Android 4.4 KitKat to add better support for low-end phones, wearables, and TV
Android's KitKat operating system will be aimed at getting more Android devices on to the latest version of Android, according to sources talking just hours before an expected announcement.
According to website JessicaLessin.com, set up by the former Wall Street Journal tech journalist of the same name, Google will try to use the latest OS to combat fragmentation as well as to add a number of new features.
Amir Efrati, also a former WSJ writer on the site claims to have seen a confidential document detailing new features of the OS such as NFC support, better support for low-end devices, and being able to use your phone as a remote control for your TV.
"The document about KitKat that we reviewed, marked 'confidential,' makes clear that Google wants its new software to work well on low-end phones in addition to the more expensive Samsung Galaxy and HTC devices." says Efrati. "KitKat 'optimises 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."
Efrati also states, quoting from the same document: "The KitKat release shows that Google is preparing for the rise of wearable-computing devices. According to the confidential document, KitKat is expected to support three new types of sensors: geomagnetic rotation vector, step detector and step counter."
With smart watches heating up following the launches of devices from Samsung and Sony, getting unified framework will be important for Google if it wants to retain control over what is and what isn't supported.
KitKat will also supposedly allow developers to create services to allow phones to “emulate” physical cards that let people make payments, earn loyalty rewards, enter secure buildings and public-transport system. According to the KitKat marketing materials, developers will be able to emulate cards without keeping people’s information stored in the secure element.
Finally there are claims that the next version of Android lets developers build apps that control TVs, tuners, switches and other devices by sending infrared signals.
That last bit ties in nicely with previous rumours that suggest the new OS will have a much greater focus on Google TV.
With multiple sources saying that the Nexus 5 details, and presumably therefore Android 4.4 KitKat, will be announced at 6pm UK time, we shouldn't have long to weight.