I love that Android's KitKat includes older Android devicesAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Google seems to be playing a big part in the mobile industry this month, with the rumored release of the new Nexus phone and the new Nexus 10 tablet coming at us sometime in October. With the exception of the new Nexus 7 tablet, which was released earlier this summer, the Nexus line of devices are some of the most highly anticipated devices to unveil each year. Since most of the devices we expected to see in 2013 have already been announced and released (except for the iPad) it's clear that the Nexus devices are going up against some stiff competition. But along with the release of two new pieces of hardware, we are also expecting to see the release of Android 4.4 (KitKat) at the same time.
It's exciting when a platform comes out with a new major update. Although you would think 4.4 would still be classified under Android's version "Jelly Bean" since 4.3 and below also fall into that software version, you know it's going to be something significant if they're willing to change the software's name instead of sharing the same moniker as the rest. While we don't know exactly what KitKat has to offer, it's always interesting to see speculations and leaks when they pop up, which I've been seeing an influx of lately. But aside from any leaks or rumors that I've seen about KitKat, the most exciting thing to me about this software update is just the fact that Google is thinking of the older devices rather than just the newer ones.
The main selling point of KitKat so far is to prove to users who still use older Android devices that just because their technology seems outdated doesn't mean that it's irrelevant - even old technology can still be put to good use. The update is reported to use lower specification requirements, so presumably a number of older Androids are going to be part of this huge update. Even Google themselves are quoted by saying:
"It's our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody."
I find it admirable. Most software updates are known to slow down older devices; that's just how technology normally works. As a piece of hardware ages, it grows closer and closer to barely making the cut for "minimum requirements" when the next software update rolls out. Software updates are generally optimized to run on newer hardware, not only because technology advances so quickly, but also because it helps boost sales of newer devices. But optimizing software to work well on all types of platforms benefits more people rather than only favoring those who purchased newer devices; the people who use older devices are included and the people who use newer devices should be able to run the software fantastically. Everybody wins.
I admit, at first I felt a bit entitled. I felt that since I paid a lot of money for this device I should be getting the most out of it. New updates should be catering to me because what else am I going to use this stuff for? But once I got over myself I realized that Google is taking a step in the right direction. Just because a software update is new doesn't necessarily mean that it has to use all of the latest and greatest technology in order to run well. I mean, look at Windows Phone. I've never owned one myself, but I have spent a considerable amount of time with them in stores, and I admit that it probably has one of the most user-friendly UIs that I've had the pleasure of using. If you check the specs on your basic Windows Phone device, you're not going to find some crazy powerhouse under the hood. In fact, it's going to look pretty 2011 under there, and yet it still manages to run so smoothly and beautifully. Perhaps that's where Android is trying to go with KitKat, and I'm actually starting to embrace it.
That being said, I'm actually really looking forward to KitKat and seeing all of the changes that Google made. It might not be as big of a leap as Apple took with iOS 7, but it's still something worth looking forward to for a lot of people.
Readers, what are your thoughts on KitKat? Are you excited for its release? Do you have an older Android that you hope to receive the update on? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!