As if you needed another reason to lust after the Nexus 5 and/or Android 4.4, Google just announced a huge new feature for the default Phone app in KitKat. The new version of the dialer/contacts app will match incoming numbers against Google's various databases to provide an automatic caller ID for businesses using Google Places, as we've already seen. But starting next year, this feature will be applied to people as well.
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.
Google is finally paying attention to the phone app in Android 4.4 by adding smart organization of contacts, enhanced search, and a new card-based UI. However, there might be something more dastardly hiding in the dialer code. Google might be preparing to roll out ads of some sort to the Android dialer.
Enchanted by the bright yellow bumper case for the Nexus 5 earlier today (by the way, how great is it that finally a Nexus device at least had proof, on launch day, that accessories were coming?) but not planning on picking up the new phone? Don't worry - Google's expanded the lineup of sleeve cases available for the Nexus 7 (2013, though the 2012 edition will fit too) today, adding a "grey/white" version and a bright yellow version to the mix.
This afternoon, Motorola's Punit Soni shared a post on Google+ to follow up on the company's earlier "more to share soon..." post. Soni's post pointed users toward Motorola Mobility's online upgrade checking interface, which tells users whether or not their Motorola device will be receiving any planned updates.
The tool now confirms that Android 4.4 KitKat will be coming to the Moto X along with the DROID Mini, Ultra, and Maxx.
About a month ago, we found some enticing goodies in Hangouts' 1.2 update. Specifically, we found evidence of activity statuses - rich status messages that would allow you to set a status with accompanying iconography for things like biking, driving, laptop, tablet, and phone. Some of these, (like biking and driving) we predicted, may be set automatically by Hangouts. The teardown also revealed the possibility of moods, using the bouncy yellow fellow found on Google+.
It looks like Google learned a lot from the botched Nexus 4 launch. Not only did most orders seemingly go off without a hitch, but the company has already start shipping some orders. I got the notification about 20 minutes ago that my 16GB Nexus 5 has already shipped, and I'm not the only one – we've already received several tips from users saying the same thing.
However, some other members of the AP team haven't yet received theirs.
The news out of Google is coming rapid-fire with the Nexus 5 going on sale, KitKat becoming a reality, and now the rollout of Google Play Services 4.0. The updated framework comes with a host of improvements to Google+ Sign-In, Wallet Instant Buy, Location Based Services, Maps, and comes with a brand new Mobile Ads SDK.
One of the most popular features announced during Google I/O 2013 was a massively improved set of tools for Location Services, which included geofencing and substantially improved location discovery.