Android’s new operating system, KitKat, will be available on some manufacturer’s smartphones but not others.
For those who don’t know, KitKat is the code name for Google’s Android operating system version 4.4. KitKat made its debut on Google’s Nexus 5 smartphone.
Google has made a tradition of naming its Android operating systems after various junk foods in strict alphabetical order. The Android operating system versions prior to KitKat were called Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. Many speculated that the KitKat was going to be named Key Lime Pie instead.
The KitKat gives us several improvements such as a neater interface with more translucency and faster multitasking. Google says: “A new storage access framework makes it simple for users to browse and open documents, images, and other files across all of their their preferred document storage providers.”
KitKat has NFC host card emulation so that you can use smart cards. It also has an improved touch-screen, low-power audio playback, a step counter, better printing options, better e-book reading, a smarter caller ID, a more intuitive messaging system, and HDR+ photography.
Google’s Nexus 5 is the first smartphone to run KitKat, but Motorola and HTC expect to upgrade some of their devices to the new operating system as well. KitKat is optimized for devices with lower specs.
HTC is committed to getting the 4.4 operating system onto its HTC One. It is expected that the HTC One Mini and HTC One Max will run KitKat as well.
Motorola’s Moto X will have KitKat, as will the Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx, and Droid Mini.
Sony will probably have KitKat on the Xperia Z and Xperia Z1, but has yet to make any definitive statement.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus will not be getting KitKat. The reason for this is that Texas Instruments developed the smartphone’s processor but has decided to drop out of the smartphone business since then. The Samsung Galaxy S4, however, is likely to get a KitKat update in the next few weeks.
LG makes the hardware for the Nexus 5, so it only makes sense that some of its smartphones will run KitKat as well. G2 is the only one that will for certain.
If they don’t make the Android KitKat available on your smartphone, you can still choose to “root” your smartphone–that is to say, you can hack your phone so that user-installed applications can gain privileged control, or root access.
By K. Elsner