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Video: Android 4.4 Kit Kat Overview and Tour

ANDROID 4.4 NEXUS 4

With Android 4.4 Kit Kat now in AOSP, the ROMs are flowing out to devices. We booted up a 4.4 build on our Nexus 4 early this morning and have now put together a tour of some of the big changes. We had initially thought that Kit Kat wouldn’t be the massive overhaul we were hoping, but it turns out that it is somewhere in between. We’ve got a new launcher, better Google Now integration, new dialer, and some other apps, but a lot of the rest is fine-tuning and polishing. It’s a great update that you all need to try as soon as you can, whether that be through a ROM or a Nexus device.

The video runs over 13-minutes, and I’m not sure this even touches on it all. Be sure to let us know if you’d like to see anything else! Also, to see the entire list of Kit Kat changes, hit up this extensive post. And if you’d like the Google Home or Google Experience launcher, be sure to dive through this list of installable apps from the Nexus 5.

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  • BigDropz

    Is there anyway to turn my notification volume up without turning up the ringer’s volume?

  • Nick Tsiotinos

    Google seems to be taking a leaf out of Apple’s updates – slow and steady incremental updates. I guess Android is now a pretty mature OS and all they can do are small improvements everywhere. I wonder what is planned for 5?

  • chris125

    So with google moving google now as a swipe to the left wonder if that was because of all the devices with physical buttons such as samsung devices as a means to make it easier to access google now?

  • kevin

    So there was something I noticed after downloading the apk files for the launcher. I can no longer use the direct dial widgets to call people. It will just say that the app is not installed. Any way to fix this?

  • Shadowstare

    Great video.

    Shout out to Pusha T.

  • https://www.facebook.com/findjaysee Joshua

    Why hasn’t Hangouts replaced Messaging once & for all yet??? :(

    • Benjamen Meiers

      Hangouts can replace SMS. But it is a closed sourced Android app. What Google did was allow a default SMS app which can be chosen as Hangouts (pre-chosen on the Nexus 5). Some OEMs will go with hangouts, most will go with the AOSP or their own messaging app.

      • https://www.facebook.com/findjaysee Joshua

        I understand now. Maybe Google should give manufacturers an incentive to use Hangouts instead.

  • Gil C.

    Does the Nexus 4 have USB OTG after the 4.4 update?

    • Benjamen Meiers

      Nexus 4 has OTG enabled, it just can’t power the USB port (LG’s fault). So unless the OTA allows you to download some additional hardware, you may have to upgrade phones to get OTG.

  • Tyler Casilio

    Anyone else wish they did the notification bar thing, like the first leak, where the Phone screen’s notification bar was Blue, SMS was Green and so on. Basically color coded notification bars in apps. Kinda liked that

  • Justin W

    Are the quick toggles actually toggles now or are they still just shortcuts to the settings menus?

    • frank

      they’re still not toggles, just shortcuts. looks like we need a custom ROM again if we want real toggles

      • frank

        but i don’t see a way to add any toggles :(

      • Justin W

        Yeah, but it’s counter-intuitive – toggles are quick, and should just be the one tap, while long-pressing should get you into the settings menu. Hopefully they update this in the next version of Android :(

        • frank

          i totally agree with you. there’s lots of other things where Google underdelivered with Kit Kat IMO … I’ll get my Nexus 5 this week and play around with stock but then I’m gonna look at custom ROMs and maybe xposed framework if they update for 4.4.

  • ROB

    Nexus 5 delivered this monday…AIO or AT&T GoPhone…decisions decisions

    • NexusPhan

      T-mobile.

    • Shilamar Drea Shockley

      I would go with AIO in your case cause AT&T their data plan is horrible with prepaid. At least with Aio you get 7GB for $70. With AT&T you get 2GB for $60. Also you should check the coverage but I’m sure you picked Aio because of the coverage. I’m not sure if TMobile is good in your area but if they are, then you should pick them cause they have Unlimited Everything for $70.

  • Goonieguy8

    there is still touchscreen input lag :(

    • zmr333

      Don’t take any of these unofficial ROMs as something to judge actual Kit Kat on, that may be fixed on the N5 and when Google updates the N4 officialy

      • Goonieguy8

        lets hope so! i know its not that big of deal…but coming from an Iphone it makes a difference to me :)

        • Shilamar Drea Shockley

          If you’re coming from an Iphone and you’re worried about touchscreen lag, I don’t think it’s comparable to the problems Iphone has had. Especially with their new update.

  • joejoe5709

    Great video, Kellen! You highlighted some things I hadn’t seen or heard yet. Kit Kat looks awesome!

  • Brian Kircher

    So, since google now is a swipe to the left, does that mean you cant have any home screen pages on the left? So it would be like the software in the Razr Maxx HD?

    • SuperSam64

      I’m using the “Google Experience” launcher, and from the look of it you can have as many screens as you want (I haven’t been able to max it out yet but I haven’t gone that high), but there’s not a button that you can tap to add them. When you add something, it simply gives you the option to add it to any of the existing pages, or to create new page to add it to. To answer your question, you *cannot* add anything to the far left screen. It appears to be dedicated to Google Now. If you go into Settings from a home screen there is a switch to turn Google Now off, but it says it will return all values to defaults, and I assume this means that in addition to not being on the left home screen, it will also disable the app in its entirety until you specify otherwise. I haven’t found a way to turn off just the Google Now dedicated home screen.

      I think that this is a nice feature, but it bugs me that it is very similar to the search screen on the far left of iOS. It seems that Apple is always ready to scream theft, so I always cringe when a competitor gives them encouragement to do so. I’m not saying whether or not this was stolen from iOS, just pointing out the similarity. Hell, even if Google had it first, Apple would say they stole it!

      If you have any questions about any of the other KitKat apps, let me know! I’ve installed all the ones that are available right now and would be happy to give you some info if you’d rather get the low down on them before giving them a spin. Otherwise, you can try them out yourself by doing a Google search for the apk’s. Hope that helps!

      • Brian Kircher

        Hey man thanks for the reply. I really wanna try the launcher from 4.4 but im hesitant on replacing the default launcher with the new one on my Droid Maxx because if it doesnt work, I will have no way to uninstall the launcher and go back to the stock one, unless it works like a 3rd party launcher. I tried the updated google search app, but it fc’ed on me so I reverted to the older one.

        • SuperSam64

          No problem! I think it is like a third party launcher, because when I hit home after installing it it asked me which app I wanted to use, plus I can still go into Nova. Not sure about the issue with search, it’s working okay on mine but maybe it has issues with certain phones.

          • Brian Kircher

            The launcher doesnt seem to want to work without the updated search app, that one doesnt work well on my maxx, so I cant use the launcher.

          • SuperSam64

            Sorry to hear that. Hopefully a later version will be more compatible.

  • nahive

    I just thought I’d share this feature as it wasn’t mentioned in video.
    If you press and hold an icon (like WiFi) on notifications panel you can toggle it instead of going inside settings.

  • Colton

    so by side-loading the GEP.apk with the other necessary updates as well, we will not get the google now ‘homepage’? Im stock nonrooted 4.3 galaxy s4. The launcher works perfectly (and google search) but no google now page to the left.

  • manderko

    Did your google now just out the fact that you have stock in apple?

    • manderko

      how dare you diversify your portfolio

    • Benjamen Meiers

      I actually have the exact same stocks come up on my Google Now and I have no stocks.

      I like to see the AAPL stock go down and the GOOG stock go up. I also have FB because I am waiting for it to implode.

  • Daistaar

    Hey Kellen! You know Fake too?! Dude is such a phony and a stalker. Don’t even let me get started on Super Fake! CAARAAZZYYY!

  • JMonkeYJ

    I’m not too thrilled with the new launcher. Google Now always on the left is too Blinkfeedy for me (altho at least they let you turn it off), and they didn’t fix widget selection in the case where you have dozens of widgets, they just moved it. I’m hoping Nova will incorporate all the new features and make them selectable…that would be ideal! I definitely do want “OK Google” everywhere.

  • LionStone

    Don’t forget the ‘pull down in any app’ feature! Love that one!

    • http://www.ashevilletechnologyservices.com Dan Brown

      go on….

      • LionStone

        Well instead of backing out of an app, or Home to check a notification, you can pull down and check it like if you’re in a game or some other app that normally doesn’t let you now.

    • Benjamen Meiers

      Definitely one of the most annoying things when playing a fullscreen app. Glad Google has given App developers a fix for this (let’s hope they use it)

  • Dave

    Any simple way I could run one on a GN2 and still keep S-Pen functionality? Something like a Beans ROM?

  • JBartcaps

    Anyone else not have emojis with the keyboard, I installed the keyboard on the Moto X and believe the emojis will come with 4.4, Right? Maybe?

    • Haroon Dar

      Its in hangouts only

  • Jason13L

    I haven’t seen the ROM up close, but in settings (like printing and home) is the icon on top now a Jewish Star (Star of David)? Or is it still a sprocket with fewer teeth?

    • ddowner001

      It is a sprocket

  • Mike

    I installed the launcher from the APK’s last night on my stock OG GNEX and had trouble adding more than three screens. How can I do that?

    • SuperSam64

      The fact that there’s not a “+” button is a bit unintuitive. The way it works is it just adds screens on an “as needed” basis. When you add something to a home screen it lets you pick which one to add it to, and one of the options is to add it to a new home screen (which can be found at the far right, no matter how many you have so far). So you can’t have an empty home screen (even if you create one with a widget or shortcut then delete the widget/shortcut, the empty page will delete itself, and I guess that makes sense as I cannot think of a single scenario in which having an empty home screen could be beneficial). As far as I can tell, you can have an infinite number of home screens, though when I got to around 10 or so I lost interest so I can’t say for sure. Hope that helps!

  • Sid69

    Good video but for the love of God stopy saying SORT OF!

  • KenBarnum

    Does it have trusted bluetooth?

  • Larry M

    Is it just me, or does that Google swipe up and down animation on the locksreen seem a little too laggy? I hope its the Rom and not something from the 4.4 update that should come down to us. Everything else seems so fluid and fast that that struck me as odd.

    Also, anybody else hate the wallpaper choices? They seem too colorful for my tastes. It seems as if past Android versions had better wallpaper choices. Also, definitely not a fan of the white folder backgrounds. I liked the dark color scheme much better.

    The contacts/dialer apps also seem to be a little schizo, I mean, either go dark, or light, but having all contacts light, while the dialer itself is black with holo blue, makes it a bit jarring.

    Kellex,

    Have you guys come across any new livewallpapers? or any enhancement to the way these work?

    Another point, the settings button after the long press on the screen, it seems like it should take you to the phone settings, and not to the Google Now settings. Somehow that does not seem very intuitive.

    I guess I’ll have to wait to try it out myself and see how it all works together. So far, these have been my initial reactions to some of the walk-through videos.

    • Droidzilla

      I wouldn’t take anything from these early ROMs as indicative of how KK will run on full release devices. Wait for the N4 binaries; it’s still using 4.3 binaries right now on these ROMs. Or wait until people start showing off N5s (should be very soon since people in the UK have them in hand right now).

    • Ashwath Ravee

      I’ve been using the early PA build all day on my Nexus 4. It WAS laggy, but with a simple tweak I found on XDA (I believe it was Franco, the famous kernel developer who suggested it), things are significantly smoother.

      I changed the governor from the default Ondemand to Interactive. Without too much hyperbole, my phone seems far more responsive now, possibly more than 4.3 was.

      The official builds should be even better.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Delievery on Monday…..Can’t w8!

  • Shane Redman

    Reminders and “Post To” are broken in Google Now for me

  • Spider210

    Kellex where is our repeat notifications!?

  • Snowbo13

    Go Sounders!!!!

  • James Friedman

    Has anyone set this up on the nexus 7 (2013)? I set it up last night but I’m not seeing the transparent notification bar or navigation bar. It’s still got a black bar at the top and bottom and the icons for wifi, battery etc are white. Not sure who’s ROM I used but it was only one I saw on XDA overnight. Is there a setting you need to enable? I looked through but didn’t see one. Love it but can’t get the camera to work so I’ll have to test out another one later tonight. Any ideas or recommendations?

    • ReturnOfTheMack

      First, HTTR. Second, there are two ideas floating around on this. Either the transparent navigation and status bars depend on the launcher (which I doubt) or tablets are not getting that feature at the moment. Even Google’s image of the 2013 N7 on their developer website shows white icons but no transparency. Although the app drawer icon is different from the N5 as well so who knows. I guess we won’t know until an OTA rolls out.

      • James Friedman

        Appreciate the comment. I actually forgot to check out the new google now launcher and was still using my Nova backup I made. I will have to try this tonight to see if I get the transparent bars.

        Yeah man HTTR! We need to get this win on Sunday. Going to be good game…Hopefully we can play like we did last week for the first 2.5 quarters but for a full game. I predict RG3 is going to have have a big game.

        • HTTR

          HTTR!

    • Mike

      It could be because somehow the transparent bars are built into the rom and not the launcher. I had the same problem on my gnex when just installing the APKs last night. I think it needs more than that for the transparency.

  • mikewilson1021

    Is it possible to get the new dialer in an .apk or .zip file, or is that strictly part of the 4.4 build?

    • brkshr

      The dialer usually ties in heavily to the system framework. So it probably won’t happen unless it’s on a custom ROM. If you’re going to run a custom ROM, you may as well be running 4.4.

      • mikewilson1021

        That’s kind of what I thought. I’m running the GPE rom on my vzw S4 with the ME7 baseband, so no 4.4 roms yet. I do have all of the other goodies (new launcher, search, keyboard, hangouts, etc) installed though and it looks and runs amazing!

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    • susanlawson124

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  • jbdan

    Sweet been waiting for this! Thanks guys

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

    Ugh, video quality should approve shortly.

    • mustbepbs

      Ow my eyes

    • HomelessRomantic

      I don’t need a video’s approval!

    • Saif

      What are we now! Apple :< .. Nothing has changed!
      Next android update 5.0 idea (add a new icon to the home screen and call it new home)

    • michael arazan

      Looks great on 360p here with YT

  • Dan

    So i woke up this morning and noticed I spilled a cup of water all over my nexus 7. In rice now, water behind both cameras. Awful, awful timing.

    • Danny Dodge

      Ouch, mate that is harsh

    • Josh Flowers

      there’s no watering down the sadness of that comment.

    • patrick

      but, is it in rice now?

      • Mark Saccente

        +1 lol

      • mustbepbs

        Yeah he already said that, idiot.

        Just kidding.

        Idiot.

    • Pierito

      Sounds like one………..slippery situation.

    • AUSTEEEZZZ

      You need to dip it in 90% rubbing alcohol and blow dry. Alcohol dries off faster than water

      • Kayla A. Echols

        Yes. Alcohol. And quickly.

      • Droidzilla

        And if that doesn’t work, dip your mouth in alcohol until you feel better about killing your N7.

      • michael arazan

        Never use alcohol on electronics, it’s a myth. Alcohol will actually dissolve adhesive strips that are used inside out phones and tablets. Only time you ever want to use alcohol is on the outside of a device to disinfect it, like if you dropped it in a urinal or toilet or something like that.

      • http://www.topdocumentaryfilms.com Epicurus

        how would that help at all? Alcohol and water dont mix. the alcohol will dry and the water will remain. that is a common myth.

        • Benjamen Meiers

          Could the alcohol displace the water, and then the alcohol can evaporate? Alcohol is heavier than water… maybe the water will flow to the top and out of the device because it is less dense. Hydrogen bonds… eh just drink it.

          • http://www.topdocumentaryfilms.com Epicurus

            lol. I think its a nice idea, but in practice it wont do anything, and actually just cause more damage.

    • michael arazan

      I’ve spilled water all over my GNex and sg3, toweled it off and so problems, water even got into the to speaker with no problems, hopefully it shouldn’t be a problem, but mine was 1-2 ounces of water.