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PSA: What Some Device Owners Won’t See in Their Kit Kat Update

kit kat easter egg

We received an email last night from a reader in distress. He had updated his Nexus 7 (2012) to Android 4.4, and was saddened by the changes he didn’t see after installing the newest version of the OS. Given that there are probably a few people who will run into the same issue, we wanted to quickly go over what some device owners can expect not to see when updating their devices to Kit Kat.

Google has already stated that one of the features (the Experience launcher) found on the Nexus 5 is purely a device exclusive, but as other devices – such as the Moto X – are receiving Kit Kat, more feature dismissals are being noticed.

Google Experience Launcher

Shortly after the launch of Kit Kat, Google announced that the Google Experience Launcher found on the Nexus 5 would be a device exclusive. What that means is that no other device will have the same exact experience as N5 owners, such as the swipe left for Google Now, “Ok Google” voice command from the homescreen, new UI for editing your homescreens, the fullscreen wallpaper chooser UI, separate section for widgets, and other misc. tweaks.

If you install Android 4.4 on a Moto X, Nexus 4 or Nexus 7, you can expect to see essentially the same launcher that comes with Jelly Bean. Your widgets are accessed through the app drawer, you will long press a homescreen to access your wallpaper choose, etc.

Now, if you want the same experience that Nexus 5 owners have, you can do so by seeing this post here. After Google updated the Search app to 3.1.8, anyone that installs the launcher found on the Nexus 5 can have the same experience as Nexus 5 owners.

Translucent Nav Bar and Notification Bar

Google decided for whatever reason that Nexus tablets and the Nexus 4 running Android 4.4 will not have translucent navigation and notification bars. Why this decision was made, we don’t know right off. Although, if you install the update on a phone such as Moto X, the translucent bars are enabled. This UI tweak has been one of our favorite changes about Kit Kat, so we have been bummed that Google opted to leave it out on tablets.

SONY DSC

Smart Dialer

Moto X owners updating to Kit Kat have noticed the absence of Google’s Smart Dialer when making and receiving calls. When making a call on a Nexus 5, you can perform a search for a local business right through the dialer and then place a call. In addition, the device will then save that number so in case they call back, it wont be from a random number; it will display the business’ name on the Caller ID. It’s a fancy feature, and it’s possible that a future update could enable it, but don’t expect to see it if you update your Moto X.

Tap & Pay Settings

Almost all installers of Kit Kat will have access to a new Tap & Pay settings menu on their devices. If you do not see it under your Settings, you will only need to make sure you are running the latest version of Google Wallet and have NFC enabled under settings. If you need it, we have download links on our post here. From what we have seen on our Nexus 7 2012 devices, even after installing the newest Google Wallet, the Tap & Pay setting is still not listed.

The Tap & Pay setting allows users to dictate which NFC-powered payment system they want to use. For most of us, only Google Wallet will be visible until other app makers, such as ISIS, update their apps.

If there is anything else that recent updaters to Kit Kat have noticed “missing,” feel free to throw it down below.

  • mikeym0p

    You’re misinforming users. ALL Kitkat devices will be capable of Transparent UI. They WONT however be taken advantage of by default on the lockscreen (which is dumb IMO) and on the launcher.

  • Tom Erlandsen

    “Translucent Nav Bar and Notification Bar”? That’s still present in KitKat, but it’s not enabled on the launcher by default because the default launcher isn’t the GEL. KitKat still contains the API for transparency and apps can easily enable it. All I had to do to get the transparent nav and notification bar on my Nexus 4 launcher was install the GEL apk extracted from the Nexus 5. Apps can still write transparency functionality using the transparency API (much like Nova and Apex have done).

    So, to summarise, translucent navigation and notification bars ARE included in the KitKat update, they’re just no seen on the default launcher shipping with KitKat, as it isn’t GEL (yet).

  • jeff manning

    Does anyone bring their nexus 7 tablet to tap and pay?

    • QtDL

      Lol I did once to use the free $10 credit when they first did the GWallet offer. Never after that though.

  • Mike Boodoo

    My Nexus 4 has the option to enable Caller ID by Google. I have it enabled but didn’t try it out yet. Is this part of the Smart Dialer?
    I’m running the first version of 4.4, didn’t get the bug fixer yet.

  • Maff

    “Translucent Nav Bar and Notification Bar” Wrong, if you install the google experience launcher on a nexus 7 then you get the translucent navbar/notification bar. The stock launcher simply wasn’t updated to support it.

  • G_Romero

    I’m glad this is here, because I feel very mislead by the way Google advertised KitKat, and mislead by all of the KitKat reviews that I have seen. They are more reviews of the Nexus 5 than KitKat itself. Although, my 2012 Nexus 7, which was very sluggish, is very usable/snappier again, so for that I am thankful.

  • CormacDaniel

    I didn’t even get the ota update for my n7 2013
    Why?

  • Michael Hammond

    Should be labelled “What some device owner’s won’t see in their Kit Kat update …. unless they root and ROM their device”

    Guaranteed the instant any of those features hit the stream, devs will be tearing apart the code to make that stuff available on other devices.

  • Travillion

    I wonder if Google left the GEL off of other devices primarily because it is such a change. Looking through these comments you can easily see how polarizing of an issue this is. People are either ticked they didn’t get GEL or ticked that Google created the GEL. By going this way, people who want it can easily get it by simply sideloading the launcher (Google didn’t have to make this easy, remember how tricky it was before they updated the Search app?), and those who think it’s weird don’t have it enabled by default. Maybe after people get more used to it, they’ll broaden the base of devices that have it by default.

  • Jon Youngblood

    Am I missing something? I have Google Wallet installed, but it’s not showing up in the Tap & Pay settings.

  • Michael Quinlan

    No swipe left for Google Now? Yahoo! I can’t stand the thought of that change.

    Now, this has been bugging me for a long time, and now is as good of a time to ask as any… why in the world are you using “swype left” to refer to a left-to-right motion?

  • https://twitter.com/paladaxar Paladaxar

    Maybe they intend for the N5 to sort of be a “beta” device where they test stuff out, see how it flies, and then bring it to the rest of the phones later?

    • Joe Thomas

      lol u are so naive :)……… but i really hope u are right

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    I will find a way to get the smart dialer on my motox. It was the first thing I tried to play with after the update. Hopefully in the next update.

  • http://www.efetech.com.ar Federico

    I just can’t believe that you have written the Translucent Bar section. C’mon Droid Life, really? Don’t you know that this is a feature that the app can request?
    If you don’t see it, is because you don’t have GEL installed. Try to install it (it is just a Search wrapper apk) or install Nova.

    • Steve B

      Don’t be a dick. They’re just pointing out the obvious.

    • Adrynalyne

      Its more than a wrapper. A wrapper need not be > 10mb.

  • downtownjeff

    I’ll bet custom ROMs won’t have device exclusive features. Go Carbon!

  • Travis Walls

    Can someone please explain how the smart dialer mentioned in the article is different from what is included in 4.4 for the Moto X? I have a completely new interface with a search bar at the top and the dialer tucked away at the bottom. Is there something in addition to this new UI that isn’t included?

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      It doesn’t search local businesses.

    • Steve B

      And you probably don’t have the Smart Caller ID.

  • Jonathan Ly

    I have to say, the sense of entitlement is strong with so many users. Granted I think the biggest omissions to the totality of 4.4 are the exclusion of GEL, Smart Dialer, and translucent nav bars, but the hubub about not looking different is a bit much. The OS can’t just keep reinventing itself with iterative upgrades, and Jelly Bean and Kit Kat are just that. Froyo, Honeycomb, and ICS are the solid number upgrades, and as such people should realize the next quantum leap Android will see is in 5.0, you can’t keep expecting drastic changes every single time

    • Adrynalyne

      I don’t think its a sense of entitlement as much as the shock of Google pulling an Apple, and reserving features for its tippy top end device, leaving others out in the cold.

      • Jonathan Ly

        I can agree to that sentiment. It is shocking but personally I think its not surprising, considering that the nexus devices are different OEM and different parts.

  • javier rodriguez

    Does the moto x take advantage of the immersion mode when available?

    • sonicemerald

      yes

  • Guy Pierce

    I have all of the on my GNex with Shiny ROM 4.4!

  • Senor Chang

    Ha, GAAAAYYYYYY!!

  • Patrick Crumpler

    Really odd choices of leaving features off. No matter how frivolous or small. That’s a lot of inconsistency.

  • steve

    Not sure if this is true of the N5 but on the moto x the Gallery no longer seems to sync with picasa, and there doesnt appear to be an option in the sync settings menu for picassa any more. its a real bummer to have to use google photos….

  • Chris

    The new Android Runtime (ART) option is not available on the Nexus 7 (2012). Not sure about the N4.

    • mustbepbs

      It’s not on the N10 either.

    • Gr8Ray

      I actually questioned whether I had sideloaded the correct factory image when I couldn’t find ART in the developer options. I was really looking forward to seeing if ART could bring some pep back to the old N7 2012.

    • Simon Belmont

      Yeah. It’s only on devices with Snapdragon SoCs ATM.

      Perhaps the other SoCs just weren’t stable with ART yet. Probably needs some more work.

    • Maxim∑

      its on the N4 running fine so far

  • moelsen8

    when you put it all this way… that kind of sucks in a big way. boo google.

  • Andrew Dahl

    I have the Moto X, updated to 4.4 a couple days ago, and a local business called me this morning and it displayed the name… Not so sure this article is entirely accurate in that regard.

    • Andrew Dahl

      I am on Verizon though, so it may have been the Caller ID application doing it. Not entirely sure it has that functionality though. I thought it would just display city/state of the area code calling.

      • Adrynalyne

        I have that disabled and even on 4.3, some calls come through with business or person’s name.

      • justpassingthrough

        I do not have Caller ID disabled and I am getting Business names and personal names showing now. I am on Verizon also. It was not like that in 4.2

        • justpassingthrough

          I mean I have it disabled.

    • kashtrey

      That could just be because the business has a registered caller ID with the phone company itself. It wouldn’t matter if they called an iPhone, Blackberry or your land line.

      • Andrew Dahl

        I don’t think this particular business does. They call relatively frequently (which brings up the question why I never added them myself), but it never happened on my GNex or with 4.2.2 on my Moto X.

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    I really think Google made a big mistake by not giving the other Nexus devices the GEL (without having to sideload it). I thought Google has been trying to cure fragmentation, not make it a problem even with their own devices. I can understand other manufacturers having their own launcher, but Google has devices clearly capable of running GEL but aren’t. It’s messy and makes for an inconsistent consumer experience.

    • randompsychology

      After installing GEL on my Galaxy Nexus, I don’t feel that it’s ready for true prime time. It isn’t as smooth as the “stock” launcher and the UI isn’t terribly clear. It took me forever to figure out how to customize certain things, etc.

      Additionally, the fonts are unreadable on some backgrounds, and the background doesn’t align properly due to having Google Now as the permanent left-side homescreen.

      Google wants to drive (more) adoption of Google Now for sure, so I’m betting that they’ll eventually release GEL to the Play Store. Since the Nexus devices are generally picked up more by devs and early adopters, I’m willing to bet that they’re doing real-world testing of the new launcher to refine it before it reaches the masses.

      I certainly won’t be installing it on my new Moto X until they fix some stuff.

  • Justin

    My Nexus 7 (2012) got the new Google Experience Launcher (GEL) but not through the OTA update that I am still waiting for. It came in the update from the Google search app in the Playstore. My Nexus is still running 4.3 Jelly Bean. So I guess I’ll just keep on waiting days/weeks/months for the OTA for 4.4 Kit Kat :-/

  • Tony Byatt

    Wow, that’s a bummer…I guess I’ll hold on to my N5. I’d love to try the voiceless control and active notification features of the Moto X, though. Maybe the Moto X (2014)…

    • Morbid138

      Look up Dynamic Notifications in the play store. That should kinda satisfy your fix for active notifications. Remember to disable the autowake feature, the accelometer will drain your battery.

      • Adrynalyne

        Had that on my Note 2 for a while. Kills battery. Maybe it was the autowake feature.

        • Morbid138

          Yeah I’ve tested the app on my Nexus 5 all week. Its definitely the autowake feature.

      • Tony Byatt

        I’ll check it out…Thanks…

  • Mike Hilal

    0% of those things matter on my nexus 10. nbd.

  • greyhulk

    Wow. I don’t really see the point in breaking root to upgrade to this. The main reason I wanted Kitkat was for the smart dialer. What a disappointment.

    • Daistaar

      You know, you’re a lot more coherent and eloquent than I remember….

  • a3uge

    Google’s way of addressing fragmentation: make stock so convoluted that you don’t even know what “stock” really is anymore.

    • Adrynalyne

      Or putting apps on the store. They have always, from day one, closed source on their best ideas.

  • Anon

    The nontransparent navigation and status bar is misleading. It’s there, but you have to use Nova or GEL to see it.

  • pball_inuyasha

    I know that the ART runtime is not available on the 2012 Nexus 7 at least. I know it’s only a beta feature right now, but it’s causing a bit of a ruckus around XDA. I’ve heard you can add a few files and enable it, but supposedly it wasn’t included because it’d cause some issue with the 2012 N7

  • Jeralmac

    What about Sphere? I went from 4.3 on the Gnex to 4.2 on the MotoX and really missed having Sphere in my camera app. I thought for sure I’d get it back with KK but no dice!

  • http://gplus.to/bmt626 -Brandon

    if your rooted you can copy the android.hardware.nfc.hce.xml file from the n5 dump to /system/etc/permissions reboot and tap and pay will be listed in the settings

  • pomaybo

    Love how everyone is complaining about this when I have all the kit kat stuff on my OLD GNEX. Rom it up people or stop whining. Its there for you, learn how your phone works.

  • JohanV

    Yeah my Nexus 4 looks the same after 4.4 :pokerface:

  • brkshr

    I have a feeling that Verizon didn’t want the Smart Dialer feature because of their pre-installed app Caller ID (or whatever it’s called).

    • Flat_Stanley

      But that doesn’t explain the other variants of the Moto X (dev, t-mo, att)

      • brkshr

        Do they come with a Caller ID app? I wouldn’t know. Maybe Moto has a deal with Caller ID?

  • Booyabobby

    I was pretty bummed to not have the smart dialer on my Moto X. That was one feature i was looking forward to.

    • kashtrey

      That was like the only feature to look forward to, the rest are back-end under the hood stuff that are useful but not a cool feature you can show your friends. Smart Dialer was probably the most revolutionary consumer facing update in Kit Kat and the fact they can’t give it to everyone is BS.

    • Tony Murray

      I have the new dialer on my VZW Moto X.

  • temp

    Way to address fragmentation, Google…

    • Just_Some_Nobody

      Yeah, it’s funny. People have always said if you want a ‘stock’ experience get a Nexus. This just isn’t true.

      • PhoenixPath

        Used to be. Apparently, not so much anymore.

      • Adrynalyne

        if you want a ‘stock’ experience get the latest Nexus.

        Now its true.

  • Matt

    My google voice voicemails no longer show up in my call history, I have to open the voice app, which I never used to have to do.

    Really disliking the layout of the new dialer…

    • rader023

      Mine show up. VZW moto x.

    • brkshr

      Mine shows up in the dialer on the N5. Have you enabled that feature in the Google Voice settings?

      • Matt

        I thought I had made sure I did, but just went and checked again… works now.

        Thanks.

  • xzombiex66

    Im actually pretty disappointed in this update, seems its was mostly GEL, which I wouldn’t use any way Nova Prime Excels way past Gel any day, I got the OTA update on my Nexus 4 last night, its basically the same phone.

    • Adrynalyne

      KitKat is mostly under the hood and refinement. Its not altogether different from a typical .1 release. 4.0 -4.3 didnt make some revolutionary visual change either.

      • xzombiex66

        They still could have thrown a few things in the mix like the translucent nav and notification bars. Instead they released a launcher.

        • Adrynalyne

          Yeah, I suppose you are right. The problem is, they moved it to be per app, and closed the source on the launcher.

          • brkshr

            I have a feeling that Google will release GEL to the Play Store at some point in time. I think they are testing it on the N5 for now.

          • Adrynalyne

            Technically, they have. They just need to release the app that launches it.

  • EC8CH

    Leaving out the smart dialer is a weird decision…. Bet it gets pushed through Google play

  • Booyah

    Was really looking forward to Smart Dialer, but I can live without it for a while. I’m enjoying the rest of what Kit Kat offers!

    • greyhulk

      And what is that, exactly? without the smart dialer and google experience launcher, what did you get?

      • Adrynalyne

        Performance. Nice performance.

      • Booyah

        Performance (even faster than before on the Moto X). Translucent bars. Better settings. Lots of under the hood improvements. Just better aesthetically.

        Have you even used GEL? Very overrated. Used it for a week on my N7 and went straight back to Nova. It’s a very limited launcher.

        • greyhulk

          I had the Nexus 5 and sent it back because my Moto X was a much better experience. The ONLY feature I liked was the smart dialer. If I’m not going to get that, I don’t see any point in losing root to upgrade to 4.4.

  • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

    Translucent bars are handled by the app(s)…so it’s not technically missing them, it’s just not in the aosp launcher…

    • Adrynalyne

      Stock launcher anyway ;) Builds that go out OTA aren’t AOSP. Yep, I am splitting hairs and being a dick.

      • joder

        Imagine that…

        • Adrynalyne

          Looks like you joined the party as well. ;)

          • joder

            I wouldn’t miss it for the world!! I’m going to troll you until you come back onto freenode consistently.

          • Adrynalyne

            How come, when i go there, you are never there?

          • joder

            #galaxy-note-3
            #sgs4

            I left #galaxy-note-2

          • Adrynalyne

            oh god. You want me to hang with the note 3 fanboys?

          • joder

            I thought you had one? Get on in there!

          • Adrynalyne

            That doesnt make me a fanboy.

      • joder

        Anyone ever told you that you look like “Gomer Pyle” from Full Metal Jacket?

        • Adrynalyne

          No, because there isn’t any resemblance.

      • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

        The launcher that has shipped to Nexus devices that aren’t the 5 is straight up aosp. Many other things on the phone may not be aosp, but the launcher is.

        • Adrynalyne

          Have you compared the bytecode to confirm this?

          • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

            Yep, it’s good ol’ Launcher2.apk from /system/priv-app…exact same apk as when you build from source.

          • Adrynalyne

            Fair enough. I withdraw my comment.

  • Andy Stetson

    You also don’t get a functional Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Companion App. Starts, but won’t load, just black screen.

  • Christian

    I think that devices sporting a secure element won’t have the Tap & Pay settings listed because there is no need for the use of the new card emulation API on those devices since they can store encrypted NFC data in the secure element.

    • d-rock

      wonder if the Nexus 4 shows it active then?

      • Ryan

        When I flashed the PA build of stock 4.4 on my Nexus 4 (T-Mobile store variant, which I’m sure is just the unlocked GSM phone anyway), I did see the Tap & Pay settings there. I had to get rid of it due to some really stupid audio bugs with bluetooth that was irritating me. I’m hoping the latest OTA (whenever I think about flashing it) fixes that.

  • Adrynalyne

    My nexus 7 has the translucent bars if you use GEL.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Mine too.

    • EC8CH

      I second that

    • Jordan Long

      mine doesn’t.

      N7 2012 3g

      • Adrynalyne

        Might be a 2013 model thing? I dunno. They didnt show up until the second 4.4 ota. The 2012 N7 also can’t enable ART, unless the second ota fixed that.

        • EC8CH

          2012 N7 transport bars on GEL launcher for me

      • DoctorJB
        • Jordan Long

          yep, doesn’t seem to change it.

    • Joseph D’Alessandro

      My N7 2012 has the Translucent Nav Bar.. I am also running GEL!! But I did enable developer options.. And I do not have an option to turn on ART!

      • Adrynalyne

        Yeah, kinda weird how they left it off…wonder if there is some hardware extension they tap into not present?

        Just a guess.

        • OMJ

          Nexus 10 also doesnt have the ART option but the 7 2013 and the 4 both have it. Not sure why the left it out on those 2.

          • Adrynalyne

            Right. My N7 loves it too, except when having to rebuild the cache.

          • Simon Belmont

            Probably because they aren’t running Snapdragon SoCs. The N10 runs an Exynos and the N7 2012 runs a Tegra 3 (while the N7 2013, N4, and N5 have Snapdragons).

            My guess is Google wanted to work on ART for those SoCs a bit longer before releasing it. It’ll probably show up eventually.

    • litobirdy

      GEL? as in google experience launcher? easy way to put that on?

    • Maxim∑

      NOVA launcher beta has it to

  • Ray Gray

    very informative!

  • Eric

    SO anything worth getting kit kat you wont have? Sweet.

    • joeyjoejoe shabadoo

      Exactly. My wife’s 2012 N7 updated last night. Other than the white icons in the notification drawer, neither of us could really tell a difference.

      Progress! Gotta love it!

      • palomosan

        Install Nova Launcher and you can get the transparent Nav Bar, I know it’s not the best method but.

        • fd2blk78

          How would a person enable this on Nova? Can’t seem to find the option. Hmmm, maybe it’s not added to the app yet? Just beta?

          • kyle

            just the beta I think, go to Nova launcher on the play store and look in the description and you’ll see a link for the beta changelog and how to join the beta as well

          • Vinay Dixit

            Nova Launcher Prime has most features described in this forum

          • fd2blk78

            Side note downloaded beta, the transparent option is there, but compatible only with 4.4 phones. Guess my maxx will have to wait a couple weeks. Thanks guys!

          • Mike Boodoo

            As of now, beta only.

          • Tony Esposito

            Transparent nav bar works just fine with Nova Prime.

          • Mike Boodoo

            That’s strange. I didn’t have that option until I joined beta.

          • fd2blk78

            Than I thought, nice to have the features, but I made my notification bar go away anyways, so REALLY no biggie. Haha

      • Just_Some_Nobody

        Does it run any smoother? My N7 (2012) hasn’t been updated yet (waiting for OTA as I’m too lazy to do otherwise).

        • turdbogls

          it should. KK is quite a bit lighter on RAM usage. devices with 1GB RAM will benefit from this update quite a bit IMO…THAT, is the best part of KK IMO. yes, the translucencies are really nice to look at, but they dont really do anything other than look nice. the under-the-hood changes are where its at.

          and the translucencies are easy to fix anyway.

        • mikeym0p

          It does on my N7, ART isn’t available on the T3. There is still a little lag on the notification shade, but it’s minimal.

          I put the GEL on and it lags when I slide over to GNow but other than that it’s pretty solid. They tweaked the Gamma on the screen too, it doesn’t look as ‘yellow’ as 4.3 did.

          • jeesung

            ART isn’t in the OTA, but you can use it with an AOSP ROM. i’m using RastaKat with ART

          • Tyler Wagner

            ART was in my OTA for the moto x under developer options

          • jeesung

            looks like it depends on device.

            wasn’t in my N7 or N10 OTA

        • QtDL

          A word of caution with the OTA – it bricked my N7 last night and put it in a perpetual bootloop. There are a lot of others this has happened to and posted on the Google forum. I let the battery run down last night and had to reflash the bootloader and stock images (4.1). I let it OTA to 4.3 then sideloaded the 4.4 updates and the GEL. Works great now. :)

      • schlanz

        Maybe its just me but my N7 seems quite a lot faster.

        • G_Romero

          Same here. My N7 has been useless for a long time, and suddenly it is snappy again. Finally.

          • p0k3y

            Until you install some apps and use it for a week that is. I updated both my N7s and haven’t noticed any difference. I guess that’s y it’s only a .4 release, instead of 5.0.

        • DERP

          Please stop with the placebo comments. People say that for EVERY update. If it were true then our phones would be mini-supercomputers by now.

          • schlanz

            Android 4.4 takes system performance to an all-time high by optimizing memory and improving your touchscreen so that it responds faster and more accurately than ever before.

            Taken from Google. So yeah, not placebo.

          • Wally

            “improving your touchscreen so that it responds faster and more accurately than ever before.”

            That’s just on the n5, bud.

          • schlanz

            Wrong. That has nothing to do with GEL which is the only thing N5 exclusive. You can go to the Kitkat page and it shows an asterisk at the bottom that says “only available for Nexus 5.” There is no such asterisk after the performance improving stuff.

          • picrthis

            Yea and it kills you’re battery life, I can’t even get 8 hours sitting “idle” I dumped KitKat, or should I say KitCrap!

          • Jeremy Wray

            I still get 16-20+ hours of usage easily out of my Moto X post update

          • zous

            I just installed the kitcat 4.4 update. The experience is terrible. It is sluggish and non-responsive to touch. I really regret the update. Just forget the performance improvement because I saw none.

          • HarvesterX

            Could also be our awesome displays..the G2 and Nexus 5 are best in class

        • michael arazan

          My 2012 N7 was having freezes and reboots, especially while playing dots 30-50 levels at a time. After the update 2 nights ago it is right as rain and smoother than Jellybean was on my GNex. I just ordered the GWallet card so the tap and pay feature isn’t going to be much use after i Get the card, and only 5 business in St.Louis have NFC anyways. Just glad I can transfer money to my brother now through Gwallet.

      • Raven65

        Yeah, same here… my 2012 N7 updated last night as well. No noticeable changes other than the white icons in the notification bar and the removal of the network activity icons up there. I preferred the blue icons and miss the network activity icons. I suppose there are some performance & stability changes buried in there somewhere – but I had no complaints about that before.

        So… this has turned out to be a very underwhelming update. On the upside, I love my N7 and use it every single day.

        • Raven

          So, wait, they removed the network activity icons? I love how turns blue on a valid internet connection, but only gray if connected to wireless, but no route to the internet. That is so helpful. Are there no longer blinking up and down arrows either? That all sounds like a sad step backwards.

          • Raven65

            That is correct. The WiFi connection icon no longer changes color (stays white) when the connection to Google services is established – and the network activity (up/down arrows) are gone. Supposedly this info is buried in the settings somewhere now but I haven’t gone looking for them yet. I saw an article (on this site probably) that said they ditched the network activity arrow icons for performance reasons because constantly updating them uses CPU cycles unnecessarily – because most people either don’t pay attention to them or even know what they mean. I agree… a step backwards.

          • Lynton

            Open the notification drawer (to the widget toggles), and you will see that the network activity arrows show up there. These icons will also go orange if disconnected from Google services or whatever. They made this change because the arrows and Google services connection color indicators in the navigation bar caused redraws and unwarranted cpu usage so they made them a hidden feature.

          • madAndroid

            Yep, I find that the most disappointing aspect of 4.4 – really is a step backwards IMO.. I’ve gotten so used to seeing when my tablet or phone is connected by the presence/absence of the blue notifications and I’m quite disappointed. I don’t agree with their reasoning either: rather say it’s a performance thing, rather than some rubbish story about people not understanding the difference between the colors.

        • Simon Belmont

          Yeah. I grabbed Network Monitor Mini Pro to replace the network activity lost in KitKat.

          I absolutely love it now. Very configurable and doesn’t affect battery life a bit.

          • Leonardo Rojas

            Yup. I’m just getting the Pro n.n Very useful app! Now I know that YouTube downloads the whole video as soon add I tap Play, then the counter remains in zero. This behavior is different than in my pc, where the video downloads as is advances (monitored by a Windowa app), which I don’t like.

          • Simon Belmont

            Yeah. Now, it actually feels weird to not know what the throughput is when I use a device that doesn’t show it (doesn’t have the app installed).

            I usually disable it for games (makes sense) so it’s not distracting while I’m immersing myself in the game action, but on the whole, it’s not distracting anyway (some games I just leave it on because it rarely shows up during game-play anyway). It’s a great little app and totally worth the measly dollar I paid for it.

          • Aime Eerin

            yet isn’t perfect even with its amazing price.

          • madAndroid

            Thanks for pointing that out Simon – just installed the Pro one, looks really useful

          • Simon Belmont

            You’re welcome. Thanks for saying that, because I’m glad I helped someone.

            It’s truly worth the $1. I’d have paid more, if I’m honest, because I have it installed on every Android device I own now, and I love it.

        • Aime Eerin

          Until then, it’s another really good phone just like those others I mentioned,

      • MistaButters

        I had to double check settings to make sure my 2013 Nexus 7 updated. Then I put GEL on it and life was good.

      • Mike

        I haven’t noticed a performance difference with my N7 at all. Couldn’t tell much of a difference. Full screen album art on lock screen, immersive mode on play books, and that’s about it.

      • Brandon

        A lot of the changes in 4.4 are under the skins. I love the transparent bars and the visual changes and am bummed my N7 2013 won’t be getting them, but 4.4 is made to run smarter and faster, using less memory, so your older tablet should see an increase in battery life and performance (:

      • Anon Yser

        i got my update, and i agree that it didn’t change that much. it did make setting your own picture as the wallpaper easier, changes the icons, added printing to the settings, and installed quick office. i don’t really like the GEL anyway, it looks kind of like iOS and the taskbar and notification bar aren’t transparent, but that doesn’t really matter to me. they did, however, make reading books and watching movies more immersive. my N7 even feels like it runs better with KitKat.

    • Adam Truelove

      And that is why I’m getting a Nexus 5 and not a Moto X.

      • TeeJay1100

        Already got a white one, said shipped date will be November 26, but it came to my house 3 days later

      • athom07

        Google Experience Launcher & Smart Dial < Touchless Control & Active Display

        And thats by a large, large margin. But to each his own

        • Booyah

          The GEL is completely overrated. I used it for about a week on my Nexus 7 and it’s seriously not that great. I do miss Smart Dialer, but that will come in time. Touchless Control and Active Display are far better than any of the Nexus 5 offerings. Plus better battery and camera.

          • kashtrey

            Yeah, GEL was a mess to use. Losing the centered home screen was a giant step back, I wouldn’t use it again until i was allowed to choose which screen was my default and the Google Now “page” was treated like any other screen and could be moved or even set as the default home.

          • Adam Truelove

            I realize Android users are resistant to change, but the way it is in the GEL launcher is the way it should have always been.

            If that were the case, and Google changed it to the way it is in Jelly Bean, people would be bitching about the center one being the main home screen.

            It’s really more about change being bad than anything else for most people.

          • kashtrey

            Why exactly should it have been that way from the beginning? Because that’s exactly how the iPhone had their home screens set up from the beginning (until iOS7 and the move of spotlight)? GEL is pretty much the Springboard from pre-iOS 7 devices.

            It’s so much better from a convenience standpoint to be able to swipe in either direction. Instead of having to move 4 home screens over to get to your “end” screens, you can move two to the right or two to the left.

        • Adam Truelove

          Yup, to each his own. Nexus 5 for me.

          • greyhulk

            What’s that? I can’t hear you over the excellent volume of my Moto X speaker.

          • Adam Truelove

            I can’t see you over my 5″ 1080 screen.

          • greyhulk

            *…washed out 5″ 1080 screen.* FTFY

          • jbdan

            Not at all. It’s brilliant and makes amoled look really silly. Comes down to personal preference

          • Zander

            screen looks fine to me :) and thats coming from a note 3

        • Eric

          There is no way that active display or touchless controls beats smart dialer. I get random phone calls all the time and have no idea who it is. I end up just not answering. Would love to know who it is.

          • greyhulk

            Stop writing your name on bathroom walls.

          • Diablo81588

            You’ve obviously never used active display then.

          • http://people.ign.com/mrfrodo24 MrFrodo24

            Lol why? If it’s not someone you know, odds are it’s a wrong number or a telemarketer.

        • Jake

          GEL with Google Now as the far left home screen seems to have “borrowed” (and improved) the paradigm that iOS has with its far left home screen.

          When I’m in an app and swipe up from the bottom to do a quick search, the back button doesn’t work to exit Google Now. I keep forgetting that when I’m in Google Now I’ve essentially gone to the left-most home screen.

          • Larizard

            i do that a lot, too. pressing Back out of my left-most homescreen. lol. so silly of me.

        • Joey Funk

          why not get a moto x and flash the camera app and enable GEL? then you win at everything forever!

        • Tyler Wagner

          not to mention that the GEL can be sideloaded, so happy the moto x got the update this fast

        • HarvesterX

          Hmm, you mean that interrupt register I found recently in the SD800 architecture that allows for exact same touch less crap? Just not impmeemted on any newly released phones yet probably cause it’s patented somehow..but now that I know where it’s at I can write an app to do that and add it to the automaton app and ..hmm

      • jbdan

        I had both. N5 won. You’ll love it! If not you have many other good choices including the X.

        • Booyah

          Better battery (by far) with the Moto X. And arguably better camera.

          • jbdan

            That wasn’t my experience with the moto x. The exact opposite. Either way I think the X is an all around sweet device.

          • greyhulk

            WAY better, for the simple fact that it doesn’t take 10 minutes to snap the shot and doesn’t have the most confusing interface ever made. I also prefer the Moto X screen, even if it is lower res.

      • greyhulk

        And you’ll still be losing out. I’ll take active notifications and touchless control over the google experience launcher and smart dialer any day.

      • Jason Hanford-Smith

        Or wait for CM 11… I’m running a kang for my S3 and it has all those features listed above :)

    • Lucky Armpit

      I was going to say the exact same thing. So there’s no point in waiting for the KitKat update for my Droid Maxx, as all of the desirable features that differentiate it from 4.2.2 Jelly Bean won’t be included… do I have that right?

      • turdbogls

        no
        looks arent everything. you should see a performance improvement as well (more available RAM)

      • PhillipCun

        wrong. kit kat is still a huge deal and it goes deeper than aesthetic changes

    • mikeym0p

      Speed and memory improvements, SELinux restrictive, Audio Tunneling through the DSP (HUGE), and ART if you’re capable of running it.

      • Eric

        I have G2, speed is not a problem.

      • Maxim∑

        These improvements aren’t huge and seem kind of over hyped… Overall just disappointed with 4.4 on my nexus 4… Considering the note 3 or something

        • mikeym0p

          It’s an iterative update. What did you expect from a .1 interation? There isn’t much more we need from the OS at this point in time.

    • dapoktan

      I wonder why I bothered getting a Nexus 4.. I was so excited when I got it. I had gotten sick of playing with launchers and flashing ROMs… Having the latest android features updated to my phone seemed like a dream… sigh…

      I dont see why anyone would get the Nexus 5 or next one… esp since companies like Moto seem to be working a lot harder to get their customers the updates than Google ever will.

    • Mr ilheis

      Just install the GEL and you’ll be good to go!

    • MicroNix

      This is exactly why getting all hyped up over an *OS* upgrade is getting more and more silly. Sure, some things are cool, but its the Google app updates that actually matter the most. After all, this isn’t iOS.