pick up /that/ story so it continues getting the attention it needs. HINT HINT Androidpolice

      • Simon Belmont

        I really hope so, man. It's been the one black mark on an otherwise fantastic experience with my day-one Nexus 5.

        I'm hoping that now that Android 4.4+ is filtering out to more devices, that more people begin to complain about it. From the link I posted above, it looks like that's what is happening.

  • Krzysztof Bryk

    mobile plan is still presnt in n4 - i can not belive despite how google is praised as a destination place for people that can make a difference and are trully gifted, android becomees much more like samsung firmwares, where bugs are ironed out via 1mb ota releases not the major system updates - where to fuck are your beta testers guys. fucking around, doing nothing for a free meal and other free jazz. think about it

    • http://randomphantasmagoria.com/ Shawn

      U mad bro?

      • Krzysztof Bryk

        care to elaborate? i've lost my crystal ball

      • Krzysztof Bryk

        it is simple, designate one person to 'rule them all' design/quality wise - always wanted to be given a shot at google but i can see that individual cant do shit there as i do not belive that noone saw most of the ironed bugs either it was google or samsung - most of them looks like someone said push it throught, noone will notice or copy pasted them betwen devices not even trying to betatest - that is samsung ;]

    • Roh_Mish

      What is wrong with bugs being ironed out swiftly with small updates rather than large bi-yearly updates?

  • Krzysztof Bryk

    how hard is it to dsignate one person to keep all the status or system bar icons on the same page - it sends a clear msg out there - we are not in control, someone is but tba who it is

    • Jsilvermist

      How hard is it to spell Designate? Can't you iron out all the spelling errors in one go? Sheesh!

  • Anonymous

    They fixed the status bar being partially opaque if you locked the nexus 5 while notification shade was pulled down.

  • wugui

    Camera have face cognition now!

    • Roh_Mish

      Face recognition was there from 4.2.2. Wish they ad tagging like in samsung phones.

      • Fero

        Face detection, not recognition. Two different things. ,)

        • Roh_Mish

          Not seen it recognising anyone

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    Overall, I'm very happy with the N5. It's the best phone I've owned. But the camera UI still needs work. And with so much screen real estate available, why a separate tap to get settings? Why not reveal everything at once?

  • tol

    auto brightness seems to be very fast now on nexus 7 2013

  • TimM

    I've noticed an issue with Iheartradio played through bluetooth headset in 4.4.2. I have the Nexus 5, went straight from 4.4 to 4.4.2. Iheartradio didn't play at all on 4.4 until they released an update. Worked fine after that in 4.4. Now I noticed a weird noise, similar to the noise speakers make with the bass turned too far up, in 4.4.2. Hopefully this is a Iheartradio problem and an update will fix.

  • Adi

    When the Gallery ery app is finally killed, will we lose the new and improved Editor, or will that jump over to Photos well?

    • Roh_Mish

      I actually like gallery more than the photos app.

  • Ádám Blazevic

    Anyone noticing "ghostly" pictures with Nexus 4 (4.4.2)? It's strange because I tried it with pro capture and it's fine but with the stock camera the focus is slow and the result is not good at all.

    • Ádám Blazevic

      Okay, my bad, HDR mode was switched on. (In my defense it says ON when it is OFF, got confused it was actually OFF or if I push it then it will be OFF)

  • Jarmo Laaksonen

    Share to picasa seems to be gone in 4.2.2
    I've used to sharing photos I see online and want to save for later to a "interwebs" folder on picasa. This option is now gone, and replaced with a "photos" icon that does nothing..

    How do you guys save photos to your g+ photos from your phone? Photos from camera autoupload, but other photos. For example photos someone sends you via whatsapp or photos you see online.

    • Kevin

      How are you still on jellybean?

      • Jarmo Laaksonen

        My bad, 4.4.2

        • Kevin

          Haha, I know I just couldn't resist. :p

  • abobobilly

    Android Police ... what would i do without you.

    Nailed it once again.

  • Darshan-Josiah Barber

    You've misunderstood the 250 ms change for the camera. That commit exclusively deals with swiping to the camera from the lockscreen, where there is an intentional delay (now 400 ms; previously 650 ms) before launching the camera in order to give the user an opportunity to swipe back to the lockscreen if they don't actually want the camera.

    The camera app itself is much speedier, launching more quickly whether from the launch screen or otherwise.

    • Darshan-Josiah Barber

      I meant "lock screen" in my last sentence, not "launch screen," and I can't edit my post.

  • Mark Bailey

    If you disable Google+ (although why would you?) Photos is gone.
    Go into camera. Swipe to photos. Hit the up button to go to Photos (disabled) it kicks you out to the home screen ... AND DELETES the last photo. Really odd. (Tested on stock Nexus 4 4.4.2)

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    I noticed that my N4 and N7 2013 have transparent status bar and navigation bar on thelock screen, even without Google Launcher installed. Looks pretty.

  • BrahManty

    Just got 4.4.2 on my N10 and it drastically reduced the grid size for the home screens in the google experience launcher. I used to fit 8 icons in the dock, now only six. Home screens themselves now use a 5x5 grid. Kind of odd. Still no transparent bars or "OK Google" activation :(

    • Robin Frick

      That has happened with the latest Google search update, not 4.4.2, I think. It was all well for the first few days on 4.4.2 for me, but the Google search update then removed our icons. The one update that Android news blogs praise for "improving" the tablet experience (what they mean is landscape support for 7" tablets).

      • mjku

        Ugh, yes, the new grid layout is atrocious. The vertical spacing (when held landscape) is very narrow, while the horizontal spacing is insane. I have a larger screen here, so why am I not allowed to use it to its full potential?

    • Edup Music Prodigy

      Download DPI changer app don't remember the name

  • Afif

    i don't know why but i can't update ANY app on Nexus 5 "4.4.2" .. for example i had an update for Maps , i downloaded the update and then when the phone wanted to install it , the install process kept just going on without being able to finish it .... this is happening with all the apps

    • Karthik

      This happened to me on my Nexus 4 as well as Nexus 7 2012 Wifi. Both running 4.4.2. I tried installing Maps in N7 and I closed the play store app while Maps was downloading. The notification bar showed Maps as installing for a long time. Curious, I opened the play store app and it immediately completed the installation.

      Exact thing happened on my Nexus 4 while I was installing Firefox.

  • Cro0707

    Great article! Thank you!

  • niknetniko

    Another UI fix: the AOSP launcher now has been de-blued. The screen with apps now has white lines!

  • grimoald

    Fun thing: with google+ disabled when you hit the "upward to photos" button after swiping left in the camera app, the currently shown photo gets deleted and you're being send to the home screen... (N4 4.2.2)

    • Simon Belmont

      You mean N4 4.4.2, but yeah, you're right. It happens on the Nexus 5, too.

      I just tested it. I'll be sure NOT to go through that sequence until a fix is put out.

    • TheLastAngel

      Oh no! I already deleted 5 photos by accident.
      This is what you get for deactivating Google+ (to hell with it).

  • Tobi Zatti

    What's still not fixed is the reconnecting to wifi problem I have. Whenever I leave a wifi I can't reconnect to it unless I go to airplane mode and back or restart the phone.

  • PhineasJW

    I'm still having Exchange sync issues, unfortunately.

    Just yesterday my N5 was warm to the touch and doing the rapid-sync thing, constantly flashing the sync icon. Maybe it's just our lousy email setup at work. :(

    • Simon Belmont

      Don't worry. I still have email woes, too. Though, not exchange related. Just with my POP3 setup.

      I can't download ANY attachments (the download fails, and on the off RARE chance that it works, it still won't actually download it and let me access it later). It's been a big problem since I got my Nexus 5 (and now my Nexus 7 does it, too, since KitKat). Lets hope Google puts the stock email app in the Google Play Store soon. Then maybe it can get rapid fire updates to quell these problems.

    • TheLastAngel

      I also gave the Email app another try and Exchange is still broken for me. I only get to see Emails from the current month and can't send or receive new mails. Our company uses the Exchange solution by Novell which is rather obscure. But non of the Samsung devices in our company with Touchwiz mail have any issues at all. So I guess the problem is with Googles Email app in 4.3 and 4.4.
      In 4.2 everything worked flawlessly.

  • Rehan Ahmed

    Is it just me or is everyone getting noticeably jittery and laggy scrolling in apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter after the Android 4.4.2 update on Nexus 4?

  • Tim Sheppard

    Took a photo with 4.4.2 on Friday at work along with a 5s and Galaxy 4, my Nexus 5 was by far the best sharp and clear, vs the dark 5s and fuzzy g4. Same person used all 3 phones from the same position with 30 seconds of each other.

  • JackFlash

    Hi, great article. Can you also write an a article what functions/features are not suppose to work on Nexus 7 2012/2013 models with KitKat 4.4.2.

  • Edup Music Prodigy

    They forgot to mention that in this 4.4.1 update they fixed ART , now whatsapp messenger and other apps that didn't work , work without any mods

    I'm running my ATT HTC One with 4.4.2 just updated it and testing ….

  • qriusme

    4.4.2 on my Nexus 5 is buttery smooth. Even without ART on. I still have it on just to play with it. And yes, photos come out really great! I'm not sure if it was a 4.4.2 change or not, but the incoming phone calls has also been changed. It's no longer full screen, but like a small card with green and red buttons to accept or reject respectively. I love this phone with KitKat 4.4.2 so far!

  • bob

    I have noticed an annoying issue with KitKat, it affects 4.4.2 too: at reboot all home screens disappear (except the main one). does any of you have the same problem? Is there a way to fix it? thanks

  • mjku

    I've discovered some form of a bug that's present only on my Nexus 10. I cannot confirm if it was there with 4.4 or if it's new on just 4.4.2, but on the latest version of Chrome (stable and beta), HLS streaming HTML5 video does not work. You cannot even hit the "Play" button. Meanwhile, my Nexus 7 (2013) and Galaxy Nexus both work just fine. What's worse, when that HTML5 video element with an HLS source is present on a page, it'll lock up network I/O for Chrome all together for a couple minutes.

  • Jorge

    There's an annoying bug on the Nexus 7 2012. If I rotate the screen multiple times, "dead" pixels start to appear. Google should fix this quickly, but so far... Nothing.

  • matzahman

    How do I set the quick launch icons on the lock screen? All I want to do is add a few apps to the wheel, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do this without installing a 3rd party app... is it not a stock feature?

    • Mehreen Mughal

      You have to enable them from the Security options in Settings. They're not enabled by default!

    • jimv1983

      This is not a feature of stock Android. You have to get a replacement lock screen. The only think stock Android will let you do is add widgets to the lock screen which requires turning on a setting in the Settings > Security area.

  • htc one user

    Another loss is the zoom slide, you can't zoom in before taking a picture or video.

  • someone

    How to add 4.4.2 in xolo play tegra note 7

  • spfl

    How do you re-install 4.4.1? Or can you even do that?

  • sledge beast

    I updated to 4.4.2 and I don't see the cast related stuff? Am I missing something? Also If I do find it am I to understand that KitKat can Cast web or anything else,,, where Android's Chrome has dropped the ball?

  • Michelleburns

    I've just updated my galaxy S4 to Android 4.4.2 Kitkat from jellybean and nothing have changed apart from the battery turning white from green. Pointless