It’s finally here. After weeks of faux countdowns, cryptic teasers, leak after leak and mass speculation, Android KitKat 4.4 and the new Nexus 5 came out to play on Halloween.
Looks like that “E.T.” photo from Monday was finally a teaser with some truth behind it.
KitKat comes standard on the Nexus 5, available today on Google Play, and soon on the Nexus 4, 7, 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4, and the HTC One Google Play edition in the next few weeks.
Released with the tagline to reach “the next billion Android users,” KitKat puts the intuitive recommendation engine called Google Now front and center, built in on the home screen to ask for directions, initiate a voice search, send a text, and much more. KitKat’s new immersive mode hides everything except the app you’re in with one swipe.
The newest OS in Android’s sugary sequence also has faster multitasking, optimized memory, a new Hangouts app that bundles all messages, and a laundry list of other features to be found on KitKat’s sleek product launch page.
There are also scores of new developer features, including new NFC capabilities through Host Card emulation, printing and storage access frameworks, translucent system UI styling, and a slew of new APIs.
While many of KitKat’s new features had already been leaked, the OS finally matches its endless cross-promoted marketing hype with a bold vision: to extend Android to wearable technology and Smart TVs through KitKat, according to Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps.