Google has been busy releasing updates to its Android operating system lately, and thanks to a post on their website dated June 20, users of Nexus devices can now download the latest build of Android 4.4.4 KitKat.
It has been just a short few weeks since Google released Android 4.4.3, and now 4.4.4 is out in the wild. This release will no doubt please users of Google Nexus devices because they will be able to update their device right now, but millions of other Android users will have to wait until their carrier of choice decides to release (if ever) the new update. This latest update really showcases the problem that Google has with their mobile OS, and highlights the ever present problem of Fragmentation within the Android universe.
The 4.4.4 update includes some fairly important security updates, so one would hope that carriers would be keen to get the new software on to as many devices as possible, but we all know that this is not the case. The latest version of Android includes fixes that pertain to the recent Heartbleed hack that came to light just a few weeks ago.
The changelog that accompanies the update shows that there has been an update to OpenSSL's early CCS issue, a fix to the OpenSSL Heartbleed test, and a CTS test for Heartbleed vulnerability in the SSL socket. This information will probably not mean a whole lot to many, but these are important updates to the operating system that is known for is ease of hacking and malware.
Besides this recent update, Google are planning big changes for Android starting with the next major release of the software. Google are expected to announce Android 5.0 (aka Lollipop) during the Google I/O conference, which will be held next week. The major change to the operating system will be in regards to the way the software compiles code from applications. Right now Android uses a system known as Dalvik to compile data from applications, and without it programs would not be able to run. While Dalvik is a good way to compile data, a even more efficient way has been developed, and it is known as ART (Android Run Time).
Android Run Time has been present in the last few versions of Android but it has only played a bit part role. There have been a lot of teething problems with the new way of compiling data, and a lot of current applications are not compatible with it, but Google now believe that ART is ready for prime time.
What does this mean for the average consumer? ART will make your Android device run faster, and it will make your device more efficient, which will in turn lead to better battery performance. What does ART mean for Android power users who like to tinker? It means things are about to get more difficult when it comes to unlocking your device, and installing custom operating software (ROMS). Google it seems, are trying to bring an end to the hacking and development community.
If you use a Nexus device such as a Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, or Nexus 10, you do not have to wait for the over-the-air update. You can simply go to Google's developer website to download and install the latest version, or you can wait until the update hits your device. The update is being pushed to devices as we speak.
Source: Google, Android Authority