When we got an exclusive look at Android 4.4 last week the software had more of a ‘Key Lime Pie’ feel to it than the ‘KitKat’ we were hoping for. The build was around a month old at the time of writing and we got the impression that Google had plenty of work to do and some polish to add before we saw the final version. Today, TuttoAndroid has gotten hold of new pictures which definitely depict a much newer and fresher version of Android.
The software is running on what looks to be a Nexus 5 to boot, in its final form and not hidden within a plain black plastic casing as a disguise. The images are grainy and a little blurry so we can’t ascertain much, but we can see the rounded top and bottom edges which match up with the phone being held by the Google employee at the KitKat statue unveiling a while back. Other than the central earpiece above the screen and a front facing camera to the left of it, we can’t really tell much about the new Nexus from these snaps.
However, the software displayed on the screen does reveal some interesting new details which Android fans will surely enjoy. There’s a couple of bright and colourful new wallpapers on offer for starters – something which was missing when we got hands-on with Android 4.4 last week – and some new visual tweaks.
The notification bar across the top has changed from black to transparent, leaving only the white symbols for battery, signal, Wi-Fi and the time in the top right corner. This looks pretty slick and we have to say, much, much better than the black bar in previous Android versions. Google has also removed the black background from the navigation keys area at the bottom, allowing the back arrow, home button and multitasking key to float above the background – again, much better.
In the app menus there’s little different from our screenshots, with the new additions of Drive and Google Photos on offer, though the Apps and Widgets tabs now seem to be missing.
Taking a look at the lockscreen shows some interesting changes, including the addition of a camera symbol in the bottom right corner. A swipe upwards of this launches straight into the camera app, and there’s also a shortcut for Google Now and a number of widget pages which can be swiped through.
Screenshots aside, TuttoAndroid’s source claims that Google will make Google Now much more responsive and intuitive in Android 4.4. As you can already do with the Moto X, users will be able to say “OK Google” to initiate a voice search using Google Now in 4.4. This will make search a hands-free experience and effectively means that the phone will always be listening.
Recent rumours suggest that the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 will be officially launched at an event on October 15th.