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Images Reportedly Show Android 4.4 “Kit Kat” UI Changes – New Dialer, Messaging, and More?

android 4.4 kit kat

Yesterday, the images we have included in this post were sent to 9to5Google as a potential first look at Android 4.4Kit Kat.” Are they real or are they fake? That’s the big question on the tech media’s mind right now. The images show a familiar wallpaper, newly redesigned flat icons, and new UIs for both the dialer and messaging application. So are they the real deal? I don’t think anyone really knows. They could be a brilliant troll job or they could be an early enough look at Kit Kat that shows all sorts of inconsistencies for Google to tidy up before launch. 

If we first take a look at the home screen picture (top left), you’ll see a wallpaper that is by no means new, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we should discount it. We have seen Google stick with Nexus wallpapers for extended periods of time, only adding on a couple of new ones from release to release. So by this person showing an old wallpaper, we can’t necessarily say if these are fake or not.

flat kit kat icons

This screen also shows newly redesigned flat icons that lack the shadowing of the current Google icon set. With Google’s recent rebranding to a flattened “Google” logo, this move actually makes some sense if they want to remain consistent across the company. I also checked around at a variety of icon packs in the wild, and couldn’t come up with one that matches this look. The closest is Holo, but the Music, Chrome, Dialer, Messaging, and Hangouts icons are all slightly different and not exact matches.

red icons

The third part to this first screen is where things get a bit wonky. You’ll notice that the notification icons for WiFi, signal strength, and battery are all red. Now, there is a rumor circulating which suggests that Google will make notification bar colors customizable, but we’re not understanding why only those three icons would change and not the clock or random “K” debug icon. Unless of course that isn’t a debug icon? Tough to tell.

If we look at the “About screen” image, you’ll see a listing of Android 4.4, a 3.4 kernel built on August 30, and a build number for Android of KWS62B. Does that all look legit? Since I won’t claim to be a kernel guru, it could very well be, but it’s also information that could easily be faked. I’ve seen some suggest the kernel should be newer since this is Android 4.4, but that’s up for you to decide. Moving on.

android 4.4 kit kat

In these two images, we’re looking at what could potentially be a brand new Dialer UI along with a revamped Messaging app. If we start with the Dialer, I’ll just say this – it looks beautiful. Please be real. You have the three tabs up top for dialer, history, and contacts, just like you do with the current stock Android Dialer. Obviously, the color scheme has changed with more blue and white, and far less black. In fact, it matches up nicely with the current People app, which carries a similar style. The search, dial, and action overflow menus are placed exactly as they are now.

The only odd piece here is the notification area once again. All of the icons are back to a white color scheme, but the notification bar is now semi-transparent so that you can see partial blue shining through from the Dialer app. That’s a cool effect and all, but why wasn’t the notification bar transparent on the home screen as well, or in the revamped Messaging app sitting next to it? Or maybe it’s not transparent and it’s simply a dark blue to match the blue from the app? Impossible to tell from this photo.

notif bars

And speaking of the Messaging app, this could also potentially be its new UI. The icon in the middle is of Mr. Jingles, who became famous on Google+ as the notification icon. Since we are seeing Google make a massive push for G+ and to create some sort of cross-platform messaging system with Hangouts and G+ Messenger and Google Voice, this isn’t at all surprising to see Mr. Jingles here. With that said, why aren’t we eliminating the messaging app and just going with Hangouts at this point? Maybe Hangouts isn’t ready to be a stand-alone messaging service just yet? Or maybe it never will be? The app does look great, though, since the stock Android Messaging app has been horrendous for years and in dire need of a makeover.

The only other question here again, as I just mentioned, is the notification bar. In the Dialer image, we may have a transparent notification bar which shows the blue shining through, yet in this app, the notification bar has simply changed to a solid green to match the color scheme of the messaging app. Hello, inconsistency? Oh, the bottom navigation bar also looks transparent (at least to me) in the messaging app, but not anywhere else.

In the end, I just don’t know what to think. I really like what I’m seeing, that’s for sure – it’s just impossible to tell if any of this is real or not. Google has never been the king of consistency in anything they do, so to see inconsistent UI issues from one app to the next is not surprising at all. We also have seen decent UI changes whenever Google decides to rename a new version of Android. The changes from Froyo to Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich were all intense, with the jump from ICS to Jelly Bean more of a polishing. If Kit Kat looks like these images, this would fall more in line with a polishing.

Then again, in terms of looking at this as a leak, why were these pictures taken at such random times? For example, one photo was taken at 13:37 (1:30PM), but then we have two taken minutes apart at 01:55 and 01:57, with the last taken at 02:10. If this leak came from the same person, why not take them all at the same time? Was this a late night troll PhotoShopping-mock-up party that took hours to complete or am I looking too deep into that?

You guys tell me. Do you like what you see? Is it all fake?

These images were also sent to Android Police who believe they are fake.

Via:  9to5Google

Cheers David, Kidtronic, thedonxr, and Justin!

  • zurginator

    Damn it, why did they have to change the WiFi/Cell icons? I really liked how simple those were (and that the angles matched up).

    As for the homescreen icons, it’s a bit strange. The Phone is still 3D (flat colors), and the rest are actually flat. Some consistency there would be nice (then again… icon packs).

  • Peter Mansour

    still no battery percentage..

  • Justin Halcomb

    This great/bad if Google goes with this flatter look in its icons and UI. Google is trying to get more mainstream but just think of all those 3rd party apps whose icons are not updated to the new look mainly because the developer hasn’t updated their icons yet are simply because developers don’t want to update their apps. (Unlike that other company that has a multitude of developers updating their apps ON THE NIGHT BEFORE the update is released. The power and popularity of some companies…

  • Guy Pierce

    Give me a break!
    I know… Overdone!

  • Guest

    Give me a break!

    I know… Overdone…

  • chris420o

    meh…that is all

  • RWW

    I guess I’m the only one who thinks this trendy shift towards flat icons is completely ugly? I’d like to keep my 3D-ish icons, thank you! Apple flubs with iOS7 stylistically, and not Google is going to follow them down the path? Ugh.

  • DJ SPY

    Take out the text messaging app all together? That’s one if the most idiotic things I’ve heard. I’ve yet to meet someone who uses hangouts instead of text messages.

    • chris420o

      they mean by adding mss/sms to hangouts…dope

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    I don’t like the flat look. I like icons with depth

  • http://www.mattclough.com Matt Clough

    Inconsistent colors are besides the point. They’re just design choices. The dialer has a blue tab bar at the top so to be consistent, the notification bar would either have to be the same color, or a different color, which would be a lot of colors. So then the decision is, does the notification bar have to stand out as a separate entity, and in this case the person decided, “yes” so they just made it a transparent black. The messages app is decidedly a black on white scheme, presumably for legibility (way better than the dark background with colored bubbles), so in this case, the notifications bar matches the green accent color and frames the white space of the app.

    Also the dialer is pretty consistent with the new Google wallet pin entry. One subtle thing I notice is that the WiFi icon is narrower than usual. ?

    • http://www.mattclough.com Matt Clough

      Woah, just kidding. The Google Wallet pin entry is a tad different. It looks nice though and has gone all white as well.

  • G_Romero

    This does nothing for me… I like it better than iOS7 at least, but I’m more hopeful for some new features!

  • wel809

    flat icons make android look so much better.

  • morpheus282

    It doesn’t matter if I like it or not. I have a GNex on Verizon and an unlimited data plan. I won’t see 4.2 for at least a year after it’s released.

    • Tim242

      If you have a Nexus and wait for OTA’s, then you haveno reason to complain.

      • morpheus282

        Perhaps I should be more clear, I won’t see a plain vanilla 4.2 for at least a year. I’m sure that a ROM chef will cook up something before then but the point I was trying to make is that I won’t be upgrading to a new phone anytime soon and the GNex on Verizon has been neglected for everything from OS updates and accessories from the first month of launch.

        • Tim242

          Are you meaning 4.4? 4.2 ROM’s have been out for quite a while.

          • morpheus282

            Crap, I need more sleep. I am referring to 4.4, I’ve been running 4.2.2 for some time now.

          • AHoL2206

            there are vanilla ROMS for GNEX almost immediately after android releases, what are you smoking Morpheus?

    • chris420o

      yeah…you shouldnt have a nexus then…go get a good phone then if you want to complain about new android without a rom

    • David Nguyen

      are you serious? gnex users on verizon is already on 4.3. where have you been?

  • ConCal

    If this I true, I’m pissed they haven’t unifided SMS and Hangouts! These the only thing I really cared about. Oh well…

  • ConCal

    I want a theme manager, not a color shifting status bar. Wtf.

  • Jose Roman

    For God sake, androidpolice web page said the pictures are a bunch of fake, Google has kept android as a top secret OS, everybody are speculating bringing rumors and rumors and nothing in concrete. Like KLP was a rumor until Google spit it out the kit Kate 4.4 OS, let’s wait to October or November to see what android bring us down

    • Chris

      *google

    • Chris

      You have to realize they did not say it was fake. They said they THINK they are fake, but can’t know for sure.

  • Matthew Ponce de Leon

    Make the status bar and soft buttons transparent on the homescreen and count me in!

  • Michael Lierman

    Looks likes Paranoid Android ROM in the last two shots. Seems fake to me.

    • martin carlosena

      This is def fake, if you look at other leaks the wifi icon is different. I dont get how people believe this could be real, its hideous lol

  • Marcos Reves

    About this:

    “You’ll notice that the notification icons for WiFi, signal strength, and battery are all red. Now, there is a rumor circulating which suggests that Google will make notification bar colors customizable, but we’re not understanding why only those three icons would change and not the clock or random “K” debug icon.”

    Those 3 icons are not red just because. They are hollow, and you see them red because the wallpaper behind them is red in that place. I’m pretty sure about that because the red in the icons is exactly the same that you see in the wallpaper.

    It makes sense that the time is white and not hollow, so that way you can easily watch the time. And I think the same goes to the debug icon: it’s done that way so you can tell inmediately when an app is open and working in the background.

    Hollow icons are a clever way of customization, it’s more user friendly.

  • samosa king

    me too.

  • Russ

    The top bar in iOS 7 changes color to match the app you’re in, and this looks like that. It’s actually a really nice effect, and seems to be set by the dev so it is the same and looks great. The bar just blends in with the app’s nav bar. I kind of hope Google doesn’t do it the same way though, at the risk of looking like a copycat. Personally I’d love to see the black notification bar with colored battery and signal icons based on the app. Would make for matching colors, but be a little different from how Apple does it.

  • Skittlez

    just hoping AOSP ROM comes to the G2 soon!

  • Tyler Casilio

    I think this is 100% Real

  • Stephen Parker

    I definitely dig the dialer. Kinda hope it’s for real.

  • shabs

    dialer is blue,message is green. youtube is red and keep is yellow! Google color. now that make sense :)

    • Larizard

      except..
      hangouts is also green
      drive is yellow, green, and blue
      chrome is yellow, green, blue, and red
      docs is blue
      search is blue

      I can go on.. but it’s not a 1:1 color-to-app ratio.

  • AD4

    If this is it, I love it.

  • hatboysam

    As far as the notification bar, I bet Google is letting app developers choose the color (with the old black/grey being the default until people update). Messaging chose green, dialer chose blue etc. It would actually be a cool move for apps that don’t need the screen real estate the justify hiding the bar but want to make a more “immersive” experience.

  • Kyle Cordiano

    I’d like some new widgets and wall papers.

  • Chris

    As an android AND iOS user, (I know, shocking. /s) I do like both interfaces. Granted I still like Sense. any interface will be far from perfect, its still nice top see some changes thats more then 6 years apart.

  • Inquizitor

    Kellex, they’re not inconsistent. The blue status bar in the dialer app appears to just be a darker blue, NOT transparent. For one thing, I know from enough playing around with ParanoidAndroid’s theme engine that making the bar transparent just makes it a darker black, it won’t pick up the color of the action bar because it’s below, not behind, the status bar. So it’s a blue to match the color scheme, just like the status bar is green in the messaging app for that screen. It seems they’re going to adopt coloring per-app, much like iOS did in iOS 6 and 7. This looks great, IMO. I think they made the blue darker than the tabs in the dialer app is just to show a contrast between the app and the status bar, otherwise it can kind of get lost (look at some iOS 7 apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Evernote for examples).

    Also, the navigation bar in the home screen picture is TOTALLY transparent. It’s slight, but you can definitely see the wallpaper. Another big improvement, IMO.

    • Chris

      Color matching status bars are a plus imo. but you are right regarding the facebook app on iOS. I have it on my iPad and it blends in with the status bar.

      • Inquizitor

        If there were even a 1px black line separating the app from the status bar, then I think exact color-matching would work better. There was a phase where I tried hard to color-match everything in my PA ROM, but it made things look a little weird. Also it wouldn’t work with Google Play Music or Books, which frustrated me to no end.

  • Austin_tacious

    I don’t care about white being “too iOS 7.” Its just white and helps things look flat & minimal. What I don’t like about it is its garish & blinding in the dark & uses a lot more power.

    Also, this just doesn’t FEEL like like the real deal to me. There are a lot of inconsistencies, as you mentioned, and Kit Kat is supposed to release sometime next month. I don’t know, maybe a lot of things could need working out in the next couple of weeks.

    • Chris

      or maybe this isn’t real at all.they are actual photos taken with a camera not screenshots.

  • n11

    I hope they add some new wallpapers to the mix. Showing the battery percentage would be AWESOME. And the stock messenger sucks mainly due to lack of options. Much like stock email, yet oddly enough its the one I use.

    • Brian Utne

      I still cannot fathom any reason why Google can’t simply change that useless battery icon in to a numerical percentage.. =/

  • Jordan

    hate that dialer!

  • Trevor Zephil

    Watch all the sheep claim KitKat is copying iOS7.

    • Bryan K

      iOS dev here. I don’t think that. Hopefully other people don’t either. There really are very few similarities between iOS 7 and this.

  • Ronald Ramsay II

    IF these pics are a legit leak, then it looks like Google is going in the direction of a Google Now-esque kind of look. Also IF these pics are legit and the rumor may be right about customizing the statusbar icons, I’m glad they’ll be allowing more customizations, even without the need of root…although I’d be rooting anyways lol.

  • http://droidcellphone.com/ Why Android

    Who knows really. Android 4.4 is available to developers.

  • samosa king

    It’s highly likely to be a Paranoid Android rom installed on a Nexus 4 with also a theme installed over it.

  • HarvesterX

    Give me a break… break me off a piece of that Kit Kat (soft)ware. Man, that sounds horrible when typed out. :-P

    Just as a Unified Theory to explain the entire universe has eluded mankind (which may have been answered with M-Theory, but we can’t ever actually test it), a unified application linking the Messenger app and Hangouts/G+ has eluded us!

    The new Dialer and Messenger UIs has me believing in these images. I’ve heard from MANY sources as well that the color scheme will be customizable (maybe you can change the colors for individual elements such as turning everything red but leaving the clock and notifications white for example, or maybe they tied the clock color into the notifications?) and if so, then the transparency may be customizable as well. That’s all I can believe if I choose to accept these photos because I seriously doubt that in the final release the status bar won’t be consistent in transparency across apps. Considering that this is still in development, they may still be wondering whether or not to make the status bar transparent or not. There are just too many possibilities.

    • Inquizitor

      They won’t allow customization beyond the homescreen. For other apps, it’ll be up to the developer to coordinate the coloring and transparency. You can’t possibly expect a PA-like too that lets the user set color and transparency for every app. And they won’t make the status bar transparent (if so, only slightly and locked into place). They don’t want to risk people making it too transparent and not seeing notifications.

      • Chris

        and its Android – in 2013/2014. not myspace of 2004.,

    • Chris

      Well its better then the actual kit kat ads with the annoying snap snap crunch crunch.

      I think that maybe too much customization. You maybe right, but it seems to be customzation will be more in line with an over all theme (light. dark etc) The whole customizing everything seems to be like the old Windows 98 plus! pack where you had like 15 themes and you could customize everything down to the font colors. Good times.

  • JRUIV

    The button panel on the home screen was transparent as well. I’m such a homer. I’ll love whatever they put out .

  • StankyChikin

    Mr. Jingles must pay for his sins.

  • Shamu

    I love you Mr. Jingles!

  • grumpyfuzz

    I like everything being black, white is too iOS 7 like and I hate that. Also, I like the blue color scheme it has currently.

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      ios 7 is too much like us. We’ve been going white on white grey since the play store makeover.

      • Chris

        The new play store is hideous

        and actully the apple app store is white on white. Same with the iTunes store, expect in the Tv shows and movies tab where its black.

      • Ronald Ramsay II

        Agreed, Android did it first. Google has released apps that demonstrate what I hope is the future look of their OS. Ex: Google Now for starters. Then the minimal look of Google+ and even Hangouts. I like it and hope they keep it up, and have it consistently flow throughout the UI

  • bboyairwreck

    I DONT GET IT!? Why has Google still not unified SMS & Hangouts? Gah I really hope they do this soon. KitKat is starting to look cartoony like GoSMS. iOS7 inspired? idk if i agree with that. the general Tech designs always seems to give n take.

    • UncleFan

      “Why has Google still not unified SMS & Hangouts?”

      Because Google lives in a Silicon Valley bubble and thinks SMS is dead and hardly anyone uses it anymore. Google also thinks that everyone has unlimited smartphone data plans and great wireless coverage everywhere. This is what happens when spoiled geeks spend all day rolling around on Segways and taking power naps in their space pods… these guys have no clue how people use technology in the real world.

      • Adrynalyne

        Sounds like most companies.

        • cocoman135

          being an android fan i have to admit apple sort of gets how people use their tech. FOOD PORN!!!!! AND SELFIES

      • Chris

        Google just wants everyone to use google + to communicate. Most of the world still texts, uses facebook, e-mails, calls each othe or meets in person.

      • Frettfreak

        OMG.. funniest comment in a long time right there!!

      • michael arazan

        Most people at Google ride bicycles around campus and a few use electric carts. I never saw a segway on the Google campus, I’m sure there may be a few.

      • Anon

        I highly doubt Google thinks SMS is dead considering the fact that texting is more widely used than calling now. Like Chris said, Google is attempting to get everyone to use G+ now.

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      I’m guessing they kept hangouts for a video chatting platform while linking G+ to sms. And now the apps talk to eachother. Facetime is a separate app from imessage.

      • Chris Hannan

        But iMessage is the same app as SMS.

    • Boaz Thomassie

      They would love to do that! I think it has to do with the FCC rules/regulations.

      • Aaron

        Nah, that can’t be it. Apple’s messaging app can send and receive texts via mobile data and wifi. I know this because the guys I work with like to use it as an example of the superiority of their iPhone compared to my Android.

    • http://www.freshbrands.co.uk/ London Media Agency

      But I’m pretty sure Google IS unifying SMS and Hangouts in KitKat… That’s what the second picture shows… It clearly says: “Text a friend” in the second picture which is of hangouts.

      • helloDROOOIIIDD

        Naw that is the Messaging App. Not in hangouts. The app name is in the title. But yes, i do hope they do it in KitKat none the less

        • http://www.freshbrands.co.uk/ London Media Agency

          Oh yeah – ok, true. It’s messages. Looked like hangouts. I have seen rumours on a couple of tech sites that SMS is coming to hangouts though in 4.4… fingers crossed

    • John

      I don’t get it… why you want sms and hangouts to be unified? I prever them to be separate… there is many countries that still charge you for sms and don’t gave a packet like the internet packet

  • Richard Colon

    I say they are real but def super Alpha

  • http://andymerskin.com/ Andy Merskin

    I’m *really* digging the new look. Especially the context-sensitive notification bar colors.

  • Guest

    I like the dialer app now, and also the blue color scheme. Grey just doesn’t fit it for me.

  • Brian Utne

    They should make it an option to keep everything black instead of turning it white :( I like my blacked out messaging app…lol

    • http://andymerskin.com/ Andy Merskin

      Huzzah for custom ROMs!

      • Brian Utne

        Yep! That’s why I love “DARK” AOKP,

        • http://andymerskin.com/ Andy Merskin

          Totally not trying to be a troll, but iOS 7 only wishes its white interface could be so dark.

          • Brian Utne

            Uh. Kay.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      I wish they would built in both dark and light themes to all apps. Devs do it all the time, I don’t know why Google couldn’t.

      • Inquizitor

        Because Google wants things consistent for their users. Introducing theming options on the system level is simple enough to understand. But having different settings for each individual app makes things confusing, quickly. They always want to develop for the lowest common denominator, and know that those who care enough can do it themselves. It’s not that they don’t care, it’s just practical.

        • michael arazan

          Exactly, and the cards system is all white with no change in sight, and they want to adapt the cards system into everything it seems.
          I would love to customize the colors, can’t be that hard since a lot of apps allow you to do it.

          • Inquizitor

            What are you talking about? Did you read my post? That will never happen. Use theming apps and ROMs if you want that, Google won’t provide you beyond a basic color choice for the homescreen.

      • Chris

        Slacker with the dark theme….

    • thePhysicist8

      I definitely prefer the dialer as is. The new one just doen’t have that modern android feel.

      • Brian Utne

        Same. They’re trying to change something that is already great. I can think of another company that did that recently..(Not saying iOS is great, but you know what I mean :P )

        • Inquizitor

          What are you two talking about? The current one is one of the oldest-looking stock apps in Android. It still looks like an Ice Cream Sandwich or Honeycomb app, nothing but neon blue and black. We’ve moved past that into an era of softer whites and grays contrasting against strong-colored action bars and accents. This is the most modern the app has ever looked.

          • Brian Utne

            Doesn’t mean you have to like it..which is what makes Android awesome. You can change something if you don’t like it. I prefer darker colors, it’s easier on my eyes. If you like lighter colors, that’s great. Keep them when they arrive :)

          • Guest

            I respect that answer, but I was more taken aback by @516b46eebba36abef6d3d7789fd12812:disqus’s comment that it “doesn’t have that modern android feel”. That’s just false, unless his definition of “modern android feel” is how it felt two years ago.

          • Inquizitor

            I respect that answer, but I was more taken aback by @516b46eebba36abef6d3d7789fd12812:disqus comment that it “doesn’t have that modern android feel”. That’s just false, unless his definition of “modern android feel” is how it felt two years ago.

          • Brian Utne

            Well, it hasn’t changed in a while, so I guess that’s what he could be talking about. But yeah, I’m always ready to accept change, and if I don’t like it, I’ll just change it back. I can already tell I won’t like it though because it’s bright-colored. =/

          • jbdan

            Amen. Please let kit kat dump the dated cyan’ish blue!

          • sk3litor

            I understand making a uniform look for Android but letting people change colors for anything and everything should be standard in Android. I just want a white status bar with red icons. Is that so much to ask?

          • Frettfreak

            1000% agree!! Its getting pretty long in the face! Time for a face lift!

          • grumpyfuzz

            The dialer is one of the oldest looking apps in Android, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Personally I like the look it has, and you would like it to look more modern. It all comes down to preference, I guess.

    • StuckOnVerizonForever

      That dialer looks very cartoonish

  • Garrett Kramer

    They look nice though!

  • Kunal

    I support the new dialer look. It’s about time it was redesigned. Too bad it’ll be skinned over by every manufacturer.

    (I believe in Mr. Jingles! It has to be true.)

    • SamBoy

      No thats a good thing because what I just saw was horrible and I’d like the choice of something else.

  • samosa king

    maybe i’ll use this one more time to express how i feel to this blog post.

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