Last month, Google announced its newest dessert-themed mobile Android OS—KitKat 4.4—but not a whole lot about it. The “K” in Android’s mobile OS alphabet came with a clever bit of cross-branding though, as Google partnered with Nestlé to turn a sugary sounding operating system into an actual candy promotion.
(More on KitKat’s rollout: Android 4.4 KitKat revealed)
From an Android mascot made of KitKats outside Google headquarters, to KitKats with wrappers featuring the Android logo, alien-shaped candy and some not-so-subtle parody of Apple advertising, KitKat started with a bang. Now that bits and pieces of information are beginning to trickle out about the mobile OS, we can start to decide whether the software matches the hype.
Here’s what we know so far:
• October release date: Nestlé inadvertently confirmed an October release on Nestlé Germany’s KitKat Facebook wall. is reporting that developers at the Google Launchpad Conference let the date slip: Oct. 15. That date is still up in the air, though, as the release could come anywhere between today and Halloween.
• Nexus 5:
The Nexus 5 will be Google’s first device running KitKat. A leaked LG service manual
tells us everything we need to know about the not-so-secret smartphone, from its display, storage and processor, to RAM and battery life. If hardware’s your thing, click the link and go nuts.
• Bundled apps: Gadget Helpline
seemingly got their hands on an unfinished copy of KitKat, and among the things they found were a few Google productivity apps like Keep, Drive and Quickoffice bundled into a more prominent place in the OS.
• Default SMS text apps:
Google recently revealed
a new concept of default SMS apps selected in settings, making existing APIs public to avoid the hidden APIs used by many Android developers in past OSs. KitKat is also rumored to have a Google Hangouts app with texting capability, so it stands to reason the Hangouts app will be set as default at release.
• New features: Two new features, also courtesy of the Gadget Helpline leaks, are a native Android printing option and a built-in NFC payment option to bypass third-party apps. KitKat may also have a Miracast-based feature to wirelessly stream HD video, as well as built-in photo-editing options like tilt-shift and center focus.
• A new UI:
KitKat’s UI is getting a facelift, with a new Holo Light background color
from Android Police also giving an idea of how Google is trying to streamline its system, adding two option icons in the action bar to toggle and preview download items.
• KitKat is an update, not an overhaul:
Thanks to the massive leaks springing all over the place, the preemptive consensus on KitKat is a positive but not overwhelming one. It’s smoother, faster and more polished, with some useful new features. But the most revolutionary feature of KitKat seems to be its marketing strategy.
Android can’t reinvent the wheel with every new mobile OS; they’ve still got more than half the alphabet left to go.