Android 4.4 KitKat Begins Rolling-out to Nexus 4, 7 & 10

Posted on November 25, 2013 10:15 AM by Rob Williams

If you own a Nexus tablet or the Nexus 4, you may want to hit-up the system settings and check for an update, as Google late last week began rolling-out Android 4.4 ‘KitKat’ to those devices. One of the best parts about this is that the first-generation Nexus 7 is affected – a great thing to discover since I wasn’t sure Google had plans to target it.

Here’s KitKat’s colorful default home screen:

Android KitKat Nexus 7 Home Screen

KitKat isn’t what I’d personally consider a “major” OS upgrade, but it does offer a couple of nice features, such as wireless printer support, a messenger that combines Hangouts and SMS, improved cloud file support, a super-cool caller ID (which automatically does a Google search for unknown numbers), and, for those who love adding fun to their messages, emoji (seen in the bottom-left shot):

Android KitKat Nexus 7 emoji Android KitKat Nexus 7 Settings Screen

The use of emoji might be a tad limited, however, as when I sent an email to myself, Gmail on the device could interpret it just fine (as expected), but viewing the same email on the desktop revealed default blocks. An emoji font package might solve this issue.

As minor as it is, the change in KitKat I like the most is a color-change to the system icons; instead of the traditional blue, they’re now white. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve always been a fan of white-on-black color schemes, and let’s face it, blue is overused.

I’ve used my Nexus 7 a fair bit since upgrading to KitKat, but I can’t claim to feel a performance difference, though Google does note that some further improvements have been made there.

While Nexus users are usually the first to be treated to the latest version of Android, other companies are quickly following-suit, such as Sony, Samsung, and Motorola. If you have a fairly recent model Android device, you may want to do a quick Google search to see if KitKat is en route.

  • Santiago Martinez R

    Well, being 11:10 mst of Nov 25 2013, in México my Nexus 4 says there’s nothing new yet.
    So, let the waiting continue

    • Rob Williams

      It’s not unlike Google to do a gapped rollout like that. I’ve seen “one month” mentioned in the past with other Android updates, but hopefully you’ll see it sooner than later.

      • Santiago Martinez R

        Well well. It already happened. Just a moment ago I got the KitKat update, so thanks for the advice.

        • Rob Williams

          Haha, it turned out to be MUCH sooner than later, nice!

  • zacharyt1122

    I’ve been using 4.3 on my Nexus 10 and it’s been just fine. Heck I’ve still got 4.2 on my phone and I see little advantages to 4.3 over it. The jump from gingerbread to ice cream sandwich was the best yet, and until they overhaul it again the minor upgrades to a new number won’t seem so must have.

    • Rob Williams

      Android 4.1 was a substantial upgrade because of its implementation of Project Butter, but since then, all of the upgrades have been rather minor. 2.x or 3.x > 4.x was a major leap of course, but there was some required fine-tuning after that.

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