Yesterday, Google delivered a surprise in the form of its Android 4.4.4 KitKat update for its Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and Nexus 4. The Android 4.4.4 KitKat update replaces the recent Android 4.4.3 KitKat update as Google’s latest piece of software and with Nexus users curious about the quick switch, we want to take a look at everything we know about Google’s latest update to KitKat.
Earlier this month, after several weeks of rumors and speculation, Google released Android 4.4.3 KitKat, its latest version of the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. Android 4.4.3 KitKat had long been desired by Google’s Nexus users due to the bugs found inside Android 4.4.2 KitKat and fortunately, Android 4.4.3 KitKat delivered.
Android 4.4.3 KitKat is a bug fix update aimed at fixing the issues that Google delivered inside the Android 4.4 KitKat update that it rolled out back in November. The update also brings a new look to the dialer and it adds some cosmetic changes to the People application that Nexus owners use to contact their loved ones.
The Android 4.4.3 KitKat release tackled a lot of issues and with Google I/O and the summer coming up, virtually nobody expected Google to release another version of Android 4.4 KitKat. And that’s why yesterday’s unannounced Android 4.4.4 KitKat release from Google was so shocking to Nexus uses and owners of other Android devices on Android 4.4.3 and below.
Late Thursday, Google pushed out Android 4.4.4 KitKat to Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Nexus 5, and Nexus 4 users bringing those on Android 4.4.3 KitKat up to another version Google’s latest operating system. With Android 4.4.4 KitKat still fresh, and with details swirling around after its release, we want to take a close look at the update that replaced Android 4.4.3 KitKat.
Here is everything you need to know about Google’s latest update to KitKat, Android 4.4.4 KitKat.
Android 4.4.4 KitKat Release
The Android 4.4.4 KitKat update is, for now, limited to owners of Google’s Nexus smartphones and tablets running Android 4.4. That includes the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 10, and both the Nexus 7 2012 and the Nexus 7 2013.
While the roll out started yesterday, Android 4.4.4 KitKat isn’t available to everyone just yet. Google’s OTA roll outs are slow and they typically take a week or so to hit everyone. So Nexus owners will need to remain patient as the company works to deliver its latest update Over-the-Air. When the update does become available, it will prompt users to download and install. Nexus users are encouraged to check for the update in settings but know that checking more than two or three times a day is overkill.
Now, those who are familiar with sideloading and wish to install the update ahead of the OTA roll out will have the ability to do so. Unfortunately, only a few links have been found.
At the moment, only Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and Nexus 10 users can manually install the Android 4.4.4 KitKat update. Those looking to sideload can pull the update from those links. Nexus users that aren’t familiar with sideloading will want to check out our guide. Simply replace the Nexus 7 for the correct device and replace Android 4.3 with the correct Android 4.4.4 KitKat file.
Eventually, the Android 4.4.4 KitKat files will be found for the Nexus 7 so users will want to keep a look out for them in the hours and days ahead. One thing of note. The Nexus 7 LTE is still without either update and there is still no word from Google about its release. Users are starting to grow a bit impatient but it appears that users will simply have to wait.
While these are the only devices getting the Android 4.4.4 KitKat update right now, there are other Android 4.4.4 KitKat updates on the way. Motorola’s David Schuster, in a post on Google+, says that the Android 4.4.4 KitKat update will be coming to the company’s Droid MAXX, Droid Ultra, and Droid mini. He says that the company is hoping to push in and around a month.
Sorry for the delay in giving an update on the 4.4.3 upgrades but I had to wait unit Google announced KitKat 4.4.4 today (I am bound by a NDA). A significant security vulnerability was discovered by OpenSSL (https://www.openssl.org/news/secadv_20140605.txt) and is fixed in KitKat 4.4.4. We had to wait until KitKat 4.4.4 became available. Consequently, all of our 4.4.3 upgrades that were in carrier labs worldwide (including the 2013 Droid’s) had to be respun, tested and resubmitted again. This was a significant unplanned effort that we had to undertake. We should be re-entering labs next week and hopefully getting TA (technical approval) in 3 to 5 weeks later depending on the carrier.
Given that this is a security fix, there is a good chance that we’ll see Android 4.4.4 KitKat roll out to other devices as well though for the moment, Android 4.4.3 KitKat is still in play.
Android 4.4.3 KitKat Release
Android 4.4.3 KitKat continues to roll out despite the fact that Android 4.4.4 KitKat just replaced it. Today, Sprint pushed the Android 4.4.3 KitKat update live for its Moto X.
The update comes with some notable features for Sprint Moto X owners including:
- Android™ 4.4.3, KitKat® – Android 4.4.3, KitKat, is the latest release of the Android platform. This release includes several stability, framework and security fixes in addition to accuracy improvements to the power profile.
- Camera – Improved image quality – Improved camera image quality including better consistency of exposure, more realistic flash coloring, improved photos in low light conditions using front camera.
- Camera – Pause video recording – Added the ability to pause video recording with a convenient pause/resume button on the viewfinder.
- Updated Phone dialer – Updated Phone dialer with a new graphical layout and colors to improve consistency and usability.
Several other Android 4.4.3 KitKat updates are said to be in the works. Rumors point to releases for the Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4 LTE-A, HTC One M8, and HTC One M7 but it’s not clear how Android 4.4.4 KitKat might affect those plans. HTC and Samsung have yet to confirm those updates and so we may not known until release day.
Android 4.4.4 KitKat Features
Android 4.4.3 KitKat delivered bug fixes to Nexus users and as you can see, it brought quite a bit to devices like the Moto X. Android 4.4.4 KitKat is nowhere close to the size of Android 4.4.3.
The update is small, it’s 2.5MB for Nexus users, and it delivers security fixes for Nexus users. Those looking for the full change log can find it here thanks to Funky Android.
Remember, not all Android updates are created equal. While Android 4.4.4 KitKat might be small for Nexus users, it won’t be small for devices like the Motorola Droid Ultra or Galaxy S5. Manufacturers will put their own spin on Android 4.4.4, just like they did with Android 4.4.3, so we can expect to see fixes and enhancements that go beyond a fix for OpenSSL.
Android 4.4.4 KitKat Problems
Android 4.4.3 KitKat and Android 4.4.4 KitKat were both designed to eradicate issues inside of Android 4.4 KitKat. However, as we’ve pointed out, Android 4.4.3 KitKat delivered some problems of its own. Unsurprisingly, we’re starting to see Android 4.4.4 KitKat problems emerge as the update starts to land for Nexus owners.
The complaints aren’t as loud as those about Android 4.4.3 KitKat problems but Android 4.4.4 KitKat issues do exist according to Nexus users on Google’s Product forums.
It appears that Exchange bugs have followed users with Android 4.4.4 KitKat and users are still seeing GPS issues on the Nexus 5 with Android 4.4.4 KitKat on board though some say that it fixed them. So far, this is all we’re seeing. That should change soon after more users upgrade to Android 4.4.4 KitKat.