updated 04:42 am EST, Wed November 13, 2013
Android 4.4 starts global rollout stateside, tablets first in line
Android 4.4 'KitKat' updates have started rolling out to Nexus 7 Wi-Fi-only and Nexus 10 users, according to Google. Users will be able to update their devices over-the-air, although Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 with mobile data are advised that their respective updates will be available 'soon.' Android 4.4 is the latest version of Android and comes pre-installed on the Nexus 5 smartphone, bringing with it speed and user interface enhancements along with new features.
The next devices expected to get the Android 4.4 'KitKat' update are the Google Play Editions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. Although effectively stock Android devices, each update for the Google Play Editions will be rolled out separately by Samsung and HTC and are expected before the end of November. However, users of most other compatible devices that run customized versions of Android, including the regular Galaxy S4 and HTC One may not see their devices updated until the New Year.
Android 4.4 has been optimized to use RAM more efficiently and can run on devices with as little as 500MB, while Google says its memory optimizations also help to boost app switching and multitasking performance. It also includes software enhancements designed to reduce touch input lag, while SMS and MMS are now rolled into the Hangouts app. Android 4.4 also delivers full support for the Google Chromecast, while application sandboxes have been hardened with Security-Enhanced Linux.