The Android 4.4.4 KitKat update for the Nexus 7 arrived earlier this week as a small update on the Nexus 7, and it will roll out soon to the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 with a variety of bug fixes and security updates. The Android 4.4.4 release arrives just weeks after the Android 4.4.3 update arrived on many Nexus devices.
This small Android 4.4.4 update does not add any new features to the Nexus 7. Instead the 2.4MB update includes a note explaining it improves performance, security, stability and fixes bugs. Although there are no specific fixes, it may solve some of the Android 4.4.3 problems.
After using the Nexus 7 Android 4.4.4 KitKat update for the last several days, the test device is not experiencing any Android 4.4.4 problems that are impacting some users on the latest version of Android.
Google previewed a new Android L release today, but the Android 4.4.4 update is one that many users will need to live with for the next several months.
After spending time with Android 4.4.3 and Android 4.4.4 on the Nexus 7, this is a review of how these updates perform.
Android 4.4.4 Installation
Installing Android 4.4.4 on the Nexus 7 is easy and went exactly as expected. Make sure your device has about 50% battery life and a WiFi connection and the update should download in less than a minute and install in about 10. I did not run into any reboots or other odd issues installing the OTA Android 4.4.4 update.
Android 4.4.4 Features
The Android 4.4.4 KitKat update does not add any major features to the Nexus 7. Google added several features to the nexus 5 Android 4.4.3 update including a fix for the camera drain issue and some other changes. The People app is updated to show a colored initial, like in Gmail, when a contact photo is not available. In this update the focus is on performance and fixes.
Android 4.4.4 Performance
The Android 4.4.4 update is a very small one, focused on fixing problems, but even small updates can add issues to an otherwise stable device. There is a growing list of Android 4.4.4 problems on message boards and social media, which is why we check various aspects of the performance in this review.
After installing Android 4.4.4 the Nexus 7 performed as expected when running music, video and gaming apps. The apps launched, played music and movies, and in the case of gaming allowed for a full game session without crashes.
While a small update can impact some Android apps, it does not appear that there are any major issues with this update and Android app compatibility.
Battery life is another area that can suffer after even the smallest update. After installing Android 4.4.4 on the Nexus 7 battery life remains where it was on Android 4.4.3 and on 4.4.2 before that. The Nexus 7 battery life lasts a through multiple movies or extended use of web browsing. The standby time is also impressive. One problem that often impacts Nexus tablets is quick battery drain on Standby, but that is not an issue on Android 4.4.4.
This is a WiFi only Nexus 7, but the Nexus 7 LTE Android 4.4.3 update is rolling out now for other users with some of the fixes and features. On this device the WiFi worked well on multiple networks and Bluetooth is also functioning as expected.
The Nexus 7 is fast and responsive with Android 4.4.4 installed. On other devices, like the Galaxy S4, small updates can cause lag and other issues. There is no slowdown on the Nexus 7 running Android 4.4.4, even with many apps installed and this being one of many updates since a clean installation or factory reset.
Should You Install Android 4.4.4 KitKat?
The Android 4.4.4 update is a small one that fixes several Android 4.4.3 problems and earlier issues. After spending time on Android 4.4.3 and Android 4.4.4 this update is one that most user should feel comfortable installing. Google’s rapid update shows the company is trying to fix issues on nexus devices quickly.
Attention may shift to the Android L Release that is coming later this year. This may mean a longer wait or less chance of an Android 4.4.5 update for the nexus 5 in the coming weeks or months.
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