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The user interface changes include more transparency on some widgets and tiles and an overhaul on making different layers look consistent. This means widgets and overlay looks connected to the background and does not obscure other information.
The biggest feature in the long term is KitKat’s ability to run on almost every smartphone on the planet. Google has said KitKat 4.4 can run on smartphones with as little as 512MB of RAM and has worked on optimising every application on the platform to run smoothly.
Google has added new API’s for third parties to work on their apps for lower end smartphones. Android is obviously making waves in Asia and other places where low-end devices rule the roost, it is quite obvious this new change is in line with their new markets.
Features on KitKat include Host Card Emulation, a new NFC transactions platform allowing users to make payments, invest in loyalty programs, buy transit passes, and use other services. This is a big move by Google considering the Wallet failure in the US, perhaps this will be more widely adopted.
Google Cloud Print has now been added onto Android, allowing users to print off webpages and other third party application pages that utilise this technology. This is another move by Google to add their closed infrastructure to the platform.
Battery life is also a big focus, Google has added low power sensors and other APIs to make sure when a user isn’t doing anything the smartphone isn’t overloading with information and consuming a lot of battery life, this may lead to longer standby time on Android phones.
Google is also moving into the fitness program with a step counter and step detector. These two apps allow users to monitor their daily movements and the UI looks quite basic, we wonder if this is a hint at the Nexus smartwatch we have heard a little bit about recently.