Android v4.4 KitKat is the latest sensation in the tech world drawing attention from developers, enthusiasts, mobile phone makers, promoters and end users alike. The new KitKat has a series of advanced features including better power efficiency and voice recognition. But the hidden features tend to create an enigma about this long-awaited next-gen mobile OS from Google.
Certain users and developers will find these features to be major ones and quite useful. Some of these hidden features fall in the category of refinements. However, all of them have not been highlighted in the press or by Google. The following list exposes 7 hidden features that make this Android OS even more fascinating.
1) Deep Linking Search
A search for anything will provide a link that is most relevant to that topic. For example, if you have installed the OpenTable app, a search for a restaurant provides a direct link to the website of the restaurant. On the other hand, if you search for a recipe, the result will take you into the AllRecipes app in place of the regular mobile site. Deep Linking is a major hidden feature in Android KitKat and it is going to bring big changes in the way users interact with their phones and tablets. In the past, the searches took users to outmoded mobile sites.
2) Ok, Google
The “Ok, Google” feature comes from Moto X-exclusive and it enters in a conversation with the user for clarification of user search intentions. For example, it will not just ask you which “Sarah” you need to search but whether to call her mobile phone or work phone. The speech recognition feature has already improved by 25 percent as compared to the Android OS available last year.
3) Quickoffice comes Included
Lots of other features of android 4.4 have been publicized. However, the inclusion of Quickoffice has remained unrevealed and sidelined by most promoters and news carriers. This MS Office document editor is included in Android v4.4 – in both upgrades and new installations. The app may have been available for download for Android and iOS users for some time now, but with KitKat there is no need to download it.
4) Hidden Settings for Display of Battery
If you can make a few changes in the system settings of KitKat, the status bar starts displaying the battery percentage. The tweak involves pushing certain commands into the phone through ADB. However, you can find an app that makes the tweak quite easier. Google has long been reported to be working on this feature, but a few techies at XDA Forums have claimed to make a few tweaks in the settings to display the battery percentage in Android 4.4.
5) Optimized Storage for Apps
Google has made special efforts to reduce system demands on internal storage. This enables even devices with 1/2 GB RAM to run smoothly. Storage optimization affects all the apps beyond Google’s own domain comprising of YouTube and Chrome. This feature in Android 4.4 KitKat can be used by every application.
A new API has been offered by Google so that developers can make their apps work even with lesser internal storage and deactivate functions that require lots of memory. The new Android OS comes with a developer’s option, “Process Stats” which is a graph for storage usage.
6) UI Customization
Most users have not noted, but Google has revamped the customization of the UI in Android v4.4 KitKat. This allows developers to take advantage of an entirely new range of design tweaks that helps them improve how the apps look and work.
Enter the full-screen Immersive mode and hide all the system elements when running apps. For example, the navigation and notification bars could be hidden. This enables the apps to blend perfectly into the background without causing any difficulty in viewing the content. The level of transparency could be adjusted at the individual level.
7) Central File Management
Google introduces a new framework in Android KitKat for presenting all the data on your device, whether it is a photo, text or a document. The basic UI brings together different apps such as Dropbox, Drive, the gallery and the download folder in one place, displaying all data in a neat overview.
Alix Ranson is blogger for Maxwell Construction Software. He likes to blog about mobile technology, reviews and updates in Smartphone applications.