July 3, 2014
The people responsible for naming roll-outs at the Android office must have a sweet tooth. The journey that started with Cupcake has reached KitKat 4.4, with many expecting it to be Key Lime Pie. But no one is complaining as long as the versions keep getting delicious.
The 0.1 jump in the version numbering does not do KitKat much justice. Its smoother UI, enhanced calling and messaging features, and a better Google Now are surely going to amaze you. They have tried to give Google Now a Siri-esque feel, but that is a dream too far-fetched.
- If you think that Android cannot compete with iOS7 in terms of graphics and fluidity, you cannot be more wrong. KitKat has a very light and crisp feel to it. Typically, a white Google followed by 4 circles greets you when you boot up. The amazing thing is that the boot-up time has been considerably reduced. On the home screen, the status bar is now white and the Roboto font is much slimmer and fitter.
- If Google is aiming at using every pixel of the machine, it has surely hit the bullyseye.
- If you are looking for changes in the drop-down menu, you will be grossly disappointed, as it is more or less exactly the same as in the preceding version.
- This is where the shit gets real. Whenever you touch the call app from the bottom dock, you will see that your frequently called contacts are easily accessible. Moreover, you will find a search tab right at the top that is suggestions-enabled, not letting you type more than three letters. The locations have also been integrated with contacts.
- The most-recently-called contact is at the top, followed by frequently-called folks and then the whole contact list. Google should change its name to Accessibility.
- In this era of WhatsApp and BBM, one rarely uses messaging; still, the changes in this app are startling. Messages have been integrated with Hangouts. If the targeted contact is online, messages can be sent via Gchat or Gmail; otherwise, messaging can be used.
- The status of the contact is visible when you tap on their name. The conversations are kept different – i.e., between messaging and Hangouts – even if they are with the same person. The Hangouts have a location sharing feature, which is great when you are meeting up with your friends.
Professionalism seeps in
- The days when BBM used to rule the professional business environment are long gone. Google has included the Quick Office app in this version, which enables you to edit Word, Excel, or presentation documents as well as store them on 15GB worth of Google Drive memory. You can also view PDF documents.
- Wireless printing has also been added into the OS using cloud computing. Now there's no need to take that thumb drive everywhere when you need to print. For this to work, a connection to Google Cloud Print is needed or an HP ePrint would also work. For better functionality, you can visit the Google Cloud Print website to make the necessary modifications.
- In regard to mailing, not much has changed: the bottom navigation bar is gone and a slide menu from the left has been added to enhance the accessibility.
- In the last few versions, Google has tried real hard to make Google Now as interactive as Siri and has succeeded to a certain extent. You can slide up the home button to launch it, and to initiate voice search, all you have to do is say, “OK Google.” The voice response is pretty good, and any misinterpreted words can be tapped to pull up other word suggestions.
- Customization options are very limited. The next logical step would be integrating Google Now with local apps, allowing it to access their data and enhance the user experience.
Google Now has been improved significantly, while the contacts app is much more refreshing. The Hangouts interface does leave a bitter taste in the mouth, but as a package KitKat is surely going to create waves.
The latest version of Android has really cranked things up a notch. KitKat is a sure recipe for success and all Android users will be able to rejoice in iOS 7-like functionality with much more freedom. It beats Windows and BB10 without breaking a sweat, and if the improvements come thick and fast, it will surely surpass Apple as well.
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