The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is showing some movement in the android-3.10 branch of its source code repository. While nothing it definite for now, it could be signs that Android will soon be moving towards a more recent Linux kernel version and away from the year-old 3.4 kernel currently in use.
As the Linux kernel is the very heart of the Android system, replacing is not as simple as updating an app or even something like Google Play Services. The process gets even trickier considering Google applies its own set of patches and tweaks to the source code. Although Google tries to keep the kernel updated as much as possible, there hasn't been any major change ever since Android 4.2 was released with Linux kernel 3.4 in tow. There were some talk of the Linux kernel being bumped to version 3.10 back in August, when the next Android version was still thought to be Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. Now that we know Android 4.4 will be coming soon, when exactly that will happen is anyone's guess.
It might be possible that Android 4.4 KitKat could be running a 3.10 kernel. However, almost all leaks still point to a 3.4 version. Given the gravity of switching to a different major kernel release, it is highly unlikely that more recent and final Android 4.4 builds would suddenly be using a substantially different kernel. The new 3.10 kernel is expected to bring, aside from the usual security fixes and improvements, better ext4 filesystem support, 64-bit architecture, and, perhaps more relevant, better big.LITTLE ARM architecture support. It is no wonder then that Andorid users and developers, then, would be eagerly anticipating this change.
Still, the code commits don't really tell us when the switch will take place, only that it is currently already being actively worked on. While this could still take one or two major Android releases, it is just one of those changes that will really need time to be prepared and tested slowly and surely.
VIA: Android Police