Google has started rolling out the first maintenance update to Android 4.4 KitKat. While most eyes have been focused on Android 4.4.1’s fixes to the Nexus 5‘s camera features, lurking beneath the hundreds of changes are clues to the future of Android support for Chromecast.
The folks over at Funky Android have generated a lengthy list of the changes between Android 4.4 and Android 4.4.1, comparing the changes in the source code found in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository. While the changelog is quite lengthy, majority of users, especially owners of the Nexus 5, will be interested in how the update addresses the issues related to the smartphone’s camera performance.
CyanogenMod developer Koushik “Koush” Dutta, however, also discovered something both interesting and somewhat discouraging at the same time. Patches in 4.4.1 bear some new Application Programming Interface (API) that can be used for broader mirroring from Android to Chromecast. At the moment, mirroring Chrome tabs is the only officially supported, albeit beta, method.
The discouraging part is that the API documentation says that it is not for use by third-party applications, implying that it is reserved only for Google’s or OEM’s use. We’re still hoping that Google will open up this feature in the long run in order to push Chromecast adoption to a broader range of devices and a wider audience.