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Nexus 4 Android 4.4 KitKat Update: What Users Can Expect

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Sometime soon, Google will roll out a Nexus 4 Android 4.4 KitKat update. When it arrives, it will replace the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update currently on board the Nexus 4 and help to revitalize a device that was one of the most popular Android smartphones of 2012 and 2013. Here, ahead of its arrival, we take a look at what we expect from the upcoming Nexus 4 Android 4.4 update release date.

Back in October, Google announced the Android 4.4 KitKat update, again, alongside the Nexus 5 smartphone, the device that came to replace the Nexus 4 as the company’s flagship Nexus device. Android 4.4 KitKat was originally announced back in September though Google, at the time, provided a grand total of zero details in regard to the update.

Nexus-4-575x465

In October, Google not only relayed all of the update’s details including the new features and tweaks that the software has on board, but it also detailed which devices would be getting Android 4.4 KitKat in the future. Google confirmed updates for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 though it said that it would not be offering a Galaxy Nexus Android 4.4 KitKat update, something that came as a bit of a surprise.

Google said that it would be offering upgrades in the near future but it did not announce when the updates would arrive. Unsurprisingly, the company started rolling out its Android 4.4 Nexus updates last week starting with the Wi-Fi version of the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10. Google then announced that it would be rolling out the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 (cellular version) Android 4.4 KitKat updates in the coming days.

Last week, we saw Google make the Nexus 4 Android 4.4 KitKat update available, at least partially, to device owners. Here, ahead of its official roll out, we take a look at what Nexus 4 owners should expect from the Nexus 4 Android 4.4 KitKat update and its release.

Nexus 4 Android 4.4 KitKat Update Release This Week

Last week, Google released the factory images for the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 (cellular version) Android 4.4 KitKat updates. This allows users, with the know-how, to manually install the official Nexus 4 Android 4.4 KitKat update right now. Those without the knowledge are unfortunately stuck waiting for the Over-the-Air (OTA) update though we imagine that that roll out will come soon.

We are actually a little bit surprised that the Nexus 4 Android 4.4 OTA roll out hasn’t started already. Typically, factory images arrive on the same day as the OTA roll out so the fact that the OTA hasn’t started is extremely surprising. That said, we would be floored if the update did not roll out sometime this week. Perhaps, Google needed some extra time, perhaps it wanted to complete the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 roll outs. Whatever the case, the factory images point to an OTA being extremely close.

Announcement on Day of Release

Nexus 4 users should expect Google to announce the roll out on the day of the roll out, not before, not later. Google rarely announces specific release dates ahead of time so we don’t expect it to take to the likes of Twitter to confirm a roll out for this Wednesday or this Thursday for example. Instead, it will likely announce the update, if it announces it at all, either right before or right after the roll out begins.

As we’ve pointed out, those looking for answers will want to keep an eye on Google’s @Android account on Twitter and on the Nexus Google+ page as those will likely be the places where an announcement might show up.

T-Mobile Nexus 4 Roll Out Same Day

While this should go without saying, those who bought their Nexus 4 at T-Mobile should expect their device to get the Android 4.4 KitKat update on the same day. The Google Play and T-Mobile Nexus 4 are similar and we don’t expect one to get the update before the other. Once the Nexus 4 roll out begins, all owners of the Nexus 4 should start looking out for their upgrade.

Same Day as Nexus 7 Roll Out

Those Nexus 4 owners who also own a Nexus 7 HSPA+ or Nexus 7 LTE should expect the roll out to touch down on the same day as the Nexus 4 Android 4.4 KitKat update release date. First of all, Google loves to roll out its Nexus updates simultaneously, we saw it with the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 in Android 4.4 KitKat, and we’ve seen it with various other roll outs. So it’s to be expected here.

Nexus-7-review-2013-Performance

We also saw Google push out the factory images for the remaining Nexus 7 Android 4.4 KitKat updates, a sign that their updates are close as well. So, we expect Google to start rolling out the Nexus 4 and the two Nexus 7 updates that remain on the same day. All of these updates should roll out slowly and complete in about a week.

Relatively Smooth Update

Thus far, we haven’t seen the widespread complaints that we typically encounter with major Android updates. For the most part, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 owners have been relatively quiet and that’s a great sign for those that own the Nexus 4. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the Nexus 4 Android 4.4 KitKat update will be void of bugs, users should expect the bug load to be a little lighter this year.

The Nexus 4 Android 4.3 update leaks.

In the past, where there was smoke, there was fire, and we saw Nexus owners across the board complaining about similar issues. Whether that was a laggy user interface, battery life issues or what have you. With things as silent as they are, we’ve seen a few bugs get reported but nothing crazy, Nexus 4 owners can expect to have a pretty good Android 4.4 KitKat update experience right off the bat.

31 Comments

  1. lynn63

    11/18/2013 at 3:30 pm

    I haven’t gotten my update for nexus 7 yet. I’m getting a little impatient. I have a mac computer and Apple doesn’t have us wait for updates to roll out here and there. Why does it take so long for android devices?

    • Andres Galvan

      11/18/2013 at 6:43 pm

      I see you’re misinformed. Usually, Nexus devices receive updates within days of the new OS release. The reason that other devices take so long to be updated is that Google does not release source code to any manufacturers until the day of the announcement, so those manufacturers must modify the code for their devices, then add on their customized skin (Samsung Touchwiz, HTC Sense, etc,), then send the updates out to carriers for branded devices.
      Nexus and Google Play Edition devices receive updates directly from Google, no matter who the manufacturer is. I have no idea why the Nexus & GPE updates are taking so long, though. When 4.3 was released, my old Nexus 7 received the update the afternoon of the announcement, 4.2 rolled out in 2 days. It’s been about a week since 2012 Nexus 7s have supposedly started being updated to Kit Kat, but mine still thinks it’s up to date. Very odd…

    • William Deller

      11/19/2013 at 10:46 am

      I got an update yesyetday and the device is now a buggy mess. Rather not use it. Frustrating junk.

  2. Don S.

    11/18/2013 at 4:14 pm

    It doesn’t necessarily take any longer; it’s just that the time between when you find out about the update and when it comes is longer. The majority of users don’t know (or care) that 4.4 is out at all.

  3. michael nakoneczny

    11/18/2013 at 4:21 pm

    This is the biggest issue with Android, called fragmentation. also this is why Google is currently trying to take back control of android devices. Releasing updates to the play store instead of through ota updates to carriers. With apple everything is unified. One type of phone, one type of tablet, one OS for their computers. It’s all one. That’s why their updates are so much quicker. Everything with Android is open source so every maker can do what they wish, which makes it harder for company’s to do stuff with. I could explain more but I think this about sums it up.
    -Michael D. Nakoneczny

    • dsp4

      11/19/2013 at 11:53 am

      This article has nothing to do with fragmentation. Fragmentation is when manufacturers heavily modify their own version of the OS. The article is discussing the original version of the OS, and how Google is sitting on it before releasing it for older devices. There could be a technical reason for that, but it’s most probably a marketing reason. By making 4.4 exclusive to the Nexus 5, it became a selling point. They’ve ridden this until the initial N5 hype faded out, then started releasing for older devices.

  4. Nicholas

    11/18/2013 at 7:07 pm

    Downloaded 4.4 for my Nexus 4, no rooting, just an unlock and boot the new factory image. It runs significantly faster but I swear the speaker is so much harder to hear now across a variety of videos and songs. Other than that, not much has changed.

  5. Fulaman

    11/18/2013 at 7:13 pm

    I don’t think an android 4.4 update is available yet for the Nexus 10, haven’t received it

  6. leonardo mesquita caetano

    11/18/2013 at 7:16 pm

    “Touchscreen improvements
    Improved software and Nexus 5’s new hardware mean Android responds to your touch faster and more accurately than ever before.*

    Just say “Ok Google”
    You don’t need to touch the screen to get things done. When on your home screen* or in Google Now, just say “Ok Google” to launch voice search, send a text, get directions or even play a song
    *Currently only available on Nexus 5″

    Why not also in Nexus 4?

  7. John C

    11/18/2013 at 7:18 pm

    Rooted Nexus 4 with the n5 factory image before Halloween. Works great. No battery loss despite always on voice commands. Noticeably smoother but Android Holo Blue is gone and replaced with a very, very boring Android grey that harkens back to the gingerbread keyboard.

    It’s like I’m using an Oreo as a phone.

  8. Cecil Gabriel

    11/19/2013 at 12:43 am

    Why so much repeated BS. After reading all those wasted words I didn’t learn a thing I didn’t know a week ago. If you don’t have anything new why waste our time.

    • Andrew

      11/19/2013 at 5:53 am

      Totally agree. Absolutely ZERO knowledge conveyed. I even swore out loud and my daughter asked “what’s wrong?”. To which I replied this author is being paid by the word.

  9. Nicolo Legaspi

    11/19/2013 at 6:18 am

    I was actually expecting to read about the changes I could expect upon updating from 4.3 to 4.4 — what features carry over from the N5 to my N4. Didn’t see that anywhere in this article.

  10. Richard G

    11/19/2013 at 10:11 am

    I am possibly interested in using the Nexus 5 image on my Android 4.21 Nexus 4. Does it allow LTE radio communication. Has it fixed mandatory VPN access? Does all the hardware work? What are the steps to accomplish this?

  11. Victor Ceja

    11/19/2013 at 11:05 am

    I read that the Moto X with Verizon got the 4.4 update today. I think it is crazy that we are all waiting for the OTA and the Moto X receives it first, when Nexus devices are supposed to receive them first from Google..

  12. Richard G

    11/19/2013 at 11:14 am

    I am possibly interested in using the Nexus 5 image on my Android 4.21 Nexus 4. Does it allow LTE radio communication. Has it fixed mandatory VPN access? Does all the hardware work? What are the steps to accomplish this?

    • dsp4

      11/19/2013 at 1:30 pm

      No need to install the N5 image on your N4. The Android 4.4 OTA upgrade will be coming in a few days, or you can install the factory image by yourself by following this guide : http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/11/14/android-4-4-kitkat-factory-images-and-binaries-are-up-for-nexus-4-all-variants-of-nexus-7-2012-and-2013-and-nexus-10/

      It won’t magically enable LTE though. The lack of LTE on the Nexus 4 was a hardware limitation, not a software one.

      • William Fedric (Joe)

        11/20/2013 at 6:26 am

        It clearly was a software limitation, because installing a radio that enables the LTE supported on the Snapdragon S4 Pro the N⁴ contains will change that. My download speeds in Dallas are ~25-30mbps, upload ~15mbps.

        Hardware was never an issue.

        • dsp4

          11/20/2013 at 8:07 pm

          My bad. We’re actually both partially right. LTE was always usable with the Nexus 4, from the moment it was released, but the hardware can only connect to band 4, and installing KitKat won’t change that.

        • Joe

          11/30/2013 at 8:57 pm

          How do I access LTE support with 4.4 on N4. I had LTE support on 4.2, but lost it when I accepted the 4.4 OTA.

  13. A

    11/19/2013 at 11:59 am

    What a load of crap. Click bait.

  14. Jesus

    11/19/2013 at 1:24 pm

    Um… the Nexus 4 was FAAR from “one of the most popular Android smartphonesof 2012 and 2013″

    Sure, it is a GREAT device. But popularity wise, no one knows about it.

  15. antonio

    11/19/2013 at 2:35 pm

    The rant about MOTO X and possible Droid Maxx and HTC getting the OTA before the NEXUS4 went up in the sky after SUNDAR PICHAI posted around G+ that it is Official, the community of owners of nexus 4 is very upset about it.

  16. Edward

    11/19/2013 at 5:33 pm

    i installed kitkat 4.4 in my nexus 4 but why not full screen display like nexus 5 and i used Ok Google voice when application is only open..please tell me what’s the difference of 4.3 to 4.4 android version.

    LG and Samsung is korean made but why Samsung is so great features phone rather than LG.

    • Nicholas

      11/19/2013 at 6:06 pm

      The transparent quick button bar at the button of the nexus 5 is exclusive to the nexus, that is unless you want to root your phone and install the required software. Currently the nexus 4 does not get the transparent bar. Also the OK Google home screen is also exclusive to the nexus 5. Basically the difference between 4.3 and 4.4 is mostly performance upgrades.

      • Nirmal

        11/19/2013 at 8:19 pm

        Install GEL on Nexus4 with Kitkat to have the “Ok Google” working. Refer to http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2529594 for how to do it

        • dsp4

          11/19/2013 at 8:39 pm

          That’s great, thanks for the link!

      • Todd

        11/19/2013 at 8:19 pm

        You do not need to root. Just search for the Google experience launcher and download from the link on xda and install. Choose it as your default launcher. Your done. You’ll need to reset widgets, but your app icon home screen layout will import in.

        • Nicholas

          11/20/2013 at 7:10 am

          Thanks, extremely easy to install. I was definitely under the impression that the phone needed to be rooted in order to get the launcher. Again thanks.

  17. Ashish Singh

    11/20/2013 at 4:55 am

    I think Nexus 4 KitKat updates are here. Mine’s not here yet but I trust it’ll be any day now.

  18. Wyrett Wong

    11/22/2013 at 6:03 am

    Got my update for nexus 7 2012 and nexus 4

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