Internet giant Google has launched its next generation Android operating system KitKat, which features a revamped phone app and a new immersive mode. It also introduced the new Nexus 5 smartphone developed with LG.
Google said the new OS is aimed at bringing smartphone functionality to the world’s next 1bn internet users.
Ideally the OS will be used on a lot more phones – Google has slimmed down Android’s memory footprint by getting rid of background services and reducing memory consumption of features, including YouTube and Chrome.
Pointing out that RAM is one of the most expensive parts of a phone, Google said Android can now run comfortably on 512MB of RAM, which is commonplace on some of the most popular smartphones around the world.
“Bringing the latest goodies in Android 4.4 within reach for the next billion smartphone users,” Google exclaimed.
The new OS comes with some Google Now functionality that has been present on the Google Glass wearable devices – by saying to the device “OK Google” a voice search can be launched, a text message dictated and sent, directions given from Maps and a song on your phone can be discovered and played.
Nexus 5 smartphone
The new Nexus 5, developed specifically with LG to showcase KitKat, comes with a 5-inch full HD display and can connect with 4G/LTE networks and ultra-fast Wi-Fi.
The smartphone, which comes in black and white, will retail for US$349 for a 16GB version and US$399 for the 32GB version
Capable of wireless charging, the Nexus 5 comes with a SnapDragon 800 2.3GHz processor and weighs 4.8oz.
It has a 1.3MP front-facing camera and an 8MP rear-facing camera with optical image stabilisation.
The Nexus 5 comes with 17 hours of talk time, 8.5 hours internet time on Wi-Fi and seven hours on LTE.