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As stated earlier today, Google has launched the brand new Nexus 5 smartphone which is currently available for purchase on the Play Store, at the very attractive price of $350. As expected, the Nexus 5 features the brand new Android 4.4 KitKat OS as well, and this time around, we'll focus more on discussing about the software side of things, rather than the Nexus 5 itself.

Google has further tweaked its successful mobile OS to deliver greater stability and performance, but the new update comes with a handful of visual tweaks as well. Below, you will find a list containing the most notable changes and what they represent.
  • New Dialer and Caller ID: Android 4.4 KitKat introduces several changes in the People application, allowing the device to suggest people that you are most likely to call. More so, you will now have the ability to search across contacts, different accounts and local businesses. In fact, you can search for phone numbers of local businesses, even if you don't have them in your address book.
  • Hangounts: the Hangouts IM service has been improved as well and it now centralizes text and multimedia messages with a single contact in a single thread, regardless of the chatting methods that you have used with the given contacts. GIFs are also supported.
  • New Stock Keyboard: Android 4.4 introduces a new on-screen keyboard delivering a new look and several changes in terms of button-location (such as the comma button being relocated). Perhaps one of the most interesting changes in the on-screen keyboard is the addition of Emoji symbols.
  • New Look: Indeed, the new OS arrives with a new look. The list of changes includes a new lock screen, new icons, a new color scheme and boot animation. The cyan color scheme has been replaced by a white/gray palette, and all the icons now deliver a flatter design. The new lock screen delivers a camera shortcut as well.
  • "OK Google": The popular "OK Google" always-on search engine delivered by Google Glass has now made its presence noticed in Android 4.4 KitKat as well. To access this feature, simply say "OK Google". The search engine giant that the voice recognition software is now 25% more accurate, and there are more "talk backs" as well.
  • Optimization for Low-End Devices: believe it or not, the majority of Android smartphones out there are actually low-end. Not everyone thinks it's a good idea to spend a small fortune on a flagship smartphone, and Google now intends on making Android 4.4 more accessible to these consumers. In other words, Android 4.4 KitKat has been improved in order to work with smartphones that deliver only 512 MB of RAM. Multitasking is also improved, as well as touch responsiveness, so all in all, this is a pretty huge deal.
  • Immersion Mode: With KitKat, the on-screen navigation buttons / bar can now be hidden in full screen apps, such as when reading a book / article. This delivers more screen real-estate and less distraction. The navigation bar can be easily brought back on-screen with a simple swipe.

All in all, Android 4.4 KitKat is a pretty exciting release, and delivers a handful of sought-after features, and the list of changes goes on, beyond the ones described above. When will we get to experience these new additions? Find out below.

Android 4.4 KitKat Release

As expected, Android 4.4 KitKat will first make its debut on the brand new Nexus 5, so if you're willing to purchase the handset in question, then you'll be among the first to experience the new OS.

After the Nexus 5, Google will release Android 4.4 on the rest of its line-up. The list of Google devices that will receive the new update includes the Nexus 4, the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10. The package is expected to land in the "coming weeks".

As for other smartphone manufacturers, it appears that everyone is focusing on updating their flagship smartphones first, despite the operating system's optimization for low-end devices. As such, HTC is expected to update the HTC One, One mini and One max within the next 90 days. The HTC One Google Play edition will receive special treatment (thankfully), and will benefit from Android 4.4 within the next 15 days.

Motorola has confirmed that the Droid Ultra, Maxx and Mini, as well as the Moto X will all make the jump to version 4.4. Unfortunately, the company has failed to give us any concrete time frames.

Samsung is also expected to bring KitKat to its smartphone line-up, but so far, we've only learned that the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition will receive Android 4.4 in the coming weeks.

Via: Android Central / Phone Arena (1 / 2 / 3)
Source: Motorola / 9to5Google
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