Google Launches Android 'KitKat' Software and New Nexus 5 Phone
(NEW YORK) -- While kids may get Kit Kat bars when they go trick-or-treating Thursday night, phone nerds are getting the KitKat operating system. Google on Thursday revealed the newest edition to its Android operating system family, KitKat, as well a new member of its Nexus family of devices, the Nexus 5 phone.
One of the features of the new KitKat OS is its faster multitasking ability, which at first doesn't seem like much of an improvement over previous systems. However, Amir Efrati, a former tech reporter for the Wall Street Journal, wrote a blog post earlier Thursday detailing why this actually matters.
"Google wants its new software to work well on low-end phones in addition to the more expensive Samsung Galaxy and HTC devices," he said.
Unlike Apple's iOS operating system, which runs exclusively on Apple products, Android operating systems work on devices from multiple manufacturers. By making KitKat more efficient with how it allocates memory, lower-end phones in developing countries may be able to run the latest Android system.
KitKat's other features are a little more tangible. When a device receives a phone call from a number that's not in its contact list, Google will look for that phone number among businesses listed in Google Maps.
In addition, KitKat will allow users to print documents and photos from their devices straight to printers as long as the printers have corresponding apps in the Google Play store.
Google's Hangouts app, which had updates announced earlier this week, will also appear in KitKat. The updated app will keep text messages, chats and video conferencing all in the same place.
LG partnered with Google to make the Nexus 5. The new phone, available in black or white, is available Thursday in the Google Play store. Among its improvements are its 5" HD display, optical image stabilization and HDR+ to ensure better photos, and voice commands activated by saying, "Okay, Google."
The phones will be available Thursday starting at $349, Google said. Amazon, Best Buy and Radio Shack will receive the phone soon, as well as Sprint and T-Mobile stores. AT&T will also reportedly offer the phone, while Verizon seems to have opted out.
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