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11/17/2013
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Google Pushes Android KitKat To Nexus Tablets

Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets will be upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat in the coming days.

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Google announced that it has begun pushing Android 4.4 KitKat to the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets. The operating system is first being made available to WiFi-only models in the US, with other models and locations to follow later.

According to Google, one of the biggest changes in Android 4.4 KitKat is streamlined code. Google cut down the complexity of the operating system so that it could be used on a broader range of hardware. The company said devices with as little as 512 MB of RAM will be able to run KitKat with most features intact. In other words, Google wants KitKat to work on entry-level devices better. That's a good thing.

This means the new operating system should run quite smoothly on Nexus tablets. The Nexus 7 has a quad-core, 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2 GB of RAM. The Nexus 10 has a Samsung Exynos 5 Dual processor with 2 GB of RAM. They have more than enough juice to get KitKat flowing.

[ Will KitKat work on Google Glass? Read Google Glass Update Precedes New Hardware. ]

Most of the other improvements are under the hood and meant for developers. They will be able to add printing functions to their apps and advantage of new animations, transitions, graphics acceleration, accessibility APIs, screen recording, and bezel-to-bezel apps. KitKat supports more Bluetooth profiles and bakes in support for IR blasters for controlling home theater equipment. The KitKat SDK is already available for download.

User-facing improvements in the OS include better notifications, a revised launcher, a new phone dialer app, improved device-wide search, and baked-in support for Google Now across the platform. There are plenty of changes to the home screen behaviors, as well as the main app menu, which has been dramatically simplified. For example, lumping together some of the controls for customizing the home screen panels makes them a bit easier to use. Google also made the icons a lot bigger, so they are easier to see.

The 2012 and 2013 versions of the Nexus 7 will receive the new operating system. In addition to the tablets, Android 4.4 KitKat will also be available on the Nexus 4, the Samsung Galaxy S4, and HTC One Google Play edition mobile devices in the coming weeks. (The Play Edition devices are flagship-grade hardware with stock Android on board, instead of the manufacturer's user interface). KitKit is preinstalled on the Nexus 5 smartphone.

One of the main benefits of owning a Nexus-branded device is having first access to the latest system updates from Google. This is a prime example of that benefit at work.

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earthling
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earthling,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2013 | 10:02:38 AM
Don't buy anything from google
Gov lackeys allowing snooping, don't buy anything from them.
danielcawrey
IW Pick
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
11/17/2013 | 12:04:53 PM
Re: Don't buy anything from google
I think that it is smart for Google to reduce the operating system complexity with this new update. The common adage is to progress an OS to push the limits of hardware. But they are taking a step back here in order to improve the user experience instead. Nice move. 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
11/18/2013 | 7:51:34 AM
Re: Don't buy anything from google
I have to agree with danielcawrey.  I see the move to run on a broader range of hardware to be a big step for mobile OSes.  We hear a lot of talk about the fragmentation in Android and Apple is getting good at dropping support for older devices as they release new OS versions.  I'm happy to hear that Google is trying to broaden the install base rather than narrow it down to marquee devices that they are trying to push.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
11/17/2013 | 10:27:05 PM
Re: Don't buy anything from google
Snooping may be allowed, but it's also lawfully required. And fighting back can be difficult. If you know of any email providers that don't provide data to authorities, I'd be interested to hear about them.
aditshar
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aditshar,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/18/2013 | 6:21:46 AM
Re: Don't buy anything from google
One interesting feature i recently realised was for the caller ID system  i.e. if an unknown number is calling, Android will take a guess at who it is using listed on Google Maps. But some how also see this as security breach.

Jimmy4theWin
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Jimmy4theWin,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/19/2013 | 1:18:18 AM
Re: Don't buy anything from google
Scribble that anti Google blurb on your iphone or ipad there chief?
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