Android KitKat 4.4 is imminent and I'm part of the crowd that is looking forward to finding out what is all going to be about. Not just because its Android, but because, like many others, I'm a Nexus 4 owner which means that we will be fortunate to automatically get this update quicker than any other device... Yes, even then Nexus 5 (updates in the past have been released before the first orders are fulfilled and I doubt that will be different this time)
So what am I expecting and what am I hoping for? Let's start with the latter.
- Trusted Bluetooth devices. I would love to see these! What this allows you to do is to set paired bluetooth devices as a way to unlock your device. This means that whilst it is connected to your car, or your wrist watch (such as the pebble), your phone will not require patterns or unlock codes to access it. This means a much quicker and more friendly access to your device. I'm particularly looking forward to this in the car where its difficult to enter a access pattern whilst the phone is in a floating windscreen holder.
- Desktop mode. Now I'm not expecting this in 4.4, but if it did come about it would rock the world. Imagine being able to plug your android phone into a monitor or TV and for something like a Chromebook/ChromeOS interface to appear. How amazing would that be!! My life and work runs from the web, and all I need is a web browser. Having the ability to have a speedy browser on any monitor or hotel TV means that I wouldn't need to carry a laptop or even and tablet. It's what I would consider a massive game changer in the mobile market. Ubuntu is trying to do it, but I think Google have all the parts to make it happen.
- Improved dialler I know that 4.3 added the really important dial-by-name, and largely the dialler now is pretty good, but there are a lot of annoyances, and for what essentially is a major part of a mobile phone it still has it's quirks and annoyances making it far less friendly than it should be. I know I could download a third party from from the Play Store, but I really would like the stock one to be great, not just ok.
- True Handsfree Voice Commands. I have Bluetooth on my motorcycle which works fantastically with my Android except.. it doesn't. So I have a button to answer a call, and whilst not in a call I could press it to dial by name, but it is terrible when you don't have the phone in front of you. There is a MASSIVE lack of feedback, confirmations and accuracy. What is the point of being hands-free when you need the device in front of you to use it. It's ironic and wrong! What is very frustrating is that I used to have an old XDA mini and a HTC titan.. both windows mobiles with tiny memory and CPUs, yet the voice commander I ran and used over Bluetooth was absolutely perfect. It conversed correctly, was accurate and could be totally hands-free. Why with the might and power of the devices today is this still not possible... :-(
So what am I expecting?
Well there is already been some "leaks" and rumours coming up about the new version of Android, one that interests me the most is that there *might* be trusted Bluetooth devices. We can only hope. Apart from this, I'm not expecting too much. A few enhancements here and there, but I can't imagine anything incredible. 4.0 to 4.3 didn't have game changers, though the additions were good. Android 4.4 KitKat is only a minor version update from 4.3 Jelly Bean. If they do manage to pull out a rabbit from the hat with this version, then god knows what they will need to do for Android 5.0!... Desktop mode may be? :)
It looks like Google may also be announcing a wrist watch code named "Gem". I've been holding out for a smart phone compatible watch. The Pebble is my currect favourite but it is a little pricey. There are many coming out for the Christmas period, but if Google do a "nexus" version, that could end up being really exciting.