Alleged photos of Android 4.4 KitKat emerge

September 23, 2013
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Images of what is supposedly a redesigned version of Android showed up in the inboxes of several Android blogs. Are they real?

kitkat photo tip feature

Over the weekend, a tipster sent to several Android blogs, including this one, images of what he (or she) claims to be Android 4.4 KitKat. According to the anonymous tipster, he snapped the shots from the Nexus 4 of a friend.

Android Authority received only the shot of the homescreen below, while 9to5Google and Android Police received three more.

Android 4.4 supposedly brings small design changes to the operating system. Our mystery tipster summarized the changes like this:

  • flat icons
  • semitransparent navigation & status bar
  • top right icons change colors
  • different lockscreen apps background
  • redesigned phone app

At first blush, the photos don’t show any obvious giveaway that they are fake or that they represent something else than claimed. However, there are several small inconsistencies that cast some doubt on them.

The first image (click to enlarge) allegedly shows the homescreen of Android 4.4 KitKat, with a stock wallpaper, the translucent notification and navigation bars, and a set of flat icons in the dock.

kitkat photo tip 1

It’s no secret that Google is moving towards a flatter design throughout its offerings, from the Search page, to Google Now, and Android. But any prankster worth his salt probably knows that too.

According to the tipster, the battery, signal, and wireless icons change their color to match the predominant color of the app in focus. It’s unclear though why the clock remains white at all times. Another inconsistency is the fact that the notification bar in the Messaging app looks to be solid green. Similarly, the background of the navigation buttons is solid black in the dialer app, and translucent in the others.

The design of the dialer app and the messaging app appears to be quite plausible. The appearance of Mr. Jingles in the messaging app could point to some sort of integration with Google Plus, but it’s hard to emit a judgment with so little proof.

Finally, the “K” icon in the left hand side of the notification bar differs from the Key Lime Pie debug icon we’ve seen in the leaked screenshot of the Korean keyboard app. Google reportedly used the KLP codename internally until the official announcement of the KitKat deal, but the date of the build in the shot precedes the KitKat announcement.

Some commenters pointed out that Paranoid Android ROMs let users change the color of the icons in the notification bar, but, due to a bug, the clock remains white regardless of the picked color.

There are many inconsistencies about these pics, but no dead giveaway that would mark them as fake. With that said, this could be a non-final build, and Google has been known to make consistency errors before.

We won’t venture to call these shots real or fake for now, though there are some clues that make it smell fishy. What’s your take?

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