For a smartphone operating system, Android hasn't always had the best features for, you know... calls. One of the especially annoying omissions has long been caller ID, but Android 4.4 takes a big step toward fixing that. If you get a call from a business that Google knows, it lets you know on KitKat's incoming call screen. Neat.
The Play Store is consistently pelted with new apps that always run in the background, counting our steps, tracking our location, or listening to us as we sleep. These tasks require that a process remains in an active state, and whenever there's any activity going on within a smartphone, battery life takes a hit. Android 4.4 reduces the impact of these processes with new support for hardware sensor batching.
This optimization allows Android to collect and deliver sensor events in clumps, rather than keep track of them individually. Read More
This feature is perhaps bigger news for app developers than end users, but it's an important one nonetheless. Ever used an app that feels really slow, clunky, and unresponsive - almost like a mobile web page? It probably is one! You see, many publishers of apps out there don't actually build real mobile apps. Credit card companies, cell phone carriers, airlines - you know, the sort of companies you kind of live to hate. Read More
If you can tear your gaze away from KitKat and Nexus news today, there's actually other stuff going on in the Android world. The indefatigable Evleaks has just posted what he claims is a photo (of a photo) of the Moto G, which he himself was sent via a tip. It looks a lot like the Moto X, but as some have predicted, with more low-end specs.
According to the tweet, the phone will use the same screen size and resolution as the Moto X, and both the front and rear of the body look remarkably similar to Motorola's current flagship. Read More
If you do any sort of document editing from your phone, there's a good chance you've needed to print something at some point. Or maybe you need a quick copy of an image and don't want to go through all the trouble of transferring it to your computer and then printing. Or maybe there's some other scenario that I can't think of right now when you've needed to print something from mobile. Read More
Just a quick note to anyone waiting for full OS factory images and drivers for existing Nexus devices (outside of the Galaxy Nexus, which bit the dust with KitKat) - as is customary, they will follow over-the-air updates released according to Google's favorite timeline: "in the coming weeks."
The Nexus 5 factory images will be out later today, but don't sit there hitting F5 expecting factory images for the Nexus 4, 7 (new and old), or 10 to pop up any time soon. Read More
If you've used Android 4.1 or later on a phone or tablet with 1GB of RAM, you know things can get a little tight in the memory department. That's what makes newer and slightly underpowered devices like the Lenovo Yoga a little disappointing. Google has decided to trim the fat with Android 4.4 in an initiative they've christened "Project Svelte." This isn't a single change, it's a wide range of additions to the Android API and optional hardware configurations designed to make KitKat run smoothly on devices with as little as 512MB of system memory.
According to the new 4.4 developer page, Project Svelte starts with recommendations and options targeted at device manufacturers. Read More
While many Nexus fans laud Google's software navigation button initiative, it's always been a bit irksome that they take up valuable screen real estate at times when they're not really needed. If you're reading a book, watching a movie, or playing a game, the software nav buttons are more a distraction than anything. In fact, until now, only the YouTube app (and perhaps a couple other system apps in certain circumstances) was able to hide those buttons. Read More
After announcing KitKat and the Nexus 5 earlier today, and releasing the Android 4.4 SDK, tools, and other related goodies, Google has moved on to the next important step - source code. As announced on the Android Building forum, Android 4.4 is now trickling in, bit by bit, into the AOSP repos. If all goes well, we can expect it to complete within several hours.
Update: The source push is 100% complete. Read More
The Google Search app is already the quickest way to retrieve information on your Android device. With just a few words, users can search the web, open apps, and pull up directions. The problem is that some information opens up in a web browser that would be better suited for an app. If you already have the IMDb app installed, why should a search result shoot you out to the browser? Read More