Oct 11 AT 12:18 PM Dustin Earley 66 Comments

Huge leak details changes coming to Android 4.4 KitKat

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 12.38.42 PM

As we inch ever closer to the rumored October 14 (or 15) unveiling for Android 4.4 KitKat, we’re seeing more and more leaks detailing the update. Today, we got our most in-depth look at KitKat yet, giving us a great idea of just what kind of changes Google has in the works.

Leaked by TuttoAndroid, the Italian blog seems to have gotten its hands on a bona fide Nexus 5 running the latest unreleased version of Android. According to the blog, there are a lot of visual changes, but that’s not at all. Google is adding some new functionality to KitKat as well, including at least one really cool change coming to Google Now. Here’s an easy to digest rundown:

  • The notification bar is now transparent, and features white icons.
  • The navigation bar is transparent as well.
  • Also transparent, the app drawer.
  • Widgets are gone from the app drawer, now available with a long press (again).
  • The messaging and gallery apps are gone, replaced by Google Photos and Hangouts.
  • There’s a new phone icon.
  • You can access the camera from the lock screen by pulling a small camera icon left.
  • There are dots showing you which homescreen you’re on.
  • You can add more than 5 homescreens.
  • The new icon for the app drawer matches the Google Now bar.
  • There are several new wallpapers.
  • KitKat borrows its boot animation of the Google Play S4 and One.
  • You can say “OK, Google” from the homescreen to activate Google Now.

As you can see, a lot has changed. And that’s just from a quick hands-on of a possibly unfinished release. Google has kept the same overall look of Android from Ice Cream Sandwich to Jelly Bean, but has managed to breathe new life into what some were starting to consider a bit stale. The new homescreen looks absolutely gorgeous, and the added ability to call up Google Now like on the Moto X is killer.

TuttoAndroid also threw out some information on the Nexus 5 it has running KitKat, and seems to be impressed. Noteworthy details include a bright vivid display (previously referred to as dull and washed out by another leaker), it’s more squared-off, lighter and faster than the Nexus 4, the rear-facing stereo speakers sound great and the image stabilization on the handset works well.

If you weren’t excited for the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 yet, this should help. I know I’ll be buying one on launch day, as will several other Android and Me staffers. How about you?

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 12.38.42 PM 4-copia n5-apps n5-lockscreen n5-lockscreen2 n5-lockscreen31

Source: TuttoAndroid

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    I like, I really like. Nexus 5 couldn’t come any sooner.

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      • Ripp

        I always click at hidden comments, because im curious….who else does this? Isnt it the opposite of whats intended for?

        • Ð’.Цой

          Yes, same here, but then I vote them down :)

      • TAN5150


    • julia12

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      • TAN5150

        You suck

      • F4


  • rashad360

    I like these changes, definitely an improvement. I especially like the hangouts app swallowing messaging, we are one step closer to a true sms replacement!

    • surg3d

      Yes!! Can’t wait til Google Voice rolls into Hangouts as well.

    • Steve Barry

      So how is this going to work exactly? People with 4.4 will have SMS and Hangouts integrated. Say you’re using 4.4 and you have a friend using 4.2.x or 4.3. You open up Hangouts to send them a message…does it go to them via Hangouts they have installed or does it get delivered to them via SMS?

      • Alexander

        Actually new Hangout will also be available for Android 2.3+

      • Joshua Talley

        Ideally you won’t have to figure this out; Google will do it for you. If I was a designer of it, the default would be SMS. If that was undeliverable, I’d try data, then swap until it was delivered.

        • hari

          so hangout going to work like winphone8 messages… ability to switch between sms and chat..

        • Steve Barry

          And that makes total sense, but as you said…ideally. I’m wondering if that’s how it’s going to be or is this how we think it should be?

  • MrMrMan

    I don’t particularly like the replacement of the gallery and messaging apps.

    • mike

      there will always be Quickpic (better than the current gallery stock anyways)

    • Eli Gaffke

      Leave gallery as it is. I use Handcent for texting. So unless hangouts is totally awesome I don’t care. Stupid name too.

  • mattcoz

    I would imagine that Google Photos and Hangouts would not be AOSP, so the Gallery and Messaging apps can’t be gone completely. Also the Gallery should still be part of the Camera app.

  • Belig1234

    Looks like iOS 7

    • rj

      I think you mean it the other way around

  • http://nickedynick.blogspot.com Nickedynick

    So what icons are between Google+ and Hangouts in the launcher? I have a load of apps installed on both my Nexus 4 and 7, but these two icons are next to each other on those.

    • vforvortex

      Its probably some 3rd party installed apps that the leaker did not wish to reveal. Similar to how the leaker blurred out the weather widgets to not reveal their location.

  • Nate B.

    I jammed my finger trying to reach out and grab the phone.

    No, but I am really looking forward to it. I was hoping for a 13mp camera, but 8 is fine as long as it’s a quality one. They have to keep the price down some how.

    • QDiggity

      By having a 8MP camera instead of a 13MP camera, that’s probably how they’re keeping it low. I was also hoping for a 13MP camera, but I suppose one could purchase the Galaxy S4 GPe for that.

      Regardless, I’m going to purchase this phone asap!

  • Carl

    “If you weren’t excited for the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 yet, this should help.”

    Do a few refreshed wallpapers and transparent panels drive purchasing decisions these days? Yes, “a lot has changed” but these are all superficial visual tweaks. There is nothing substantive here to get excited about.

    I’m sure there will be some nice functional updates, but the enthusiasm over this isn’t warranted.

    • vforvortex

      I agree. I am hoping the launch sheds light on more important advances like a nexus watch; google’s intentions with the tv platform; and more advances in google now and maps enhancemets after the waze purchase.

      i am looking passed the spec wars now also, because its more about optimizing with what you have. Regardless, since my current phone is almost 3 yrs old, i am due for a new phone.

    • John Bailey

      I would say being able to call up Google Now from the home screen by saying “ok Google”, better location settings, and sms integration via hangouts a functional upgrade, and these are just the features that have been leaked. Keep in mind that El Goog always throws in a huge surprise whenever they launch something new, so I’m trying my best to be patient til Tuesday (if they truly announce/reveal the new OS and Nexus that day)…. can’t really judge till then but I love what I see thus far.

    • F4

      I agree – i want to get excited about these changes (especially with the KitKat name) – but feel like it’s lacking. Not that I’m complaining but I’m hoping my socks are blown off.. I know I’m just impatient and just want 5.0 with at least one brand new feature and not just upgrades to previous features…

      Also not crazy about google photos and the auto integration with Google +. Then i have to worry about which photos are public and which are private.

  • Sudeepto Dutta

    As per the wallpaper on the phone , this phone may be called the NEXUS 5 .

    You know which wallpaper I’m talking about :)

    • Carter Porier


    • John Bailey

      Ahhh it does look like a 5…. like how the Nexus 7 wallpaper looks like a 7…. good catch!

  • SGB101

    I’m just hoping that it hits the nexus 4 price point!

    • vforvortex

      rumors suggest it will, and also predicting the 32gb will sell for $399. I hope google unveils some accessories too at the same time, like their wireless charging dock. maybe something similar to the moto x skip, unless the nexus is compatible with that also.

  • peekay5000

    I just hope kitkat hits my gNex soon enough, cause I pretty sure it’ll be atleast a few months before the nexus5 reaches my country (if at all) :’(

    • Nexus is my Jesus

      i hope so too, if the other rumors are correct about the optimization feature, we will see this on most phones that got the update to 4.0 and beyond from last year to now

  • Diabsoud

    Guess we’ll know in a bit…am due for a phone change myself…

  • RoyalJoker

    I’ve been waiting on this some time. I am one of the unlucky few that dropped my nexus 4 about a inch and a half and the screen cracked(in a case) can’t wait till the release

    • BD1971

      Yeah right. In a case .1 1/2 inches. Is that what you claimed to try and get it replaced for free.

  • honourbound68

    Dear Santa,

    I know this is an early Christmas wish which doesn’t yet include winning one of the prizes for the 25 days of Christmas from A&M. But, could you please bring the Nexus 5 to Verizon at the same price it’ll sell at the Play Store? Thanks.

  • Paul Atreides

    I like what I’m seeing except the wallpaper on the left and the nav buttons. I think the nav buttons could be a bit smaller but if they appear/disappear with a gesture I’d be fine with that. Overall think we’re in for something really nice.

  • smeghead68

    Meh…Doesn’t sound too exciting. The background on the phone looks like a pattern from one of my ugly ties in the early 90′s!

  • Chris

    UI needs huge overhaul every release looks the same wit minor tweaks

  • nmoline

    I agree with previous commenters there is not enough of an overhaul. Plus for the general Android public this is at a minimum of 6 months to a year away for their device.

    • Chris

      lol im downloaded and you’re up voted for agreeing

      • Chris

        lol im down voted and you’re up voted for agreeing

  • andrea *kisses*

    seems like a useless update, when 4.4 releases ios moves to 7.1, increasing the technology gap to 2.7 versions

    • SGB101

      Lol, so is the new play station 4, three generations newer than the X box one, and at the same time 354 versions behind the 360.

      It’s like comparing apples and oranges, they use different numbering patterns. Tbh I doubt even Google understand theirs.

      • EmagehtmaI

        Truth. In the last two years we’ve had Android 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3. Now we’re almost at 4.4, which gives us 8 updates, each more aesthetically pleasing and usable than the last. Compared to iOS which, prior to the release of iOS7, if you had given someone in 2010 an iPhone running iOS6, they’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between that and what was current then.

    • pjamies

      Guys, she (OR he) is an f’n troll!! Down grade her/him/it and move on!!

  • jphasson

    Rear facing speakers? Thought they were on the bottom?

    • Eddie D

      That’s the lg 2

  • xPurplexAnarchyx

    Sounds great with the exception of the speaker placement, they would be best on the bottom of the phone or on the front. Though I usually use my IEMS or headphones so it’s not a deal breaker. And I personally prefer rounded edges, hopefully there is a 32GB HSPA+42 with LTE band IV version.

  • Eli Gaffke

    Dots to show me which home screen I’m on? I have had that on my GS3 since it came out, and I can tap the dot for the home screen I want to go to. I didn’t realize that was a Touchwiz feature. Makes me wonder sometimes about rooting?

  • jazz tech

    I don’t expect a big change over the 4.4..but as the rumors suggest its a huge difference coming from the times of ICS and Jelly Bean.. As always been a Google fan for its simple and light interface I would defnetly go for the Nexus 5…To keep it Simple… Nexus for Life…

  • Charlene Attar

    You can access the camera from the lock screen by pulling a small camera icon left.
    There are dots showing you which homescreen you’re on.
    You can add more than 5 homescreens.

    Can already do all of those things ^ and i have 7 home screens.

  • Eddie D

    What’s with the fake polygon thumb in the last photo?

  • motilal seervi

    Buy sony Xperia Z1 receive 4.4 in November 7 ,Best mobile in the world

  • Eishu

    One of the most awaited android OS eagerly waiting for it and most amazing thing about it is that it is named as kitkat now lets see how sweet it is . . http://www.themobileos.com/2013/10/Android-kitkat-confimed.html

  • LittleDots

    The screen with the dots is not the home screen! It’s the app drawer (alphabetical order, no widget, no icon for the app drawer)

  • Nexus 5 KitKat
  • jamal adam

    I guess this leak wasn’t huge enough lol now that there is a 7 minute video. I’m so ******* excited about KitKat and the Nexus 5. I will be in smartphone paradise once they are released.

  • donger

    Give me kitkat.

  • hari

    hangout for sms looks like winphone8 messages feature.. fb chat + sms integration

  • Derek

    So, basically the best features are transparent notification bar and navigation bar…just like iOS7. Yay, Google!!!

  • AndroidAndFreak