Shortly after Apple announced its iPhone 5S launch date, Google announced something big of its own, confirming Android 4.4 KitKat for arrival sometime in the future. The update, which will replace Android 4.3 Jelly Bean as the most current version of Android, is still a bit of a mystery. However, in the buildup to its release, it’s time to make some bold predictions about Google’s new Android 4.4 KitKat update.
In late July, after skipping an announcement at Google I/O, Google announced Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, its latest version of Jelly Bean that rolled out to Nexus devices and will be hitting big name devices in the coming weeks, a list that includes the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2.
The update, unlike Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, wasn’t a massive update and followed in the footsteps of Android 4.2 by building upon the foundation that Android 4.1 laid when it arrived back in July of last year.
Read: Android 4.4 KitKat Announced.
Rumors for months suggested that the next version of Android, to follow Android Jelly Bean, would be Google’s ‘K’ update, also thought to be called Key Lime Pie or Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. It’s a name that had been around for awhile and that’s why it was so surprising to see Google announce something completely different just a few short days ago.
Companies have a habit of trying to one up the other when one tries to steal the spotlight. Several weeks ago, Samsung sent out invites for a September 4th event. A day before that event, which turned out to be for the Galaxy Note 3, Apple sent out an invite for its September 10th iPhone 5S event in Cupertino. And not to be outdone, Google announced something big of its own, Android 4.4 KitKat.
Instead of Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, Google went in a totally different direction and partnered up with Nestle, the maker of KitKat, to deliver a bizarre name for its next update.
The company hasn’t said much about Android 4.4 KitKat, other than confirming it for release. We also haven’t seen any major leaks emerge for the software, making it hard to predict. But not impossible.
Here, we make some early, bold Android 4.4 KitKat predictions including some guesses about its release date and its features.
Android 4.4 KitKat Release Date
This is probably the easiest piece of the Android 4.4 KitKat puzzle to predict because there is a history. In the past, we’ve seen Google release new Android updates with brand new pieces of Nexus hardware. We saw it with Android 4.1 and the Nexus 7, with Android 4.2 and the Nexus 4 and with Android 4.3 and the Nexus 7 2.
Google also, in the past two years, has released the Nexus smartphone in the fourth quarter. The Galaxy Nexus landed in December while the Nexus 4 arrived in November after an October launch. Unsurprisingly, Nexus 5 rumors point to a launch in October with Android 4.4 KitKat on board and at this point, this is exactly how we see this playing out.
Look for Google to take the stage, somewhere, maybe in New York City, and announce a trio of new products. Android 4.4 KitKat, the Nexus 5 or Nexus 5’s, and a new Nexus 10 tablet that could be made by Asus. Look for Google to announce specific release dates for these new products.
Google typically rolls out its Android updates for older Nexus devices either immediately after announcing the software or near the release date of its new Nexus products. With that in mind, we imagine that Android 4.4 KitKat will be released somewhere in between late October and mid November for owners of older Nexus devices.
Android 4.4 KitKat Updates
Of course, not all devices will get Android 4.4 KitKat right off the bat. Nexus devices always get the software first which means that the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 will all likely get Android 4.4 KitKat right off the bat. Here’s a bold prediction, we think that the Galaxy Nexus will get Android 4.4 though we think it will be its last update.
If it does get an update, that will be two years of support for the device, and considering that Google says that it’s its “goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody” we suspect that the Galaxy Nexus won’t be the only older device that gets the upgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat.
We suspect that it will take several months for Android 4.4 KitKat updates to start hitting devices, given how close we are to Android 4.3 for some devices. We think that Android 4.4 KitKat will likely start rolling out for devices in the second quarter of next year with flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S5 coming with it pre-loaded out of the box.
As far as the first non-Nexus smartphone to get Android 4.4 KitKat, that will likely be the Samsung Galaxy S4 as Samsung typically does a great job of updating its big name devices to major Android updates. After that, it’s impossible to say.
Android 4.4 KitKat Features
There is very little to go on in terms of Android 4.4 KitKat features as we haven’t seen much of anything leak out yet. Early rumors suggested that it could be a piece of software that is focused on getting Android onto a host of different types of technology including wearable tech and game consoles, and, Google’s tagline about Android 4.4 supports this.
We fully expect Android 4.4 to be optimized to run on devices that aren’t souped up with big time processors and specs. The thing to hone in on is the fact that Google says it wants to make Android 4.4 KitKat available to everybody. That means three things in our eyes:
- People that use devices other than phones: gaming systems, watches, refrigerators, etc.
- People that don’t want or need the top-of-the-line smartphones but want a great software experience. (Think iOS 7 on the iPhone 5C.)
- Google wants everyone, or most everyone, on the same version of Android.
By lowering the spec requirements, Google can put Android 4.4 KitKat inside a ton of different form factors including smartphones and tablets. It will also lower the costs that companies endure and it will ensure fluid experiences across all devices.
With this in mind, we have to think that Android KitKat will be focused on optimizing what’s already there. Google has shown a willingness to produce smaller updates that build upon what it has already. Updates like Android 4.2 and Android 4.3 which didn’t drastically alter the Android experience but added some beneficial features while upgrading others.
In our mind, Android KitKat will deliver new features, but we don’t think it’s going to be a massive overhaul like iOS 7 is going to be for iOS. Instead, we think Google is going to focus heavily on battery life and UI fluidity while also adding some new features and tweaking some things already on board the operating system.
The new name and software version are definitely signs that this will be more than what Android 4.3 and Android 4.2 were, but we don’t think it will be on the same level as the jump from Android 4.0 to Android 4.1.