With Google’s Input/Output (I/O) 2014 conference on the way next month (June 25-26), Android users can expect that the next Android update (likely Android 4.5 Lollipop) is right around the corner.
With Android 4.5 Lollipop imminent, we want to take a look back at all the rumors surrounding Android 4.4.3 KitKat, what we know, and what Android users can expect regarding the incremental Android 4.4.3 KitKat rollout before KitKat turns even sweeter.
Android 4.4.3 KitKat to fix Nexus 5, GS5 camera bug
Android 4.4.3 KitKat exists, and the incremental update was confirmed in March by tech enthusiast and Twitter member @LlabTooFeR, who wrote on his Twitter wall that “Android 4.4.3 is under testing,” while providing both the build number (KTU72B) and the goal of the small update: “probably it will fix known camera bug,” referring to the Nexus 5’s mm-qcamera-daemon bug, as seen in the following Nexus 5 screenshot:
The Nexus 5 camera bug is known for draining battery life significantly, and, in many cases, can only be dealt with by a phone reboot. Interestingly enough, Verizon’s Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is also suffering from a fatal camera flaw; for those who don’t experience the flaw, however, they are also subject to experience the same mm-qcamera-daemon camera bug that is found in the Nexus 5. Hopefully, the new Android 4.4.3 KitKat update will fix both camera software issues.
Android 4.4.3 KitKat details leak
The next tip we received came from a Google insider, who said that Android 4.4.3 KitKat would be a bug-fix update only (no special new goodies for now). The insider also says that we’re looking at Wi-Fi, camera, dropped data connections activation screen, app shortcuts security, Bluetooth, app shortcuts, Wi-Fi connect, MMS, email, missed calls, phone call, and other enhancements and fixes. A random reboot fix will also be supplied for those who find their device randomly restarts without prior warning, and it seems that Google has also been in trouble with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This is indicated by the label “FCC compliance fix” on the Android 4.4.3 changelog that reveals the nature of the incremental update. A screenshot of a Nexus 5 running Android 4.4.3 leaked, alerting us that the fabled update does exist – even if Google is keeping it secret for now.
Google employees are testing Android 4.4.3 KitKat
Early last month, a tipster leaked some events at Google Inc., revealing that Android 4.4.3 KitKat was currently in its dogfooding stage. Dogfooding is a term that refers to the testing of an Android update by way of individuals within Google, who weren’t part of the original update team. This means that Google employees who didn’t work on the update project are allowed to test each new Android update before it’s released to the public. It’s likely that Google would allow a small group of Google employees to see how good or bad the update build quality is before the release of another update.
Google updates edu device page, mentions Android 4.4.3 KitKat
It’s one thing for pictures to leak and insiders to spill details, but Google also mentioned the operating system on its Edu Device setup page: “support for Android 4.4.3 and Non-Nexus tablets,” an interesting statement indeed. Why would Google list this Android build if the Android 4.4.3 KitKat update didn’t already exist? Google’s Edu Device setup page, needing an early update by Google last month, shows that the search engine giant isn’t far from releasing the small update to its Nexus users, then the remaining Android user community (via manufacturers and carriers).
New Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition running Android 4.4.3 KitKat passes through Bluetooth SIG
The Google Play Edition of the Xperia Z Ultra (Sony’s 6-inch device) passed through the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) last month, with Android 4.4.3 KitKat on board. If the device passed through SIG last month, with the 4.4.3 KitKat update pre-loaded, then it becomes obvious that Google looks to announce this device while announcing the update altogether. It’s likely that we could see a small announcement about the new Xperia Z Ultra GPE. Google could also do what the company has done in the past with the new Xperia Z GPE and LG G Pad: release the products into the Google Play Store without making a sound.
Motorola introduces Moto E, mentions Android 4.4.3 KitKat in small print
Have you ever seen a small, fine print in commercials? It so happens that Motorola issued one of those recently. The company announced its Moto E earlier this month, a smartphone that provides timely updates, a P2i nanocoating that makes the Moto E splash-resistant, a Gorilla Glass 3 liquid crystal display (LCD), all for the affordable price of $129.99 off-contract (or $79 on-contract). In the Moto E commercial, Motorola places a statement in small print that mentions the device will come pre-loaded with Android 4.4.3 KitKat.
Motorola joined the list of 4.4.3 KitKat rumors, but we’re not surprised. Google still owns Motorola, and the official release of Motorola to Lenovo hasn’t yet transpired. Tech analysts say, however, that the release of the Moto E will be the last phone Motorola releases that has any Google influence whatsoever. According to Motorola’s design team, however, Google hasn’t been behind any of the company’s smartphone releases in the past year: “Google wanted us to be successful but never needed us to. I wish we had a special relationship with the Android team but before meetings I waited in the lobby like everyone else. We got treated like any other OEM. Google was very careful to not give us any special treatment,” said Motorola Software Engineering Vice President Steve Horowitz. As for how Motorola was able to ship out its Android 4.4 KitKat update to the Moto X before many Nexus devices were updated? “We’re not about making useless changes. This strategy lets us ship Android upgrades at a much faster rate than anyone else,” Horowitz said.
More confirmation from XDA developers: Android 4.4.3 dialer transformation imminent
XDA Developers got their hands on the latest Android 4.4.3 KitKat update and provided screenshots of the new dialer in 4.4.3, which looks rather different from the current Nexus 5 dialer app. The Nexus 5 dialer app in Android 4.4.2 and the new 4.4.3 KitKat dialer can be seen below:
Since XDA Developers are known for rooting devices, it’s clear that the rooting community can likely get their hands on the new Android 4.4.3 KitKat update. This isn’t a surprise; jailbreakers of iPhones often receive new enhancements to current features on iOS before Apple implements them in the next major update. The same can be said for the Android rooting community.
Samsung mentions 4.4.3 on its Twitter page
Samsung hasn’t been one in days gone by to provide quick updates, and the Note 3’s 7-month wait (and longer) with some worldwide carriers is an example of that (although Samsung’s not entirely to blame). Despite this fact, Samsung seems to be in on the Android 4.4.3 KitKat rollout along with Motorola and even HTC. On the company’s developer account, Samsung wrote the following words: “Here’s a workaround to solve issues with the ConsumerIRManager in Android version lower than 4.4.3,” mentioning the yet-unseen update as though it already exists and is in hiding. Apparently, Android 4.4.2 KitKat has shown some other bugs (in the ConsumerIRManager) that most consumers have yet to hear about. This bug, along with numerous others detailed above, look to be rectified in Android 4.4.3.
To add to the curiosity, Samsung’s already got the Galaxy S5 Prime prepared and ready for release. Somehow, a leaked screenshot of the Galaxy S5 Prime made its way across the Web, bearing the model number of the Galaxy S5 Prime (SM-G906A) with Android 4.4.3 as its Android version. The original Galaxy S5’s model number is SM-G900.
Google I/O 2014: Will it bring Android 4.5 Lollipop?
With all the Android 4.4.3 KitKat leaks presented, the question arises: is there an Android 4.5 Lollipop update around the corner? While Google has announced new Android updates at Google I/O before, the company hasn’t announced Android updates at Google I/O for some time now. Take last year, for example: Google unveiled the 2013 Nexus 7 at Breakfast with Sundai – a small event that had no more than a small room full of journalists and consumers. Alongside of the Nexus 7 (2013), Google announced Android 4.3 Jelly Bean; later that September, Google unveiled its 4.4 KitKat bugdroid statue that has become the symbol of Android OS. Google’s LG Nexus 5 became the first Android device to rock 4.4 KitKat, but this year changes things for Google.
Google’s sale of Motorola to Lenovo shows that the company is taking itself out of the phone manufacturing business – and with all the plans for Android Silver, the mega-manufacturer and mega-carrier program that’s designed to bring the best of vanilla Android to consumers, Google is spending more time commanding at the head of Android instead of competing against other Android OEMs. Google Play Editions may remain, but they’re still under the control of manufacturers; Google said from the beginning that manufacturers would still be responsible for updating GPE devices, even if Google sold them in the Play Store.
Earlier this year, it was said that the Nexus 6 smartphone would arrive this Fall and a Nexus 8 tablet could arrive as early as this summer (perhaps July, when the Nexus 7 arrived last year). However, new reports say that Google has squashed the Nexus 6 and Nexus 8, seeing that the company is walking out of manufacturing its own slates in favor of working to advance the Android platform as a whole.
Google’s also got its eye on other projects: it’s self-driving cars, drones, the Internet Project Loon initiative, robots and the creation of a robotics OS, as well as Google Glass, among other things. The company’s decision to join Instagram recently shows that Google intends to spend more time promoting itself via other social media channels other than its own Google+ social network. Vic Gundotra stepped down recently, though not because he chose to. Google decided that it would take the money from the Google+ project and give it to other endeavors the company believes are more important at this time. These are signs that Google is now thinking beyond the mobile market, concerned with how to remain at the edge of trending technology that may even seem “out there” in the immediate future, but could be a gold mine later on.
Because of all this, it seems that it’s best to assume that a Nexus 6 and Nexus 8 aren’t coming. With Samsung set to release its Galaxy S5 Prime this summer, alongside of the Galaxy S5 Active, Samsung’s GS5 Prime screenshot bearing Android 4.4.3 KitKat shouldn’t escape us. It’s a testimony to the idea that Google may not bring an Android 4.5 update of any kind until later this year. The Sony Xperia Z Ultra GPE device, the Moto E, and the Galaxy S5 Prime all bear the Android 4.4.3 KitKat designation. If Google intended to bring a new update, these upcoming phones would bear the new update (as normal). The fact that they only bear the incremental 4.4.3 designation shows that Android users may be waiting a while for the new Android 4.5 update.
Android 4.4.3 KitKat brings no new features to the wonderful world of Android, but it does optimize performance on existing Android smartphones and leads the way for Google’s future Android Silver program that’s set to launch in February 2015. As for this year, however, it’s likely that we won’t see a major update – simply because Google’s eliminating the Nexus line and, thus, an incentive for a new major addition of software features to Android. We could see Android 4.5 this Fall, but it is likely that, if we do see either Android 4.5 or Android 5.0, Google could also announce the Android Silver line at the end of the year. With a few months in-between the Fall and late Winter months, however, it’s doubtful that there’d be a need for a new update. Android Silver will likely usher in Android 5.0.
For now, however, we can anticipate the Android 4.4.3 KitKat update. Some consumers will take a lot more pictures once Google updates the Nexus 5 and does something about that camera bug. We here at Inferse will continue to bring you the latest developments on Android 4.4.3 KitKat and when you can expect to see it headed to your smartphone or tablet.