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What's new in Android KitKat, Google's latest mobile OS: First Look

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First Look: What's new in Android KitKat, Google's latest mobile OS

2:45 /

We give you a run-down of the new features available in Android KitKat 4.4.

Hi. I'm Sarah Mitroff with CNET and I'm gonna walk you through Google's newest mobile operating system, Android KitKat 4.4. Arguably one of the most important features of KitKat is something you can't even see. Google shrunk the size of the operating system to run on devices with 512 megabytes of RAM. That means that low-end budget devices can run KitKat instead of the now outdated 2.3 Gingerbread or 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That's a huge set forth from Google in helping create a universal Android experience no matter what phone you buy. On to the features that you can see, there's a redesigned home screen with larger icons and condensed text. The top status bar is now transparent and blends with your wallpaper. There's a new home screen menu where you can change the wallpaper, ad widgets and access your Google Search settings. The app drawer is also transparent and as you can see, there's no longer a section for widgets. The lock screen gets a new music widget in KitKat, which shows album art full screen and place this playback controls at the top. If you're watching a video on a Comcast from your phone, you can also pause and play it from the lock screen. There's a new immersive experience in the OS, which shows books, movies and games full screen and fades away the controls and status bar. Google built a special launcher for the Nexus 5 that makes Google Now even easier to access. If you unlock your phone, you can say "Okay Google" to activate voice search without needing to tap anywhere on the screen. Also, when you turn on Google Now, you can swipe all the way to the left to pull it up. Those two features are exclusive to the Nexus 5 at least until further notice. KitKat includes a brand new dialer which remembers who you call the most and keep those people friends center. You can now also search for businesses by keyword or name in the dialer and start to call by tapping the result. There's no longer a dedicated SMS app and said you send and receive messages from Hangouts, Google's instant messaging and video chatting app. The app separates your text messaging conversations in Google chat conversations into individual threads on the main screen, even if you're communicating with the same contact. You can switch between IM and SMS conversations when you're in the message thread by tapping the person's name at the top. MOG has been available in earlier versions of Android but they make their official debut in KitKat. Those tiny pictures are now part of the stuck keyboard and can be used almost anywhere you can input text. You can now print photos, documents and webpages from your phone with Google Cloud Print. You'll need to set up your printer on Google's Cloud Print service, but once you do, just tap the print button in the gallery app, Quickoffice or Chrome. There are many more changes that Google included in this version of Android. For a full list, check out my in depth look at KitKat on CNET.com. I'm Sarah Mitroff, thanks for watching.

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