Google officially unwraps Android 4.4 KitKat and new developer tools

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Google has officially taken the wrapper off the newest version of their operating system, Android 4.4 KitKat. The first device to get KitKat will be the Nexus 5 announced today by Google with owners of all Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 devices getting the update over the next several weeks. Google also indicates owners of the Google Play Edition versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One will receive KitKat as well.

One of the key benefits of KitKat we have been hearing about is the attempt to make the latest version of Android run on lower and middle tier devices. Google confirmed this effort is part of the release of KitKat and is called Project Svelte. The memory footprint and management of several components of the operating system, all the way down to the kernel, have been optimized to be able to run “comfortably” on as little as 512MB of RAM. These optimizations even extend to specific apps like Chrome and YouTube.

Some of the other benefits of Android 4.4 KitKat targeted at helping developers produce better apps include:

  • a full-screen immersive mode that will enable developers to make use of the entire screen when creating apps;
  • a new transitions framework for easier animations between user interface states and a new web content implementation based on Webview built on Chromium;
  • a new, easier to use printing framework;
  • a new storage access framework that will work better with cloud-based storage services;
  • access to new, low-power hardware-integrated sensors like a step detector and step counter that will work even when the screen is off;
  • a new screen recorder utility that will enable the capture of high-quality video directly from an Android device, which can be combined with an adaptive playback offering for better streaming video;
  • Renderscript in the NDK for use in native code;
  • and a new system-wide captioning system.

Google is also releasing a new version of the Android NDK, r9b, for the use of developers. They also updated the support package to r19.

Check back for more details about Android 4.4 KitKat and what it offers for both developers and users.

source: Android Developers

» See more articles by Jeff Causey


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