Details about Android 4.4 and the Nexus 5 have been made public yesterday. When Google announced the next iteration of their Android operating system was to be called “KitKat,” it came as a surprise to a lot of consumers who were certain based on leaked images and the like it would take the name “Key Lime Pie.” Not much else was known about Android 4.4 at the time, however, one former reporter for the Wall Street Journal claims to have access to KitKat’s list of features. One of the issues that has plagued Android is its sluggishness. Google has addressed this with Project Butter in Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean.” However, Jelly Bean is currently running on fewer than half of all Android devices. The rapid release schedule of phones and tablets running on Android OS, as well as the frequent software updates pushed by Google, can also pose a problem for app developers who may not be able to utilize all Android has to offer if many of their target demographic audience does not have a phone which supports a certain function. Amir Efrati suggests Google will slim down the OS with "Project Svelte," the codename given to Google's initiative to reduce fragmentation of the Android universe. Its purpose is such that even older Android devices running on as low as 512MB of RAM can support the latest build smoothly by–in addition to a few technical, nerdy things*–actively protecting memory at a system level.
Touchless controls appear to making their way from being a Moto X-specific feature and into an Android cornerstone. The Nexus 5 supports this same functionality, initiated by the verbal command "OK, Google." KitKat will also let users create buzz words that will activate the Google Now search feature. Now... uh... now has the ability to respond to commands in order to clarify what exactly the user wishes to do. Joseph Volpe of Engadget gives an example, "This could be especially useful when directing Now to access contacts by first name. For example, saying 'Text Jennifer' could result in it asking you to specify, 'Which Jennifer?'" Other improvements have been make to Now, as well; reports claim search results are 25% more accurate.
In an effort to bypass wireless carriers' restrictions of the NFC mobile payment system called Google Wallet, KitKat will feature Host Card Emulation (HCE) which does not require access to secure elements in a phone's chipset. It is also known that KitKat's user interface will feature a transparent status bar (which may or may not appear black in many apps) and supports true full-screen functionality which, when utilized by an app developer, hides the notification bar completely. All of Android 4.4's features are available out-of-the-box with the Nexus 5, which is available on Google Play for $349 or $399 for 16GB or 32GB respectively.
*Project Svelte will utilize optimized Dalvik JIT code cache tuning, kernel same-page merging, and swapping to zRAM when resources are limited.