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Confidential Android 4.4 KitKat File Reveals New Features

by Todd Haselton | October 31, 2013October 31, 2013 7:30 am PDT

Android KitKat - Red Mascot, KitKat Helmet

Android 4.4 KitKat and the Nexus 5 are so near we can almost taste them. Thanks to some leaked iamges we already know that Android 4.4 KitKat will probably offer some user interface changes and ship with new features, such as Hangouts with SMS integration. However, Amir Efrati, a reporter at former Wall Street Journal editor Jessica Lessin’s site says he has obtained a leaked document from Google that details some of the lesser known features of Android 4.4 KitKat. So what can we expect?

Google hopes to continue to kill off Android fragmentation with KitKat, and apparently designed it so that it can run well on both high-end and entry-level smartphones, which means a device won’t be prevented from running KitKat just because it doesn’t have the latest and greatest processor or boatloads of RAM.

Efrati also discovered that Google wants KitKat to be extremely friendly for wearable devices, such as smartwatches. “KitKat is expected to support three new types of sensors: geomagnetic rotation vector, step detector and step counter,” Efrati said. That feature would require either a smartphone or some sort of  wearable with those sensors, though we’ve already seen similar sensors in devices from Samsung and others, so we expect the trend to continue.

Apparently Google also wants to boost the use of NFC and try its hand at mobile payments again. One feature inside KitKat can reportedly “emulate” payment and reward cards, so maybe Google is going to try to push Google Wallet, or a similar service, all over again. Speaking of connectivity, Google is adding “support for something called Bluetooth HID over GATT and Bluetooth message Access Profile,” Efrati said, which is apparently in an effort to spur adoption of new Bluetooth accessories and forms of communication among Android devices.

KitKat will also apparently put a focus on infrared TV sensors, the kind found in Samsung’s new Galaxy devices, some of LG’s new smartphones and the HTC One. Those phones already allow us to change channels on our TVs, adjust the volume and more, but Google wants ” a standard way for all apps to tell the Android device to activate the blasters,” Efrati explained. Oddly, we’ve seen no indication of this support on the Nexus 5.

Google is expected to unveil the Nexus 5, and in-turn Android 4.4 KitKat, either today or tomorrow. We hope the company provides a much deeper dive into these features at that time.

Jessica Lessin

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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