Android 4.4 KitKat is, according to the general consensus, almost ready for prime time, and as such, we’re hearing new snippets of information at regular intervals. Today, it has emerged that version 4.4 of Google’s mobile software will not only bring support for the lower-end of the mobile market, but also offer compatibility to wearable gadgets, such as the search company’s purported smartwatch effort.
Of the big ecosystems, it is Android that sees the most frequent updates, but it’s a fair assessment to make that, on the whole, only the newest and most up-to-date devices (as well as those running stock Android) get to see an OTA in the short-term. Many of the market’s mid-rage and lower-end handsets are basically frozen out of contention for newer releases, with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean being a testament to that, but according to new info, Android 4.4 KitKat will be tailored to a much broader range.
Although Android 4.4 won’t be as obvious update to the end user as, say, the buttery-smooth Jelly Bean 4.1, it should not be disregarded as an incremental release. After all, it was only this week that we heard of robust support for TV as Google mounts its push on the general entertainment market, and to add to the notion of the summer that Android would soon be supportive of devices running only 512MB of RAM, it looks as though cheaper, less glorified handsets may be included in the 4.4 update.
The only caveat with this, is whether OEMs will actually bother to offer software updates to these older devices. After all, the Galaxy S4s and HTC Ones are the devices that generate the most money for the big names in manufacturing, and although a large proportion of consumers connect through Android on cheaper devices, it would be taxing both financially and in terms of labor to bring these lesser regarded handsets up to speed.
KitKat could also support wearable tech, and although Google doesn’t yet have a product to market in this category just yet, the company’s Glass project is coming along nicely. Couple that with the prospect of a spate of smartwatches from Apple, Google and others, and you can see how opening support for these kinds of devices with Android 4.4 makes a great deal of sense.
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