It looks like the new 4.4 KitKat version is the most significant upgrade for Android in a quite some time. It includes a massive array of new features. The above video is a DevBytes teaser for a small few of the new features. Here's a quick breakdown of many more:
- Now supports lower-end devices and can run on just 512MB of RAM.
- It will now have a new launcher.
- Translucent system UI styling.
- Enhanced notification access.
- Includes faster multi-tasking.
- More advanced caller ID.
- new white/gray color scheme and fonts.
- There is a new sensor batching technology. This is meant to cut down on sensor power consumption by grouping and prioritizing requests. Google claims it is now 25% more accurate, and can ask back for clarification.
- It will now have wireless printing functionality.
- Includes support for IR Blasters natively. It is limited to sending functions only for now. It can't learn or receive yet. This is probably just a feature that is in progress since it is mostly not very useful yet.
- Native screen recording and can output in MP4 format.
- Now supports Moto X-style "OK Google" voice commands. For now this only will work with the Nexus 5. Supposedly this feature is hardware dependent, although Google hasn't shared what is required.
- Bluetooth devices will now be able to control the system volume directly instead of having to adjust two different volumes.
- There is a new lock screen which includes a camera shortcut. You can also rearrange your homescreen.
- Built-in Chromecast support.
- Chrome web view.
- Full-screen wallpapers with preview.
- HDR+ photography.
- Location in Quick Settings.
- Low-power audio playback.
- Music and movie-seeking from lock screen.
- The NFC payment system doesn't require using the secure element anymore. It uses a software based emulation work around. Because of this, carriers can no longer use this as an excuse to not support Google's NFC payment functions.
There's still quite a bit more we didn't include, because the list would have been monstrous, but you can check out more at the source links below. It's amazing that Google just soft-launched this absolutely incredible and massive update without any kind of press show.
Source: Android Developers - Android 4.4 KitKat and Android.com