If you had asked most anyone with an interest in wireless which version of the Moto X would be the first to receive Android 4.4, the Verizon model probably wouldn’t be high up on the list of responses. After all, Big Red isn’t exactly known for issuing software updates in a speedy manner. That’s why Motorola has taken many folks by surprise in announcing that the Verizon Moto X is getting its Android 4.4 update starting today. The Verizon-flavored Moto X model is the first variant of Motorola’s flagship to be bumped up to KitKat, and it’s even managed to beat devices like the Google Play edition HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 to the latest version of Android.
So what can Verizon Moto X owners expect to find once Motorola breaks off their piece of Google’s KitKat bar? Along with a bump up to a newer version of Android, they’ll be getting a better phone dialer with the ability to search for contacts, new gallery effects, a “Find my phone” Touchless Control feature and quite a bit more. The full list of changes provided by Motorola looks like this:
- Android™ 4.4, KitKat®: Android 4.4, KitKat, is the latest release of the Android platform. KitKat includes enhancements such as restyled status and navigation bars, a new full-screen mode, color emoji support, improved closed captioning support, stronger security, smarter power use, and more tools and capabilities for better app development.
- Phone dialer: Improved the phone app with the ability to look up contacts directly from the dial pad, see and tap frequent contacts, and search your corporate directory easily.
- Camera – Focus and exposure: Enhanced the “touch to focus” option with a new circular, on screen control that can be dragged by your finger around the viewfinder to adjust a photo’s focus and exposure.
- Gallery – Photo editing: Added new photo editing options to the Gallery app including new filter effects, draw on your photos, advanced cropping, and adjustments to color, exposure, contrast and more.
- Hangouts -SMS/MMS support: Incorporated a new version of Google Hangouts that supports integrated SMS/MMS messaging. Hangouts can be set as the default SMS app under Settings > Wireless > Default SMS app.
- Touchless Control – “Find my phone”: Added a new “Find my phone” command to Touchless Control. Just say “OK, Google Now-find my phone” and your Moto X will ring loudly to let you know where it’s hiding when you’ve misplaced it nearby.
- NFC – Host card emulation: Enhanced support for NFC Host Card Emulation (HCE), to improve experiences such as contactless payments, loyalty plans, transit passes, card access and more.
- Accessory support: Added support for Square credit card reader.
Verizon Moto X owners that haven’t yet gotten an update notification can check for their helping of KitKat manually by tapping Settings > About phone > System updates. Oh, and you Moto X owners on other carriers shouldn’t get too worked up about the Verizon model getting its Android 4.4 update first. Motorola says that it’ll have more Moto X KitKat news to share soon, so the updates for other operator-branded Xs may not be too far off. Stay tuned.