Besides a bevy of new features, Android's update to 4.4 brought forth a ton of tweaks to the interface through GEL launcher and a fresh round of updated stock apps. There's little doubt Android's user experience and overall design paradigms are continuing to evolve, becoming more refined, usable, and useful. We covered most of the changes to the interface in Getting to Know Android but, as with any major update, new changes come with new opportunities for error.
Hurry up, ladies and gentlemen! If you sprint to Walmart between November 20th and 26th, you can apparently pick yourself up a very vintage Moto X running none other than Android 2.3. Those on-screen buttons and #HOLOYOLO accents look pretty spiffy on this fine Gingerbread device, don't they?
Curiously, on November 29th, the same phone not only drops to half price for Black Friday, it also gets a ninja upgrade to Android 4.2 and a $100 Walmart gift card (which is actually a pretty good deal since you're effectively netting 50 bucks - after signing a contract, of course).
Now that the Android 4.4 KitKat fanfare is (finally) settling down, it's time to revisit our Getting To Know Android series, where we bring to light the new and awesome changes in Google's newest mobile OS - exposing the big stuff right along with some interface changes you may not have noticed yet.
There are plenty of new pixels in Android 4.4, changed UI elements, new design patterns, and a slightly more sophisticated language to decode, along with plenty of new features.
In a pair of exciting tweets (and a Google+ post), the Android team has announced that the WiFi Nexus 7 (both 2012 and 2013 models) will begin getting updated to Android 4.4 KitKat today, while the mobile data-enabled Nexus 7 and Nexus 4 will get the update "soon."
Starting today, Nexus 7 (2012 and 2013) and Nexus 10 will be getting a tasty update to Android 4.4, KitKat
— Android (@Android) November 13, 2013
Looking for the new Android 4.4 wallpapers? We've got 'em, ready for your downloading pleasure. There are 8 wallpapers in total, 6 of which have a native resolution of 3966x3966, so you can put them on pretty much anything! The two nature wallpapers are at a slightly smaller 3966x2644, since they're actual photos. Here they are.
Update: The colorful wallpaper everyone was after - the one with the number 5 - was hiding in a different place, but we found it after all.
Until now, using emoji in parts of Android besides Hangouts could be a little tricky. Officially, the emoji keyboard was included as part of the iWnn IME, and required users to manually switch using the persistent keyboard notification which appeared any time a user tapped a text field. Even then, users couldn't enjoy the full-color emoji found in Hangouts. This was certainly less than ideal.
Thankfully, Google has spread "Emoji everywhere" with Android 4.4 KitKat, integrating the set of awesome emoji with Google Keyboard for easier access.
If you've got (a lot of) spare time on your hands this evening and a burning desire to know literally everything new in AOSP with Android 4.4 KitKat, Funky Android has done the work for you, providing a complete, comprehensive log of all commits made from 4.3_r2.1 (JSS15J) all the way up to 4.4_r1 (KRT16M).
The list is extremely lengthy, but includes handy links to Google's Android Source site where you can find more info about each commit.
The next version of Android is bringing a lot of visual options to the table, and they're not just for Google to play with. Buried deep within the KitKat 4.4 API (level 19) is the ability for apps to request translucent system UI overlays, specifically on the top notification bar and the bottom navigation bar (if your device has one). You can see this feature in action in all the promotional photos of the Nexus 5's homescreen, where the wallpaper is visible form the top of the screen to the bottom.
Earlier this week, we posted the first look at the upcoming Android Play Store app v4.4. As it turns out, besides sporting a new look and a secret message to the teardown team, the updated Play Store is strongly hinting at another new arrival - one we've been waiting for since March. And now we have the updated name for it - Google Play Newsstand.
March 2013: Google Play News
But first, allow me to refresh your memory.
Update: Official press images of the Nexus 5 fresh from Google's own servers have since appeared, confirming that the UI displayed below is legit.
At this point, we've all seen leaked photos of the upcoming Nexus 5 and had a glimpse at what Android 4.4 "KitKat" may look like. Then we watched a video that put the two together. Now we find ourselves looking at more leaked images that do the same.