Today, Google finally announced the next major version of its Android operating system, along with the newest addition to its Nexus smartphone lineup. The new Android version is 4.4, otherwise known by its code name "KitKat", while the phone is the long awaited Nexus 5, which is now on sale in the Google Play online store.
First, let's talk about KitKat. The official Android website has the rather extensive list of details of the features in Android 4.4, including the new Hangouts app, which now integrates SMS and MMS messages. The new version of the Phone app changes the contact list based on which numbers are called the most. A new 'Immersive' mode hides everything else when users read an ebook, watch a video or play a game on a Android 4.4 device. There's also a new 'printing framework' which enables apps to print over Wi-Fi or cloud-based services like Google's Cloud Print.
Beyond the new features, Google also claims that KitKat has been designed to be less memory-intensive and as a result should be able to be used "comfortably” on a device that has just 512 MB of RAM. Google says older Android products like the Nexus 4, 7, 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition will be able to update to Android 4.4 in the coming weeks. However, as The Verge noted, the company revealed that its own Galaxy Nexus, will not be eligible for update.
Then there's the new Nexus 5, which comes in 16GB and 32GB versions for $349 and $399, respectively. As previous rumors indicated, the device has a 4.95 inch display, a Qualcomm 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and an eight megapixel rear camera. The phone will work with AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile networks in the U.S. and of course will come with KitKat out of the box.
In the U.K., the 16GB model is priced at £299, with the 32GB model at £339. O2 will be the only U.K. network to offer the 32GB model. Three has confirmed that it will stock the 16GB version; in addition to offering it on contracts, it can also be purchased on a pay-as-you-go basis, but the price will be £399, a massive £100 more than if you were to purchase direct from Google.
Update: The 16GB version of the Nexus 5 is now sold out of its launch shipments on the Google Play site.
Source: Google blog