Android 4.4 KitKat optimized for wearables and low-end phones, leaked document claims

October 31, 2013

Android 4.4 kitkat Google HQ Mountain view

A new report based on purportedly leaked Android 4.4 KitKat document reveals that Google’s intention with the new mobile operating system is to make it available to low-end devices but also to wearable gadgets. Other features are also briefly described.

The news was published by former Wall Street Journal Amir Efrati, and sort-of resonates with a previous report from the publication that said Google’s “K-release” Android version will be compatible with older devices and other devices than just smartphones and tablets.

Efrati has obtained the information from a “confidential file that Google shared with the companies that make Android devices to explain the most important new features.”

The document apparently reveals that Google wants KitKat to “work well” on low-end phones, just as it would on high-end devices:

KitKat “optimizes memory use in every major component” and provides “tools to help developers create memory-efficient applications” for “entry-level devices,” such as those that have 512 megabytes of memory, according to the document.

In addition to running on older devices – the kind of smartphones and tablets that have never made the jump to Jelly Bean for example – Efrati speculates that KitKat will run on wearable gadgets including smartwatches and Google Glass, considering that the OS will support new types of sensors that seem to be related to wearable devices: geomagnetic rotation vector, step detector and step counter.

Android 4.4 KitKat

Furthermore, KitKat will apparently offer users new NFC functionality, allowing developers to “’emulate’ physical cards that let people make payments, earn loyalty rewards, enter secure buildings and public-transit system,” without requiring access to a secure element.

The document has also revealed that “Google wants your Android device to be a [TV] remote control,” which means support for infrared-based actions will be included in KitKat. Of course, this isn’t the first time we hear that KitKat will have TV-related features, is it?

Finally, the Bluetooth-related features will also receive a “boost,” Efrati says:

Google wants Android apps to be able to interact with a wide variety of devices using Bluetooth technology. Those devices include joysticks, keyboards, and in-car entertainment systems. In KitKat, new support for something called Bluetooth HID over GATT and Bluetooth Message Access Profile will allow Android to talk to more devices than before.

With all that in mind, we can’t but wait for Google to confirm these features in the near future. We’ll hopefully be back with more details very soon.

Comments

  • N5

    I wish that will happen!
    Hope it will come to my Thrill 4G and all the other ‘forgotten phones’…

    • phuongot

      Written and attractive bepdientuduc.vn/bep-dien

  • ConCal

    I’m excited to hear what else is new.

    • adam evans

      Indeed, sounds like a much more exciting update that. 4.3

  • makapav

    Let’s see if the Nexus S and Motorola Xoom get this update. Then they would have put their money where their mouth is.

    • joser116

      Nexus One ^_^. It would be super cool if Google shows the Nexus One running Kit Kat.

      • makapav

        The Nexus One does not have enough ROM space. So you’re out of luck. They are optimizing running memory not the size of the installation. So forget about it. Nexus S and Xoom are still well within parameters.

        • David Bowline

          The Nexus One has 512mb of ROM. So it may well have enough to get this update.
          I sure hope it does, because even with gingerbread it was one of the best phones out there .
          I love my N1!

    • Wozn2

      Motorola doing updates for anything older than 6 months.

      Man, I’ll have what you’re smoking! ;-)

      • makapav

        In all sincerity though, things have changed at Motorola now that their contract exclusivity for the Droid is over with Verizon. This is why they launched Moto X this year and I suspect you will see it turn a new leaf over the next 6 months.

        • Wozn2

          Yep, I know what you’re saying – we all hoped that the Google purchase would mean the end of old Motorola. Isn’t happening so far. Last November/December they were promising things had changed, but even now they are casting SIM free handsets made less than 12 months ago into the wild and leaving them on 4.1

          Moto have had all the chances I’m giving them.

          Goodbye moto.

    • Simon Belmont

      The Tegra 2 SoC in the Xoom doesn’t support NEON. That’s really the reason why Google quit updating the Xoom because Android 4.2 on up started requiring NEON support for things to work right.

      The Nexus S, DOES have NEON support, but I fear it’s 384 MB of system accessible RAM won’t be enough (128MB goes to the GPU). Of course, this won’t stop ROM developers from getting it to work on it.

      • makapav

        I did not know about the Xoom NEON support. It’s still pretty lame that such an expensive device lost support within a year and a half.

  • Ivan Budiutama

    “optimizes memory use in every major component”
    I like the sound of it

  • RanRu

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens when someone get ambitious and put 4.4 on the G1.

  • KK

    please be released today

  • Valtheus

    Are we gonna have a choice between vanilla KitKat and the original ROM… hmmm i wonder… and without rooting…

  • sreekar

    android will rule the mobile technology with kitkat sorry apple

  • Sakshat Shinde

    If KitKat would be able to install on Karbonn A6 like devices which are running then i will be the biggest fan of google inthis world

  • George

    Galaxy S with 4.4!
    That’d be awesome! :D

  • ProudToBePinoy

    It’s still depend on the manufacturer… isn’t it? am I wrong?

    • Ro

      I think that the date of update will depend on the manufacturers but the update will be global. I don’t think that any manufacturer wouldrisk to loose costumers by not bringing the update to older devices. Although you might be right :)

    • John Locke

      I think Android KitKat for low end phones will be a custom launcher.

  • Mobeen

    This is the first android update which is exciting me a lot….:)

  • Groud Frank

    “In addition to running on older devices – the kind of smartphones and tablets that have never made the jump to Jelly Bean for example ” – eargasm! I hope this is true! I am using devices running 2.3.3 and another running 4.1.2. As far as I am concerned the other versions can be skipped and just give me that Kit Kat! Let us hope these OEMs get serious.

  • Migz

    I hope that the low end there talking about is also available for Samsung Galaxy Y S5360 you know the very budget range of samsung.

  • hei

    cant wait for cyanogenmod having a kitkat version :)

  • sunita

    i have galaxy s advance, 768 RAM and 16Gb MEM android 4.1.2 will it update to 4.4