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Android Cellphones Handhelds Operating Systems Software Upgrades

Android KitKat Released 358

Posted by timothy
from the happy-hallowe'en dept.
First time accepted submitter taxtropel was one of many readers to note that Google has officially released its newest version of Android. taxtropel extracts from the announcement: "Today we are announcing Android 4.4 KitKat, a new version of Android that brings great new features for users and developers. The very first device to run Android 4.4 is the new Nexus 5, available today on Google Play, and coming soon to other retail outlets. We'll also be rolling out the Android 4.4 update worldwide in the next few weeks to all Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 devices, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play Edition devices." Reader SmartAboutThings adds: "Almost all of the features that the Nexus 5 comes with are not a surprise, since they were heavily leaked before. Still, for those that have obediently waited this day, here are some of its most important specs: 2.2Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 800 and 2GB of RAM, 4.95-inch 1080p display, Wireless charging, 2,300 mAh battery, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac WiFi and NFC; Gorilla Glass 3, Front 1.3-megapixel camera and 8-megapixel sensor on the back with optical image stabilization (OIS)."
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Android KitKat Released

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  • yum (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    is there a dark chocolate version?

    • Re:yum (Score:5, Informative)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @03:31PM (#45293467) Homepage

      In not-unrelated news: You can get a Nexus 5 for half the price of an equivalent iPhone.

      Does nobody apart from me see that as newsworthy?

      • by the_B0fh (208483)

        Isn't it more interesting that you can get a Nexus 5 for half the price of an equivalent Galaxy S4 or HTC or Experia?

        What did everyone say when Microsoft decided it was going to make the Surface tablets...? Something about OEMs bitching or other?

        • Yes it is.. specially since Nexus 5 is made by LG which is also cheaper than Moto X which is made by Google's own company

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by nospam007 (722110) *

        'In not-unrelated news: You can get a Nexus 5 for half the price of an equivalent iPhone.

        Does nobody apart from me see that as newsworthy?'

        It's their main weapon. That and surprise. And an almost fanatical devotion to the pope.

        And slashvertisements.

  • by donut1005 (982510) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @03:24PM (#45293397)
    When iOS7 caused trouble for iPhone users, I heard audible Snickers.
  • I wonder.. (Score:2, Informative)

    I wonder if it will continue to randomly turn off the Nexus 4, like 4.3 does.

  • Looking for something to replace my not so gracefully aging N900. God what I wouldn't give for a phone with a pressure sensitive screen that can run mypaint, decent battery life, and can run linux or commonlisp.
    • by magic maverick (2615475) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @03:34PM (#45293489) Homepage Journal

      Android is Linux. Maybe you want a GNU/Linux with X? Names matter.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No, Android is not Linux. Neither is GNU/Linux. What he's asking is if we can install our own god damned kernel, regardless of who provides the userspace. Intent matters.

        • by Nemyst (1383049)
          There are dozens of kernels available for each phone out there. You can't just install any kernel, but you can most definitely make your own that'd work with your device, it's just a lot of work.
      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        You can run a full Linux build chrooted under Android. You can also install Ubuntu Touch on the Nexus 4. Close enough?

    • I have a 4, and it's pretty solid. Suggestion: buy the 16GB in a month or so after the 5 has been out. Lots of people will probably upgrade.

      Just note that the 4 was sold in a couple of different flavors (AT&T, Tmobile, and Google store.) I'm pretty sure the straight Google one is the preferred/most capable, but double check?

      • I don't know about "most capable," but the Nexus 4 was a Hell of a lot cheaper straight from Google!

        (Right now, T-mobile's web site wants $427 for a Nexus 4 16GB -- although in fairness, they're offering a "free wireless charger ($60 value!)," so there's that...)

        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          Crap-weasels. Several suppliers here in Canada are doing the same. I asked one of them why and they responded "because we actually have stock". Supply and demand I guess.

    • by nadaou (535365) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @04:10PM (#45293863) Homepage

      As another poster pointed out, Android already is running the Linux kernel. If you want the GNU-ecosystem OS on top of the kernel all you have to do is install a chroot environment like "Lil' Debi" and you're done. (requires root)

      https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdid=info.guardianproject.lildebi&fdpage=13 [f-droid.org]

      Same goes for those very nice and very cheap long-life Chromebooks.

      People give RMS lots of grief for calling "it" GNU/Linux, but he ain't no fool. Linux can be many things besides the kernel for the GNU OS, and see the Debian ports for the familiar GNU environment running on BSD, and yes, Hurd kernels instead of the Linux one.

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        Need an X server! My kingdom for a decent xserver on android then I wouldn't care. I'd just write lisp and serve it up on my wd mybooklive.
        • by exomondo (1725132)

          Need an X server! My kingdom for a decent xserver on android then I wouldn't care. I'd just write lisp and serve it up on my wd mybooklive.

          There is an x server implementation for android here [wordpress.com] which is mostly complete.

  • Dear Mr Moore... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bob_super (3391281) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @03:28PM (#45293435)

    The mid-range laptop on which I'm typing this comment is out-specced on all fronts by this phone (save for keyboard and day-long readability), and it's barely 6 years old.
    Nice.

    • by glwtta (532858)
      Heh, "barely 6 year old computer" is somehow both adorable, and also really sad.
    • I think laptops are going to take a hit this year. Phones and tablets have gotten very fast and capable, and unlike laptops, can now be used during takeoff and landing.

      I have a decent Windows laptop and a Chromebook, but haven't touched either since I got a tablet, then later a Note 3. I still use a desktop PC all the time, but not a laptop.
  • I just ordered mine and it can't complete the transaction yet, saying the servers are very busy and it'll email me the receipt shortly. Shipping date is Nov 8. Since my current phone is barely working and is held together by force of will, I really look forward to this. :)
    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      I thought they were sold out. They all became "Add to Wishlist" only after about 25 minutes.

      • by kbrannen (581293)
        I guess I got lucky then. :) When I look in the orders for my account, along with all the android apps I've purchased over time, the Nexus 5 is listed at the top with an Nov 8 shipping date. Still no receipt yet, but I'm really hoping they don't email me back and say "sorry, but you're on a wait list".
      • I got in before they became "add to wishlist," but almost an hour later the Play Store website is saying "Order not completed It is taking a little longer than normal to process your order. We will let you know via email when your order is complete. This can take up to 15 minutes." and Google Wallet says "Pending." I don't know if I should be worried or not...
    • by Shados (741919)

      Google's shopping experience is very naive considering the kind of talent they have in house. Then again, getting theoretical computer scientists to make a shopping cart is a recipe for disaster =P

      Its very, very buggy and can't take load very well at all

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        I've never had a problem. I bought the Nexus 4 and said afterwards that it was the fastest $400 I'd ever spent. A friend texted that they were available again. I hit the site, bought and paid for it in under ten seconds. Sometimes things shouldn't be that easy ...

        • by Shados (741919)

          When the first batch of Nexus 4 came out (which is when I bought mine), it was so bad that it was all over the news.

          The server would tell you they were sold out, Google would post something saying that they were NOT sold out, but the site was dying. Every time you tried to check out you'd get a different error message or randomly your card would just get cleared.

          It was really, really bad. It took them a VERY long time after that to get them back in stock, and by then the hype had died down a lot.

    • by nblender (741424)

      I would have dearly loved to order one; in fact got one in my cart and everything. Seller does not ship to Canada though... Pity.

  • Is the apps firewall working?

    That's the killer feature for me.
    So [bleep]ing tired of apps asking the right to send unlimited SMS or take over my contacts just to provide an egg-timer...

  • the name (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sootman (158191) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @03:39PM (#45293535) Homepage Journal

    I still think it's cheesy to use a brand-name food as the OS name, instead of a generic name.

    Otherwise, looks neat. :-)

    • I think you mean Cheez-It-y, amirite?

    • Maybe Google figured out it could better monetize Android using product placement.

      I look forward to Android 5.8, Eli Lily Brand Insulin Shot (TM).

    • Names are meant to be memorable, and version names are supposed to denote sequence. This does both and actually works better, I can't remember numbers easily. What's cheesy about it? And there is still a number. If you really hate it, you can just call it android 4.4.
    • by Tarlus (1000874)

      Everyone's got their themed code names. OSX uses (or used) felines, Ubuntu uses alliterative and alphabetical animal appellations, Debian uses Toy Story characters, etc. I think it's fun.

    • Re:the name (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PiMuNu (865592) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @08:03PM (#45296081)
      Interestingly, the word KitKat originally derives from pies made in London. The KitKat club, deriving its name from originally meeting in a certain London pie shop, was a social centrepiece of the whig oligarchy that managed the UK government in the early part of the 18th century, and also one of the first institutions to introduce the concept of copyright, thanks to support from Tonson, a publisher and lobbyist for the publishing industry. It is not clear whether there is any relation between KitKat confectionery and KitKat pies, however.
  • by stewsters (1406737) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @03:46PM (#45293627)
    1080p screen? I wish I could get a laptop for $500 with that.
  • I have a Galaxy Nexus at the moment which is having problems, and will need to replace it soon. My only real complaint about it (other than the crappy service from Sprint in my area) is the battery life. This thing seems to have the same size battery, but I understand that some phones will have "extended battery" cases available (where you buy a bigger battery and a new backplate that fits it). Will there be a thing like this for the Nexus 5?

  • by MarcoAtWork (28889) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @03:55PM (#45293721)

    Why is it that so few smartphones have replaceable batteries nowadays, it is such an environmentally irresponsible thing to do. Kudos to Samsung for still having them in the galaxy series, but seriously, every phone (and laptop) should have it. Wish Apple hadn't started this trend (for a company that supposedly prides itself as being environmental too...)

  • by lma (109377) * on Thursday October 31, 2013 @03:56PM (#45293735) Homepage
    I love the Google phones with one exception: lack of storage. Google devices don't have microSD expansion slots, and the maximum storage sizes are small. If you're going to have small built-in flash sizes at least have an expansion slot. Or if you don't have an expansion slot, at least have versions with large storage options. HTC has a 64GB version of the One, for example. Apple has iPhone models with 64GB.
    • by hojo (94118) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @04:19PM (#45293941) Homepage

      Agreed.

      I am using a Galaxy S3, 16 GB built-in, and then I added a 64 GB SD card to it. I refuse to downgrade my storage capacity on a new phone. The amazing capacity of this thing is simply a killer feature.

      I'm running Cyanogenmod on this thing and it flies, is stable, and has no shitware installed.

      These two things have become my new standard for what I want:

      1) Is it open enough to get a fully functioning Cyanogenmod update?
      2) Does it have SD expansion?

      That's it. All the hyper-resolution stuff is meaningless for a four or five inch display. Just give me that badass storage capacity and an uncluttered OS!

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by swb (14022)

      Isn't that "the Google way" though? You're supposed to store all your shit in the cloud so they can index it, sell you stuff and share it with the NSA.

      Of course, I'm using an iPhone 5S, so I don't have any expansion at all, but at least I have a 64GB model so it hurts a little less.

  • Google wallet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @03:59PM (#45293765)
    I'm surprised there's still nothing about google wallet. I heard some speculation that with kitkat, they were going to announce a way to use it on any phone with NFC (without the secure element the carriers refuse to allow).
    • Re:Google wallet (Score:5, Informative)

      by radicalpi (1407259) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @04:20PM (#45293957)
      They have more specific details about Kit-Kat on the Developer site. https://developer.android.com/about/versions/kitkat.html#44-hce [android.com]
      • by mythosaz (572040)

        I too am concerned here.

        My one regret about buying the HTC One Google Play edition was the lack of Google Wallet support - which I didn't realize until it was too late.

        Android 4.4 devices that support NFC will include Tap & Pay for easy payments using HCE.

        It'd be nice if that quote were inclusive of the HTC One; and it might be...

        With HCE, any app on an Android device can emulate an NFC smart card, letting users tap to initiate transactions with an app of their choice — no provisioned secure element (SE) in the device is needed

        Here's hoping!

    • Re:Google wallet (Score:4, Informative)

      by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday October 31, 2013 @08:16PM (#45296191) Homepage Journal

      I'm surprised there's still nothing about google wallet. I heard some speculation that with kitkat, they were going to announce a way to use it on any phone with NFC (without the secure element the carriers refuse to allow).

      Nexus 5's support Google Wallet tap & pay, even though the device doesn't have a secure element. Since the carriers were arguing that giving Google exclusive control over the secure element was "the problem", it would seem they no longer have a basis for refusing to allow tap & pay. So, it should be the case that any Android 4.4 device with NFC hardware (which is most of them) should be able to do tap & pay.

      It's worth pointing out that the Google Wallet app has other features besides NFC payment that work on all phones, including iOS. You can use it to see your transactions (e.g. online stuff) and to send money to people via e-mail, and it also is where you see and redeem Google Offers.

  • by Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @04:54PM (#45294285) Homepage
    I figured Google was "all-in" on WebRTC and vp9/opus, but a year later it looks like they still haven't added support for it to Android.

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