Last week, Google finally announced the much anticipated Android 4.4 KitKat update, an update that will replace Android Jelly Bean as the company’s most current mobile operating system. The company also confirmed a trio of updates for arrival with Android 4.4 KitKat set for the Nexus 7, Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. Here, ahead of its release, we take a look at the most important things users need to know about the upcoming software and its release.
For months, rumors suggested that Google was working on a brand new update for Nexus devices and beyond called Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. Most thought that Google would debut the software alongside a brand new Nexus phone later in the year and that’s what we down. Sort of. In early September, Google surprisingly confirmed a brand new Android update thought it wasn’t called Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. Instead, it was Android 4.4 KitKat.
At the time, Google released very few details about the Android 4.4 KitKat update. No release date, no features, no details about which devices would be getting the software. And as the weeks went on, so did the rumors, rumors that eventually led to a frenzy of leaks in the build up to the Nexus 5 launch. Last week, Google finally announced the Nexus 5 and with it, the Android 4.4 KitKat update, an update that is an incremental upgrade from Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.
The software will be coming with an assortment of new features including a new immersive mode, a brand new dialer, and an update to Google Hangouts amongst other features. It’s not a massive upgrade but it’s still going to be one that should improve the overall Android experience.
Android 4.4 KitKat is out on the Nexus 5 but it still hasn’t rolled out to the three Nexus devices that Google confirmed as Android 4.4 worthy last week. The Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 will be getting Android 4.4 KitKat this year, it’s just a matter of when.
Ahead of the roll outs, we take a look at the most important things that Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 owners need to know about the upcoming Android 4.4 KitKat update.
Update Very, Very Soon
Google didn’t roll out the Android 4.4 KitKat update for its Nexus devices last week and it didn’t supply owners with a specific release date. Instead, it said that it would be rolling out the software soon. As many Android owners know, “soon” doesn’t always translate to quick. In this case though, we believe that Google is telling the truth.
The first, maybe and only clue that Nexus owners need to hone in on is the fact that the HTC One Google Edition is going to get updated to Android 4.4 KitKat within 15 days from the software’s official launch. That means, that at the best, it will be out this week, at worst, it will be out next week. We don’t see this device trumping Google’s Nexus devices when it comes to speed, so, we expect the Nexus 4, Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 to get the software within the next week, week and a half.
Roll Outs Close to Each Other
In the past, Google has rolled out its Nexus software updates on or around the same dates so we expect that these three roll outs will roll out in close proximity to one another. Just how close, we can’t be sure, but at the very best, it will likely be minutes or hours, at the worst, within a few days of each other.
Google won’t confirm a date ahead of time and will instead roll out the software when it’s ready to roll out the software. That means that if we don’t see all three updates on the same day, there likely won’t be any official word on when the other two will roll out. Something to keep in mind as we get closer to the release of Android 4.4.
Slow Roll Out
That said, even if all three updates roll out on the same day, the software won’t come to all Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 owners. Google follows a pattern when it comes to releasing Android software and that pattern plays out like this. The company announces an update, it rolls out the update, and then it completes the update process several days after it first rolls out.
So, while some Nexus 4, Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 owners will see the software prompt on the first day of availability, others could be waiting for as long as a week or more for the software to arrive. We’ve seen some anomalies in the past where consumers didn’t get an upgrade for two weeks or so but we don’t expect that to happen with Android 4.4 KitKat.
Yes, the Android 4.4 KitKat update is close for some people, but our week-to-week and a half timeline doesn’t apply to everyone. Google selects devices at random too so there is no way to predict who will get the update first or last.
Nexus 4, Nexus 7 Updates Available Now, Sort Of
Those who want a taste of the Nexus 7 and Nexus 4 Android 4.4 KitKat updates early can do so thanks to resourceful ROM developers who have created software based on the upcoming Android 4.4 KitKat updates. These are not official upgrades and we don’t recommend the software to novice users but those who are accustomed to installing ROMs should be able to the software and many of its features on board in no time.
Those who have no experience installing ROMs will simply want to wait for the OTA update, get that on board, and then look into how to install official software ahead the next major Android update.
Start Preparing for Issues
These are Nexus devices and thus, they are on the front lines of the war against software issues. Those unfamiliar with the history of the Nexus program might know about all of the good things associated with Nexus software (quick updates, unlocked bootloaders, vanilla Android) but there is also a darker side to it all.
Nexus devices typically encounter a bunch of issues with new software. We saw Android 4.2 and Android 4.3 wreck havoc on many Nexus devices including the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 and many of those bugs still linger months later. While there is the potential for Android 4.4 KitKat to fix these problems, there is also a possibility that the software could bring issues of its own. While we can’t name any in particular just yet, we wouldn’t be surprised to see applications break.
Know this. There will likely be bugs on board and thus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 owners will want to seek out a great place for bug discussion and help. The more prepared a user is, the better.
Nexus 10 Update Could Be Missing Something
Nexus 10 owners may be missing a small feature when Android 4.4 KitKat arrives. According to a user on XDA-Developers, the Nexus 10’s Android 4.4.1 update will not come with translucent navigation and notification bars, something that allows users with the Nexus 5 to get a full screen look at the wallpaper. Obviously, this isn’t a big feature but it could be annoying to some.
It’s possible that things could change between now and the release date, Google is probably still testing the software, but at this point, Nexus 10 owners will want to know that there is a possibility that this feature could be missing when Android 4.4 KitKat arrives.