01
Nov
ico

A while back, an experimental feature debuted in a Chrome for Android Beta release that seemed pretty innocuous - instead of tapping the overflow menu button to cause the dropdown to appear, you could now press, drag, and release to select an option in the list. From a touch device perspective, it's understandable why such an implementation would be desirable for some users, as it reduces the amount of tapping required for some tasks.

01
Nov
phone ico

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.

dial-pad

01
Nov
n4thumb

Update: Paranoid Android has also posted AOSP 4.4 builds for the original WiFi Nexus 7 (grouper) and the WiFi Nexus 7 2013 (flo). You can use the Gapps below for these ROMs as well.

Another bloody update: Paranoid Android has posted a new Gapps package with a few bug fixes. Get it here.

Google might not be sending out those Nexus updates to Android 4.4 as quickly as everyone wanted - at least some of you might have a new Nexus 5 in your hands before the KitKat build for the N4 update is sent out.

31
Oct
wifi

One more KitKat feature spotlight for the evening. This time, it's Wi-Fi TDLS. Added in Android 4.4, Wi-Fi TDLS, as Google describes it, is "a seamless way to stream media and other data faster between devices already on the same Wi-Fi network." TDLS, for those that don't know, stands for Tunneled Direct Link Setup.

Essentially, Wi-Fi TDLS allows two devices on the same Wi-Fi network to link directly to one another and share data without burdening the network/router/other devices in the process.

31
Oct
image

Next in the line of KitKat feature spotlights is the addition of new motion-oriented UX elements meant to give users a dynamic, fluid experience while making it easier for developers to implement high quality animations.

Android 4.4's new transitions framework allows developers to define scenes and transitions. A scene is usually a view hierarchy, while a transition defines how the scene should transform when a user enters or exits it. Developers can use predefined transition types, an auto-transition type, or create custom transitions "that animate the properties that matter most to your app."

That said, developers don't actually have to define scenes to animate UI changes - they can also animate pieces on the fly.

31
Oct
2013-10-31_14-27-49

You might remember a couple of weeks ago when Google gave developers a heads up about changes to KitKat that might cause problems for SMS apps. At the time, we knew that this only meant there would be a single app in charge of writing to the database, while all of the others would...well, that part wasn't really defined. Today, one in a series of developer videos gave us a little clarification on what it means to be a default app, and what it means for the rest of them.

31
Oct
icon

Yet another facet of KitKat worth pointing out today is the addition of new security enhancements to the OS. Security is one area that's frequently sensationalized with Android - it seems that every few days a scare story about Android malware creeps onto my Google News page. Google's eliminating security arguments (and possible arguments) one at a time, though, and has made a few key enhancements this time around.

First among them is a change to SELinux.

31
Oct
image

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.

31
Oct
logo-moto-footer

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.

31
Oct
Untitled-6

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.

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