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Android 4.4 KitKat: An only slightly better Android

Florence Ion | Nov. 8, 2013
Google tried to make the design of the Android 4.4 KitKat more consumer-friendly but there are still flaws to it.

It's the little things
I've always appreciated Android's little things—the minor enhancements that you don't normally read about in an advertising campaign, and the things you don't realize are there until you start digging for them.

Just as was rumored, Google integrated its Cloud Print services directly into the Android operating system. You can now access the printer settings from the Settings panel and print documents to any cloud-enabled printer. You can also use Google Cloud Print to save a document to Google Drive.

Then, there is the Tap & Pay feature, which works with the Google Wallet app and lets you do things like pay for groceries where NFC is supported. It is also available from the Settings panel, though you don't actually set anything up within that screen, but in the seperate Wallet application.

Frequent readers will also appreciate that Google now offers the ability for some of its applications to run in full-screen mode. The next time you're engrossed in a new novel, your mother's text messages won't distract you.

Google also improved the step detector and step counter platform within KitKat, though you won't really notice the benefits until third-party developers start implementing it into their applications.

KitKat is pretty good 
From its list of features, KitKat sounds tasty, and Android 4.4 is certainly a step in the right direction. Its interface is bright and inviting and the newly added secondary features like Cloud Print integration and a new Dialer application should help make stock Android even more consumer friendly. You also have top-level access to Google+ and Google Now, so there's no excuse not to take advantage of Google's most hottest features.

A lot of popular phones will get upgraded to KitKat in the next couple months, though Google has stated that the voice-activated search and some Home screen features will remain exclusive to the Nexus 5 for now. Hopefully by the time KitKat makes its way to your device, Google will have tied up some the loose ends—adopting the new design in all of its core apps and consolidating the myriad of new settings. Or, it can continue to torture us like it did with Jelly Bean by making only incremental changes to the entire Android package with each release, spacing out core app updates by months.


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