Features & A Look at Android 4.4 KitKat
The Nexus 5 has multiple features that make it stand out in the very overcrowded smartphone market, so we'll touch on a few of those now.
KitKat has pushed in a bunch of changes to Android, but to the majority of users, most of them will be unfelt.
The status bar at the top of the OS is now transparent, which lets pictures and movies take up the entire 1920x1080-pixel screen. Google has used bigger icons, and tighter text, with the Roboto font still at play here. The icons do feel cleaner, sharper, and easier on the eye, but that gorgeous display sure does help. Android 4.4 KitKat also introduces some Google Glass-like voice commands, where you can just say "OK Google," and then ask it something such as: "what will the weather be tomorrow?," and voila -automated goodness.
The phone dial has been revamped, which looks nice, and matches the robotic feel of the rest of the Nexus 5 experience.
Google deployed a heavily-modified Hangouts app in KitKat, which is now your default SMS application, too. I'm quite a fan of Hangouts, as I can use it on my desktop or notebook, and shift to my mobile while my conversation continues. As for the default SMS app, it isn't the best, but Google is moving in the right direction with Hangouts.
Google Now has a little more magic in KitKat, and on the Nexus 5, where it's accessed by swiping to the left from the home screen. The usual Now magic happens in there, but you can still access it by long-pressing the Home button, and swiping up.
The lockscreen has received some update love, and now features much less clutter. You can also access your music-playing app of choice from the lockscreen, if it's compatible. I use Spotify, and can access the last song, pause/play, next song buttons from my lockscreen.
Accessing your widgets can be accomplished by long-pressing any blank space on your home screen, where you'll be greeted with the option of changing your Wallpaper, adding a Widget, or accessing Settings.
Google has pushed in the Photos app as your default app for all things pictures and videos, versus the older versions of Android, which featured the Gallery. The Gallery is still there, but not for long. Photos, once you're used to it, is so much better.
There are some cool features like "Google+ Auto Awesome," which will patch some pictures together into an "Auto Awesome." Auto Awesome will stick a few quickly-snapped photos together, or it will sprinkle some snow onto a picture near Christmas -a nice touch from Google.
Sharing something, whatever it may be, is so much simpler on Android compared to iOS, which is something Google is really driving home in KitKat. You can quickly share it to your Google+ account, if not, you've got a bunch of other options to share it, depending on the apps you use and have installed.
The search giant baked some serious improvements into KitKat, and before it was released, they were bragging that the OS required much less RAM than previous iterations of Android. But, when there's this much hardware inside the device -a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM- is it necessary? Not for the Nexus 5.
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