Even though Google is yet to officially unveil Android 4.4 KitKat, a lot has leaked about the upcoming version of Android. Thanks to these leaks and rumors, we have an idea as to what new features and enhancements Android 4.4 KitKat will include.
With Android 4.4 KitKat, Google is all set to give Android a slight UI makeover. The leaks have already given us a glimpse of the transparent status bar with updated icons and the transparent navigation bar.
Rumors also suggest that Google will be revamping the launcher and giving it a new name – Google Experience. The new launcher will, apparently, allow for unlimited number of home screens and also include a screen dedicated to Google Now.
Google will also be refreshing the icons to give them a flatter look. The Widgets tab from the app drawer has also been removed, and in all probability, would be accessible in a manner similar to how it is done in Gingerbread running handsets.
Enhanced Google Now
Google is going to lay more emphasis on Google Now with Android 4.4 KitKat. Using the rumored Google Experience launcher, the company intends to make Google Now always visible and easily accessible from anywhere in the OS.
By making Google Now always visible, the company automatically increases the usefulness of Now. The current implementation is not exactly ideal and requires users to open Google Now to check for new or useful cards.
New Play Store
Google is also expected to unveil an updated version of Play Store with the hamburger style navigation drawer. The new version of Play Store won’t be exclusive to Android 4.4 KitKat though, and will be rolled out automatically to all existing Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich or higher.
Apart from this, the company is also expected to expand the devices section of the Play Store to a wide array of countries including Finland and Norway.
Hangouts with SMS/MMS integration
With Android 4.4 KitKat, Google is finally bringing one of the most requested features to Hangouts – SMS and MMS integration. All the leaks have already pointed to a missing Messaging app, and this post from Google on the official developer blog for Android is as good as it can get before the company unveils KitKat.
There is also a strong possibility of Google adding Google Voice integration into Hangouts in Android 4.4 KitKat, like it did with Hangouts on iOS in an update released earlier today.
Core apps coming to the Play Store
With Android 4.4 KitKat, I expect Google to decouple a lot of stock apps from the core OS and make them available on the Play Store. Rumors have indicated that even the new Google Experience launcher will be available and updated from the Play Store, along with the Camera app.
At this point of time, no one really knows when Google plans on officially unveiling the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat. Rumors and random theories on the Internet have pointed to October 21st, October 24th, October 25th, October 29th and October 30th as a possible date for Google to hold an event.
However, Android 4.4 KitKat OTA update won’t be available immediately after the event is over. Instead, it should be available for existing Nexus 4, new Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 owners once the Nexus 5 goes on sale, which should ideally be within a week or 10 days from Google holding the event.
Apart from Android 4.4 KitKat, Google will also be unveiling the hotly anticipated Nexus 5 and the new Nexus 10. The company is also expected to unveil the final version Chromecast SDK along with some apps that take advantage of the local content casting support like Plex.