Andriod 4.4 KitKat Feature List. Should I Upgrade or Wait?

The Question

I like to stay in involved in the iOS and Android worlds.   My primary tablet is a Nexus 7 and have been extremely happy with it.   I have run into some issue when upgrading in the past with with my MKV player and HBO to go failing to work after the upgrade.    I spend a surprising amount of time trying to figure out what was in this KitKat 4.4.   I will share the feature list and some of my results from testing the new features

 Feature List

I compiled this list mainly from  The descriptions were taken word for word.    I am trying to make a quick easy to read list.  I then reviewed each of the features that mattered to me on my first gen nexus 7, and put my notes in the feature review section.

Feature Description Feature Review Videos
OK Google You don’t need to touch the screen to get things done. When on your home screen* or in Google Now, just say “Ok Google” to launch voice search, send a text, get directions or even play a song. At first I tried to speaking Ok Google but it would not respond.  I then started to yell at my device,  still no luck.   Once I click on the search button Ok Google starts working.    This works fairly well,  response was quick and accurate. Video
A Work of Art While listening to music on your device, or while projecting movies to Chromecast, you’ll see beautiful full-screen album and movie art when your device is locked. You can play, pause, or seek to a specific moment.  I will need to pick up a chomecast to use this
Immerse Yourself The book you’re reading, the game you’re playing, or the movie you’re watching — now all of these take center stage with the new immersive mode, which automatically hides everything except what you really want to see. Just swipe the edge of the screen to bring back your status bar and navigation buttons.  I opened the Kindle App and it seemed to hide everything.   I am fairly sure this app has always done this in the past.   As long as I do not notice this feature it is working well.
Faster Multitasking Android 4.4 takes system performance to an all-time high by optimizing memory and improving your touchscreen so that it responds faster and more accurately than ever before. This means that you can listen to music while browsing the web, or race down the highway with the latest hit game, all without a hitch.  Its hard to tell if multitasking is fast,  I am going to say it seems to be a bit quicker but that may be just because I am expecting it to be.
New Phone App The new phone app automatically prioritizes your contacts based on the people you talk to the most. You can also search for nearby places and businesses, your contacts, or people in your Google Apps domain.  On a tablet did not check
Improved Caller ID Whenever you get a call from a phone number not in your contacts, your phone will look for matches from businesses with a local listing on Google Maps.  on a tablet did not check
Hangouts Update Never miss a message, no matter how your friend sends it. With the new Hangouts app, all of your SMS and MMS messages are together in the same app, alongside your other conversations and video calls. And with the new Hangouts, you can even share your location and send animated GIFs.  I find hangouts to be awkward to user on the tablet.   I am curious if they will ever integrate Google Voice into it, until then it will not be opened much.
Emjoi Sometimes words can’t express how you feel. For that, there’s Emoji, the colorful Japanese characters, now available on Google Keyboard.  I did not know anything about Emjoi until now, these are neat.   They are in the emoticon key right on the google keyboard.
Printer Support Now you can print photos, documents, and web pages from your phone or tablet. You can print to any printer connected to Google Cloud Print, to HP ePrint printers, and to other printers that have apps in the Google Play Store.  It detected my HP and printed with no issue from QuickOffice.
File Management From apps like Quickoffice, you can open and save files on Google Drive, other cloud storage services, or your device. And with quick access to recently used files, it’s easier than ever to send the file you were just working on.  It seems okay but I am still partial to ES File Explorer
QuickOffice For those of you looking to go deeper, here’s an exhaustive list of all the updates found in Android 4.4, KitKat.  It seems alright but the only productivity tool I use on my tablet is evernote.  I may spend some more time digging into Spreadsheet in the future
Bluetooth Map Support Android now supports the Message Access Profile (MAP) so Bluetooth-enabled cars can exchange messages with your devices.
Chromecast Support With your Android device and a Chromecast, you can enjoy your favorite online entertainment, from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and Google Play on your HDTV  Need to buy a Chromecast 🙂
Chrome Web View Applications that embed web content now use Chrome to render web components accurately and quickly.
Closed Captioning Android now supports closed captioning and subtitles. To turn on closed captioning, go to Settings > Accessibility and turn on Captions.  Did not test
Device Managment If you ever lose your device, you can find or wipe it with the Android Device Manager
Download App The Downloads app has been redesigned, giving you new sorting options and list and grid views for all the files you’ve downloaded.
Home Screen Switching If you love to customize your device and have installed one or more home screen replacements, you can switch between them easily in Settings > Home.
Email App The redesigned Email app has a fresh new look with nested folders, contact photos and better navigation.  I love the new email app.   I am sure everyone has gotten used to it by now.
Wallpaper Your wallpaper now extends through the notification tray and system buttons. And when you change your wallpaper, you can preview just how it will look before you set it.*  Did not test
HDR+ Photo HDR+ mode on Nexus 5 automatically snaps a rapid burst of photos and combines them to give you the best possible single shot. Daytime pictures are vivid with clean shadows, and nighttime photos are sharp with less noise.*  Did not test
Infrared Blaster On devices with an infrared (IR) blaster, Android now supports applications for remote control of TVs and other nearby devices.  Looks like I need to wait for someone to write the Harmony Application for me.   Seems to be a SDK addition at this point.
Location Quick Access Access your location settings from anywhere with a new tile in Quick Settings.
Location Modes and Monitoring If you want to conserve battery, go to Settings > Location to switch between high accuracy and battery-saving location modes. There’s no need to toggle GPS, Wi-Fi, and mobile network settings. And to see which apps have recently requested your location, go to Settings > Location.  Did not test
Low Power Audio Playback Android 4.4 on Nexus 5 lets you listen to music for longer – up to 60 hours of audio playback.*  This maybe just for nexus 5
Lock Screen Music and Movies Jump to a specific part of a song or video from your lock screen. Just long press on the play or pause button and then select the point you want.  This did not work with Spotify.  I only use Spotify for music on my device.  I tried Netflix as well and the playback stops at the lock screen.  I do not have any music/video that I purchased through play so I cannot test those.    Add this for Spotify would be a win!
Secure App Sandboxes Application sandboxes have been hardened with Security-Enhanced Linux.  Did note Test
Step Counting When you use fitness apps like Moves on Nexus 5, the phone acts as a pedometer to count steps. Android 4.4 and updated hardware make this a more battery-friendly way to measure your activity. Did not test
Payments Android 4.4 introduces a new, open architecture for NFC payments that works with any mobile carrier, and lets apps manage your payment information in the cloud or on your device. Now you can tap to pay with Google Wallet or other apps at more than a million stores.  Did not test


I update to 4.4 without any major issues.   Some of the new features are good but they do not make or break the device.   My MKVs still work through MX player.   I do not have HBO To Go at this point.  I will renew when Game of Thrones starts back up.   There seems to be mixed results on that application.  If that is one of your go to apps I would wait until there is an official upgrade.   I will try to find someone that has an account and do some real testing on HBO To Go soon.


I tested HBO To Go on my Nexus 7 with KitKat 4.4.   There were no issues it worked perfectly.   I would not wait on this upgrade now that I know that app works.


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    The Question I like to stay in involved in the iOS and Android worlds.   My primary tablet is a Nexus 7 and have been extremely happy with it.   I hav
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