Android KitKat or 4.4 is the most recent version of Google’s Android smart phone operating system. It was released on the 1st of November on the Nexus 5 and has since rolled out to the other Nexus devices and is gradually being released on other Android phones and to the ROM community.
One of KitKat’s features is that it is lighter than previous versions of Android, needling less memory (512MB) and being better and more efficient at multiasking. If you have an Android phone that is less than a year old you may be upgraded by the carrier or your manufacturer and if you feel brave you should be able to root and ROM with KitKat.
Android as an operating system has an dark style overall favoring black or dark backgrounds with white text. The default text size is around 12 points and very clear. The default screens have apps and widgets on a 5 x 4 grid, meaning that they are well sized and spaced. All of these defaults are changeable if prefered.
Kitkat has decent accessibility options in general, those that are visual specific include Talkback descriptions of the screen, the ability to magnify any part of the OS with magnification gestures and text to speech available throughout.
KitKat has brought more voice controls to Android, with touchless controls. 4.4 listens for a (user settable) code phrase and accepts commands afterwards. For example this could be “OK Google, Call Jenny” or “Now, Note to self, buy milk” or “Google, what is 32/17?”, “Google, Email to Jeff, Subject Dogs, …..”. The feature only works if you set the phone to US English currently, which decreases the accuracy of the speech recognition but it has a lot of potential.
Android is a touch based operating system and is setup to be primarily controlled via touch. It also supports a large number of other sensors, hardware keyboards and USB devices depending on the hardware you are using. In short if you want to control it a specific way, from a joystick to a switch system with the correct phone and app it is almost certainly possible.
Retailer: Available via your phone update if your manufacturer has rolled it out, or online if you plan to ROM yourself. We recommend going to your handset specific XDA forum for more information.
There are three ways that you might get KitKat. If your phone manufacturer releases an update, on a new phone or as a ROM for an not yet or ever supported phone. In the first case you should definitely update, in the second you should be very sceptical about buying a phone which is not up to date and in the third you should seriously consider it if your technical skills are up to it. Android KitKat 4.4 is a mature, fast, well featured operating system which is quite accessible out of the box and is customisable to a very great degree. It is also the most accessible mobile OS currently on the mass market and seems to be being updated and upgraded in the right direction. Recommended.
Android 4.4 KitKat was released in November 2013 The review is based on it being used on the Nexus 5.