Leak shows Android KitKat geared towards wearables and low-end handsets

Many people are excited about the upcoming Android Kit Kat update, but according to a recent leak, this new version may actually be a major step forward both in terms of usability and capabilities for Google’s OS.

Amir Efrati, who has broken Google and Android news before, has apparently taken a look at some official inside documents concerning Android 4.4 KitKat. According to him this might be a radical update to Google’s platform not just an iterative one.

Among the many new features and improvements that it’s supposed to bring, KitKat will supposedly finally deal with the fragmentation issue that has plagued the Android ecosystem ever since the OS first launched. This will come both in terms of support for the update and in integrated solutions that unify separate approaches from different OEMs. For example instead of Samsung, HTC, Moto and Sony each offering their own way to interact with an IR blaster, KitKat now brings an integrated solution that works on all handsets.

According to Efrati, KitKat has also been engineered to work on older and lower-end devices in a bid to bring them up to speed with newer and more powerful handsets. Memory management has also been improved, now allowing much more fluidity and responsiveness even in devices with only 512 MB RAM.

Speaking of those, KitKat also seems to be focused around new lower-end devices with many improvements designed to make Google and its OEMs more competitive in this field. After all, while the high-end markets seem saturated, developing markets are a huge and valuable battlefield for OEMs looking to sell more devices.

Other improvements are focused around Bluetooth and the addition of new sensors: geomagnetic rotation vector, step detection and step counters. These are definitely geared towards wearables, whether they’re Google Glass or upcoming smartwatches from OEMs or even completely new products that haven’t been announced yet. Whatever the case, Android is definitely gearing towards a wearable computing future.

Finally developers will supposedly be able to create applications that use “full-screen mode” which completely hides the navigation bar and lets the app shine from edge to edge. And alongside all these changes there may be some significant battery gains thanks to improvements in the KitKat update which should make many users quite happy.

Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long until Google decides to unveil KitKat to the world, and here’s hoping this info is accurate and the update does end up being a major one.

Source: JessicaLessin.com via: Engadget | Image via Google

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I hope they eventually get around to updating the ugly old-fashioned skeumorphic pseudo-3d overly coloured and detailed icons and replace them with some decent design. Microsoft is leading the way in this respect, iOS7 followed - but only in a half-assed way which left the icons looking uglier than before, if anything.

If they can make Android run smoothly on 512MB of RAM like WP8 can then I say that's an awesome thing. At the moment if I have a friend who wants a smart phone but only wants to pay about £150 or less I direct them to a WP as its the only option of a cheap phone that runs smoothly. But if Android phones can run smoothly on 512MB then it opens the market up to more competition on the low end.

Wrong interpretation, the source clearly states "tools to help developers create memory-efficient applications for entry-level devices, such as those that have 512 megabytes of memory" but NOT actually KitKat running on those 512MB devices.

This is utter nonsense and technically infeasible, current Android phones with an advertised RAM amount of 512MB usually have around 350-370MB of usable RAM (the GPU, kernel, surface flinger, ADSP, audio 720p recording use the rest). Now considering that stock Android with the Goolgle services occupy around 150MB out of that ~350MB leaving around 150MB being free (the services, background processes and Apps will further reduce the available RAM). The problem here is not about Android not being optimized but rather ancient GB-era hardware running hardware components not design to run modern version of Android

Most devices from 2012 released 512MB of RAM use the Snapdragon S1-S2 SoCs and were originally packed with Android 2.3/Kernel 2.6. Those devices if flashed with a custom ROM like CM10.1 (JB4.2.2) will definitely exhibit LAGS due to the poor implementation of Adreno libs. Those devices and their components were designed to be used with PMEM allocation along with Kernel 2.6 ONLY but a drastic technical change in memory allocation (from PMEM, NVMAP, CMEM etc to the unified ION) which occurred when ICS was released meant that manufacturers had to rebuild their kernel blobs from scratch if they ever planned to upgrade their older devices but also meant that several devices would never taste ICS let alone JB (The Galaxy S for instance).

Even Qualcomm no longer provides PMEM Adreno libs for Jelly Bean, they basically stopped since ICS. So the "optimized for older phones" fact is moot. Even Google can't help if the manufacturers don't provide proper libs (and they won't waste their time recoding/porting everything let alone working from scratch).

There's no reason why Google would go back to the fragmented memory allocation architectures used by SoC manufacturers. Those old devices also run kernel 2.6 which are essentially not meant to work with Jelly Bean and above (vsync, project butter and the hwa stuff will be broken with 2.6). This essentially means that KitKat will never run on most low end devices already out.

Nobody supports such old devices with dated SoCs, even Qualcomm doesn't care.

yowanvista said,
snip

well said. My Galaxy S will never get this update by any official channel. And like you said even CM can't help it.

Anyway, I don't care much Galaxy S is now a glorified MP3 player while my Lumia 822 is my daily driver.

While it's great that Google are finally addressing the issue of poor performance on lower end handsets, the problem will remain as all those gazillions of older handsets will never get upgraded from 2.3 or below. Even cheap phones like the Galaxy Ace that I think runs 4.1 is probably unlikely to see an update. At least going forward Android will be more competitive, which it strongly needs given how WP is starting to eat into the lower end. This is one reason the world needs WP, just to make Google start writing more efficient code.

Don't you mean "like everyone else that actually has a Nexus device and doesn't have to wait until the update is obsolete to finally receive it"?

TrekRich said,

You will install it like everyone else! There will be some killer
app that will need that version and you will upgrade!


Bull! My Android phone still runs on Jelly bean 4.1.x ... I'd be lucky if it ever get as far as 4.3,
and it'll probably never get 4.4 even if I wanted that version ... which I don't and never will.

I'll more than likely wait until devices with Android 5 are available (whenever that happens)
before I buy another Android device. If my current Android phone ever gets 4.4 pushed
to it, I'll find away of rolling it back to 4.3, even if it means rooting the device.

If Nestle are, as you claim, evil, and any company that supports them is also evil by association, as you also claim, then you should immediately destroy your android device and never buy another. Otherwise, by your own wonky reasoning, you're supporting a company which supports evil.

We await the video of you smashing your phone.

FloatingFatMan said,
If Nestle are, as you claim, evil, and any company that supports them is also evil by association, as you also claim, then you should immediately destroy your android device and never buy another. Otherwise, by your own wonky reasoning, you're supporting a company which supports evil.

We await the video of you smashing your phone.

We all know that video ain't gonna happen. We'll just get someone justifying their way around it.

FloatingFatMan said,
If Nestle are, as you claim, evil, and any company that supports them is also evil by association, as you also claim, then you should immediately destroy your android device and never buy another. Otherwise, by your own wonky reasoning, you're supporting a company which supports evil.

We await the video of you smashing your phone.

I'm up for that! o/

*looks around for anything by Scroogle to destroy*

Oh wait...

edit: I just uninstalled the Google search app on my Lumia. No idea how I left it when I was cleansing my life of Google.

AsherGZ said,

I'm up for that! o/

*looks around for anything by Scroogle to destroy*

Oh wait...


If someone buys me a Nokia Lumia Windows Phone, I might consider smashing my Android phone!
Doesn't have to be an expensive one ... something at a similar price to my current Galaxy Ace 2!

DJGM said,

If someone buys me a Nokia Lumia Windows Phone, I might consider smashing my Android phone!
Doesn't have to be an expensive one ... something at a similar price to my current Galaxy Ace 2!

So you really just want to troll the discussion and have no actual conviction in your so called "beliefs" what so ever.

Right. Thought so.

DJGM said,
Regardless of any goodies Android 4.4 brings, I'll be avoiding it like the plague. #nestleisevil
Don't be an idiot.

testman said,

Don't be an idiot.


If my dislike of a company that kills babies in the third world makes me an idiot then so be it.

Google's motto is "Don't be evil", yet they've teamed with one of the most evil companies in
the world to market a new version of Android. Anyone that supports Nestle has blood on
their hands, especially if they know about the things that company is responsible for.

DJGM said,

If my dislike of a company that kills babies in the third world makes me an idiot then so be it.

Google's motto is "Don't be evil", yet they've teamed with one of the most evil companies in
the world to market a new version of Android. Anyone that supports Nestle has blood on
their hands, especially if they know about the things that company is responsible for.

Wow, seriously? I hope you pretty much make your own tech, clothes, and other necessities of life. Unless you can guarantee whatever you buy is not made by children and the employees are treated right.

DJGM said,

If my dislike of a company that kills babies in the third world makes me an idiot then so be it.

Google's motto is "Don't be evil", yet they've teamed with one of the most evil companies in
the world to market a new version of Android. Anyone that supports Nestle has blood on
their hands, especially if they know about the things that company is responsible for.

I wasnt too excited to see the team up with Nestle either. Nestle is super evil.

AmazingRando said,

I wasnt too excited to see the team up with Nestle either. Nestle is super evil.

What do Nestle do thats so bad exactly? Got any links?

Lord Method Man said,

Why are you using a pound sign and no spaces between words?


Where exactly is there any use of currency symbols in my original message?

Well that's some extreme reasoning, but to each their own I guess.

EDIT: I think he was taking a jab at the unnecessary #nestleisevil bit. Unlike Twitter, doing that here doesn't do anything.

Edited by Nick H., Oct 31 2013, 3:40pm :

DJGM said,

Where exactly is there any use of currency symbols in my original message?

# <-- This is called a pound sign. You used it in your attempts at putting a "hashtag" in to a comment. Which don't work here.

SharpGreen said,

# <-- This is called a pound sign. You used it in your attempts at putting
a "hashtag" in to a comment. Which don't work here.


No, you are wrong. The # symbol you wrongly refer to as a pound sign is actually called
a hash symbol. That's why hashtags on Twitter (and more recently Facebook) are called
hashtags. This £ is called a pound sign, and is the symbol that represents the monetary
currency of the United Kingdom, known as Pound Sterling.

#muppet

DJGM said,

No, you are wrong. The # symbol you wrongly refer to as a pound sign is actually called
a hash symbol. That's why hashtags on Twitter (and more recently Facebook) are called
hashtags. This £ is called a pound sign, and is the symbol that represents the monetary
currency of the United Kingdom, known as Pound Sterling.

#muppet

Wrong... Do some research, please...
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Pound+symbol

#growup

Astra.Xtreme said,

Wrong... Do some research, please...
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Pound+symbol

#growup


According to that link # refers to pounds in weight, which may well be correct in the US, but not
here in Blighty, where we use "lb" for pounds in weight, which is short for the Latin term "libra"
itself a shortened form of the full term, "libra pondo" translated in English as "pound weight".
The second word of the full Latin term is where the English pound is derived from.

It's also why the star sign of Libra uses an image of olde worlde weighing scales as its symbol.

#youlearnsomethingneweveryday

#NowWe'reGettingSilly.

We've digressed from the point of the article to the point of debating how one country calls a symbol compared to another. Regardless of its official name, its usage in this matter was and is pointless, so let's just all move on, ok?

TiffanyPiszko said,
I wonder if that will work on my galaxy note 1st gen

I don't know but if you're thinking of trying your phone will tell uou once you start to update your handset. Back up your phone before attempt to update