By S21, 4 Nov 2013
Each version of Google's Android operating system has been named after a dessert or sweet: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. Now, in a deal with Nestle, Google has named the latest release KitKat.
KitKat (Android 4.4) brings voice commands to the forefront. In this release of Android, your device is always listening for you to talk to it. Just say "OK Google" when on your home screen or in Google Now to launch voice search, send a text, get directions or play a song.
The new phone app automatically prioritises your contacts based on the people you talk to the most. The Caller ID will now try to match unknown incoming callers against businesses with a local listing on Google Maps.
The new Hangouts app displays all of your SMS and MMS messages together in the same place, alongside your other conversations and video calls.
If you enjoy adding smiley faces to your messages, you'll be pleased to hear that Emoji, the colourful Japanese characters are now available on Google Keyboard.
The new immersive mode automatically hides your status bar and navigation buttons while listening to music, playing games or watching videos. Just swipe the edge of the screen to bring them back into view.
The music player now displays full-screen album art when listening to music. The device also shows movie art when projecting movies to Chromecast.
Printing support has been improved, with direct printing to supported printers that have apps in the Google Play Store.
KitKat also brings new performance improvements when multitasking.
Android KitKat features include:
- Bluetooth MAP support
- Chromecast support - enjoy your favorite online entertainment, from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and Google Play on your HDTV
- Applications that embed web content now use Chrome to render web components accurately and quickly
- Android now supports closed captioning and subtitles
- If you ever lose your device, you can find or wipe it with the Android Device Manager
- Fullscreen wallpapers
- HDR+ photography mode
- Remote control of TVs for devices equipped with an infrared (IR) blaster
- Battery-saving modes for GPS and Wi-Fi location-based services
- New architecture for NFC payments
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