On September 3rd, just a day before Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 3, Google announced a new version of Android dubbed Android 4.4 KitKat. The company refused to divulge many of the important details including Android 4.4 KitKat release date, features and updates but fortunately, in the days since, we’re starting to get some clarity.
In late July, Google announced the update that many had expected at Google I/O 2013 in May. The company unveiled Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, an update to the Jelly Bean operating system that debuted alongside the new Nexus 7. Like Android 4.2, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean arrived with some incremental upgrades to Google’s Android software, bringing things like Bluetooth Low Energy, OpenGL 3.0 Support, some changes to the dialer, and more. It was and is a small update, nothing like the jump from Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was.
After Android 4.3 Jelly Bean rolled out to Google’s Nexus devices, many expected that the next update in line would be Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, an update that had been rumored well before Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. As it turns out, there is a new Android update coming this year but it won’t be called Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie.
Google’s new ‘K’ update is instead going to be Android 4.4 KitKat, an update that it announced earlier this month, and one that was done in partnership with Nestle, the maker of the KitKat bar. The update, while official, is still somewhat of a mystery as the company declined to get into specifics when pressed for information.
Instead, Android users have left with a splash page that reveals very little other than a contest in partnership with Nestle, a teaser video that makes fun of Apple and iOS 7, and a KitKat statue perched in front of Google’s Android headquarters.
That said, there are some details that have emerged in regards to the Android 4.4 KitKat update and here, we breakdown everything we know about the upcoming update for Android users.
Android 4.4 KitKat Release Date
Google isn’t talking about the Android 4.4 KitKat release date just yet. The only thing that Google is offering up is a sign up page where interested parties can sign up to receive details about its launch plans. Thus far, the company has yet to send anything out.
Fortunately, we have a pretty good idea about when Android 4.4 KitKat is going to arrive. Thanks to mention buried deep within an FCC filing, we know that a device currently known as the LG D820 is going to be running Android 4.4 KitKat. It’s referred to as Key Lime Pie but we know that Key Lime Pie is now called KitKat.
This device is thought to be the same device that was shown in an Android 4.4 KitKat video from Google, a video that has since been taken down likely due to the leak. It also is thought to be the same device that showed up today in an FCC filing for the Verizon LG G2. Accident or not, the filing showcased the exact phone seen in the Android 4.4 KitKat video, a phone that had Nexus imprinted clearly on its design.
So what does this all have to do with the Android 4.4 KitKat release date? Simple, this device is likely the LG Nexus 5, a device that is heavily rumored for a launch in October.
Google typically launches new Android updates with new Nexus hardware which means that Android 4.4 KitKat is likely going to be out next month alongside the Nexus 5 or Nexus 5’s. Remember, there are rumors that state that Motorola is going to produce a Nexus as well.
As for its precise release date, rumors say late October for the Nexus 5, so, we’d expect an early-to-mid November release date for the Android 4.4 KitKat update.
Android 4.4 KitKat Features
Google isn’t talking about Android 4.4 KitKat features just yet either. And unfortunately, there has been very little to go on as far as rumors. The only clue that the company offered up was a tag line for the update that reads: “It’s our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody.”
This seems to match up nicely with rumors that suggested that Google would be looking to lower the requirements for Android 4.4 KitKat so that it could put the software into several different form factors. Rumors have suggest a Nexus smartwatch, something that was seemingly fueled by Google’s purchase of WIMM Labs, a portable game console and a reboot of the Nexus Q.
It could also be that the software is made available for mobile devices with lesser hardware so that manufacturers can issue software updates several years after the arrival of a device.
Android updates all tend to provide some new features to Android owners so we suspect that Android 4.4 will do the same. It’s just not clear what those might be at the moment.
Android 4.4 KitKat Updates
The company isn’t talking about Android 4.4 KitKat updates either which means that Nexus owners and owners of non-Nexus devices are searching for answers in regards to Android 4.4. Well, we have a few but for the most part, things remain cloudy.
We suspect that the HTC One Google Edition, Galaxy S4 Google Edition, Nexus 4, new Nexus 7, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 will all get upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat. And given that the Galaxy Nexus will be two years old come December, it’s possible that we could see Google stretch its life out by offering Android 4.4 KitKat to owners.
Google does a good job of keeping its Nexus devices upgraded so Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 owners need not worry about whether or not Android 4.4 will be rolling out. They simply need to worry about when.
The when isn’t too difficult to narrow down. We typically see the software roll out the day of an announcement or on a release date. So, that means that we should see Android 4.4 KitKat roll out to owners of current Nexus devices somewhere between late October and the middle of November.
As of right now, we’ve only heard Android 4.4 KitKat rumors in regards to HTC devices. The well-known HTC leakster LLabTooFeR has been issuing some information about Android 4.4 KitKat and thus far, everything that we’ve heard is bad.
First off, he claims that HTC won’t be updating the HTC One X with Android 4.4, something that isn’t surprising given that we’ve heard that Android 4.3 is unlikely. HTC itself hasn’t confirmed anything but we know that the company is typically frugal when it comes to issues major Android updates to its aging devices.
Another device that he thinks won’t get Android 4.4 is the HTC One X+, the One X model that came out late last year. He seems adamant that the device will not get it so at this point, it’s hard to believe that it will get a KitKat update down to road.
If Motorola has plans to roll out Android 4.4 KitKat, it isn’t saying. In fact, these days, Motorola isn’t saying much of anything when it comes to Android updates.
The manufacturer, which is owned by Google, released four smartphones running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, not Android 4.3, and still hasn’t confirmed which devices will be moving past Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Its upgrade page, which was full of activity for awhile, now lays dormant.
LG still has to roll out Android 4.2 and or Android 4.3 to its former flagship the LG Optimus G. Its current flagship, the LG G2, hits the U.S. this month with Android 4.2 on board.
We don’t think we’ll be hearing about Android 4.4 KitKat for awhile.
So far, we haven’t seen any rumors for Samsung Android KitKat updates. That should change in the next few months, after Google makes the final announcement, but until then, things will remain silent.
What we do know is that Samsung plans to get Android 4.3 out to the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2, and Galaxy S3 in October and at that point, owners can start looking for an Android 4.4 KitKat update.
Sony works closely with Google on Android but that hasn’t produced anything noteworthy with Android 4.4 KitKat, at least not yet. The company is typically very fast to issue update information, it has several Android 4.3 updates inbound, but given that it still hasn’t rolled out Android 4.3, we don’t expect rumors or announcements to come any time soon.