Google finally unveiled KitKat last week, but you may have noticed something was missing. Yes, there was no news on the so-called Google Experience Launcher. Earlier leaks led us to suspect that Google's homescreen experience was coming to more Android devices, but the big day came and went with no mention. Recent revelations about how the Android 4.4 homescreen works breathe new life into the possibility of a more Googley experience for all.
|Ryan Whitwam||Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.|
Now that KitKat is finally out in the world, we're finding all sorts of little tweaks that make the new OS nicer to use. Google didn't give this particular feature a big headline on the Android site, but maybe it should have. Android 4.4 now lets you access your notifications from any full-screen app. This is a feature Samsung has included in TouchWiz for a while, so it's not entirely new to the world of Android.
Google has been talking up Snapseed and it's enhanced HDR mode in recent blog posts and events, but the Gallery-based photo editor is getting a boost in Android 4.4 as well. This new editor will be shipping with KitKat, but it's also part of AOSP.
The layout of the editor has been tweaked a bit and has support for both phones and tablets. A lot of the filters and effects were already present in the Gallery, but it looks like you have much finer control over things now.
As we're still basking in the afterglow of a big Android announcement, Google is back to the same old stuff. The developer dashboard has been updated with the freshest Android distribution numbers. This time Jelly Bean has hit a milestone just as it became the "old" version of Android.
According to Google's newest values, Jelly Bean is now on more than half of all Android devices – 52.1%. Keep in mind that includes all Jelly Bean versions from 4.1-4.3.
It's been a busy 24 hours since Android 4.4 KitKat and the Nexus 5 were announced. You probably stayed up all night reading the news and furiously refreshing the UPS tracking page to see if your phone shipped yet. Well, relax. You have to come down from that KitKat high sometime, and what better way than with some nice, inexpensive apps and games?