Sweet features of Android KitKat, Nexus 5Google unwrapped its latest Android 4.4 operating system and a new flagship smartphone, the Nexus 5. CNET's Bridget Carey breaks down the new system perks.
It's time to break off a piece of the new Android KitKat. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. Google announced sweet new features coming to Android 4.4 which is named KitKat after the popular candy bar, of course. Google also unveiled the Nexus 5 smartphone which will run Android KitKat. But first, let's break down what's new about the operating system. Google made Android KitKat so it works with low-end devices that run on less memory and that means a few things. For one, it could be added to older phones without any problem, which fixes one of the biggest problems with Android, fragmentation. Every Android phone should be able to get this update, even cheaper phones. Normally, an operating system update requires more memory but not in this case. It runs on 16 percent less memory than the last version, Jelly Bean. This update also opens the doors to putting the KitKat system on a different type of device. Maybe a SmartWatch. Well, there's no official word on that yet but KitKat was designed to use less battery when a fitness app or pedometer is measuring your activity. So, we shall see where that goes. It also has code to make it easier to wirelessly print photos and documents and web pages. And of course, there are some style changes like a uniformed color for status bars, a new font and more ways to customize the homescreens. Text messages and Hangouts, they're in one place now which is handy. The phone app will automatically prioritize your contacts based on the people you talked to the most. And if you get a call from someone who's not in your address book, Google will see if that number matches any business listings to give you a caller ID. The intelligent Google Now service can be accessed with one swipe on the homescreen after saying the magic words 'Okay Google' a voice command can be used to search, send messages, get directions or play music. The first phone to run this will be the Nexus 5. As the name indicates, it has a 5-inch screen, which is larger than its predecessor. It also has a faster processor and supports 4G LTE wireless connection speeds. Even though this model is larger, it weights a little less. The 8-megapixel camera has a few perks too, including image stabilization and a feature to reduce blur and improve photos taken in bright or low light. It's on sale now at the Google Playstore starting at $350 for the 16-gig model. And that's the full price without requiring any service plans or contracts. Normally, a high-end smartphone will go for $600 or more off contract. It's gonna work on AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint but not on Verizon. That's your tech news update but you could find more details on the show blog CNET.com/update and be sure to follow along on Twitter for the latest. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey.