Google is getting ready for an update to Android 4.4, according to reports. While this isn’t news to us, as we’ve seen KitKat’s newest version before, we’re now seeing the newest version of Android on a few more devices. Unfortunately, we’re not seeing it on enough devices to get excited about the effect it could have.

Issues with the Nexus 10 and KitKat 4.4.1 are known, and troubling. Google is also testing the update on a number of other Nexus devices, including the Nexus 4. Metrics from 9to5Google’s website show a variety of Nexus devices with the updated version of Android visiting their site. All stem from Santa Clara area in California, which is Google’s backyard — right next to Mountain View.

The 4.4 update is still rolling out to consumers, and there is no word on just what this update brings. We’ve heard a fair amount of complaints about KitKat, but nothing major. Android 4.4 has a variety of smaller tweaks on the back end, and a new runtime which feels faster on our reference devices, but it’s not as if they left December out this time.


For what it’s worth, we’d like to see the Google Now launcher on Nexus devices. The best part of the Nexus 5 is that swipe-to-the-left for Google Now, and it’s still only available for the new Nexus flagship. Now that the novelty of a new Nexus has worn, we’re hoping the update brings a few of the subtleties we enjoy about the Nexus 5 to more handsets. Even things as quaint as translucent backgrounds in the app drawer are nice touches.

An update, however, only complicates the fragmentation issue KitKat was supposed to solve. While iOS enjoys about 95% of users on the same OS version, the Android space is much more complex. Even when supporting a singular version of Android, the incremental updates only complicate the fragmentation issue. Unless Google has something new in mind for these updates, we’re seeing those impressive first run of adoption numbers becoming a lot less important.

  • thatjmax

    I wonder what the “not set” device is. As much as I want to upgrade to the 5, I’m still getting plenty out of my Galaxy Nexus.

    • Nick V

      Honestly, the 5 is infinitely beyond the Galaxy Nexus. I really enjoy using it more than any phone, which I also said about the Nexus 4, but the 5… That is just a freaking dream to use.

      • thatjmax

        Doesn’t take much to convince me to upgrade. I know the unlocked model is cheap, but I’m still saving my pennies. Hopefully after graduation next week I can afford it!

  • jimv1983

    What I’d really like to know is what 4.4.1 is going to include. I’ve heard that it will contain improvements to the camera. Although I don’t take a lot pictures I’d like the camera improvements. I’ve also heard there might be an improvement on speaker volume. Hopefully there will be an improvement to the vibration intensity as well.

    Overall I am VERY happy with my Nexus phone. My only complaints(and they are a minor annoyances at best) are the non-impressive camera, speaker volume that, at times, isn’t quite loud enough and weak vibration.

  • Subzer0

    meanwhile.. still on 4.2.2

  • MoDa222

    I side loaded Google launcher on my N7 gen 2 and Google now works flawlessly…(it also bothered me the the N7 didn’t have the same look and feel of my N5

  • ratnok

    We’ve heard a fair amount of complaints about KitKat, but nothing major…

    Yeah right. I updated to Kit Kat and it BRICKED my Nexus 4!!!!! Fortunately, I was still under warranty, so I’m getting my replacement Nexus 4 tomorrow. Still, what a PAIN!!! My next phone will be a Moto X 2.