After three Jelly Bean releases in a row, Google has unleashed a major revision to the world’s most widely used operating system. With the Nexus 5 comes Android 4.4 “KitKat.” KitKat brings a ton of enhancements: support for hidden system and status bars, printer support, and lower memory usage. It also has a number of user-level improvements, including a new dialer, a Google-infused home screen, and a whole pile of UI refinements.
The lower memory usage is particularly important because Google hopes this is the feature that will finally kill Gingerbread and other older versions of Android. Ice Cream Sandwich raised the system requirements for Android quite a bit, and to this day you still see lower-end phones shipping with Gingerbread because of the lower barrier to entry. Unfortunately, the only device that currently runs KitKat is the Nexus 5, which has a whopping 2GB of RAM, so there isn’t much memory testing that we can do right now. We’ll have to wait for actual low-memory hardware running KitKat to evaluate any of the low-memory requirement claims.