The Android 4.4 KitKat launch could arrive in a matter of hours, alongside the Nexus 5, and a new leak of insider information reveals new information about what features we can expect from the new version of Android.
While Android upgrades typically focus on bringing major features or overhauls to the look, we’ve seen Google shift major features to individual apps to speed along the updates, and it leaks point to an Android 4.4 update that may look minor on the outside, but like a secret Google barge in the San Francisco harbor, could be the groundwork for something big.
A new report from Amir Efrati outlines five key details of the Android 4.4 KitKat update, specifically regarding what this update will deliver to users.
Additionally Amir is answering a collection of questions about other features on Google+, including what he knows about update possibilities, features that could deliver better battery life, information about the new lock screen and more.
Faster, More Plentiful Updates
While The Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 will likely be at the front of the line for updates, one of the major cornerstones of the Android 4.4 KitKat update is reportedly an easier way for manufacturers to bring the latest version of Android to low-end or mid-range devices.
We’ve seen time and time again that lower power, more affordable Android smartphones and tablets run older versions of Android, and it turns out this is because the newer versions required more power to operate at peak efficiency.
This information comes from a confidential KitKat document, and should help manufacturers deliver updates to Android, newer versions of Android on more devices and better support for Android running on wearables.
Ready for Smartwatches, Google Glass
According to Efrati the Android 4.4 KitKat update will also help Google deliver more wearable computers. Efrati writes, “KitKat is expected to support three new types of sensors: geomagnetic rotation vector, step detector and step counter.”
These sensors, which sound similar to the rumored motion coprocessor we expect in the Nexus 5, can help with fitness tracking on Android smartphones and could make their appearance in a Google smartwatch or into Google Glass.
NFC You can Actually Use as a Credit Card
The Nexus 5, like the new Nexus 7, lacks a secure element, which led us to question its compatibility with Google Wallet. Users looking to lighten their wallet could be in for a fun surprise with better NFC support that can act as a credit card without a secure element.
It’s possible that this could help Google perform an end-run around wireless carriers who previously laid claim to the secure element in supporting NFC chips. The report says that marketing materials for Android 4.4 show credit cards will work as a tap to pay option on KitKat without using the secure element.
The mechanics are still missing, but this could be great news for users who are longing for a digital wallet.
TV Control in Android 4.4
Many high-end Android smartphones can control your HDTV, cable box and home theater thanks to built-in software and an IR port similar to the one on your remote control.
The report says that Android 4.4 will include the parts manufacturers need to easily incorporate IR control of devices. If it is built-in, companies would not need to spend time and money creating custom solutions.
Finally, Android 4.4 KitKat could deliver better Bluetooth support for controllers, keyboards and in-car entertainment systems.
Google made strides in recent versions, and the new support for “Bluetooth HID over GATT and Bluetooth Message Access Profile” in Android 4.4 should add more features and support.