When Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG are still struggling to push Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean 4.3) update for their flagship phones, Motorola gives us the KitKat treat. We got this Android 4.4 update even a few days earlier than the owners of pure Android Nexus 4.
And it seems the update works very smoothly. Most Moto X owners are enjoying the updated phone. As a contrast, a lot of Samsung Galaxy S4 owners are grumbling about the latest Android 4.3 update.
There are quite a lot of improvements in the Android 4.4 (KitKat) update for Moto X. In this post, you will learn the top 10 improvements or new features you may enjoy everyday.
1. Unified messaging with Hangouts
If you have mixed contacts on phone and Google, you know all the contacts are combined in your phone. The new Hangouts app now moves a step further: it can (optional) combine your messages (SMS, MMS) with all other conversations in Hangouts. With the new Hangouts app, all of your SMS and MMS messages are together in the same app, alongside your other conversations and video calls.
The new Hangouts app also allows you to share your location and send animated GIFs. This makes it better than the most popular SMS app: WhatsApp.
Essentially, the new Hangouts app eliminates the need of a separate messaging app. Of course, if you are not ready for this change, you can still use messaging and Hangouts individually (although they share the same contact list).
2. Drag to focus and expose
You can focus on any location on the viewfinder by just dragging the crosshair to the desired objects or location. Moto X will automatically adjust the expose and lighting conditions for the photo. The result is better image quality.
This is actually a nice enhancement of the old “touch to focus”. You now get the option with a new circular, on screen control that can be dragged by your finger around the viewfinder to adjust a photo’s focus and exposure.
Of course, we are not talking about professional photography. For most Moto X owners, this can be very handy because you are not forced to focus on the center, and the old touch to focus sometimes does not work as expected..
3. Full full-screen mode
Smartphone is more than a phone. Now a lot of Moto X owners use the device to read books, browse webpages, play games and watch movies or TV episodes. Full-screen mode is often desired.
But the old full-screen model does not give a full full-screen. The notification bar, the soft keys may still occupy some regions. So, the usable screen size are not maximized. And you may accidentally tap the wrong buttons/locations.
With Android 4.4, your Moto X will automatically hide everything except what you really want to see (book, movie, game..). Just swipe the edge of the screen to bring back your status bar and navigation buttons.
4. Faster multitasking
With every iteration of Android, you can find significant performance improvement. But some performance boosts may require updated hardware. Android 4.4 (KitKat) changed this.
Android 4.4 can run faster with less resources. The optimization of the code is quite impressive. When OS has a smaller footprint, the apps will run smoother and get more resources.
As Moto X is highly optimized already, you may not be able to notice the speed improvement unless you are using some advanced tools to gauge the change. But the noticeable positive sign for most Moto X owners is slightly longer (about 10%) battery life. Surely, this depends on user’s habit.
5. Smarter phone app
Smartphone should not be stupid. But the phone app in most smartphones looks not so smart. In Android 4.4, we finally get a smarter phone app.
The new phone app automatically prioritizes your contacts based on the people you talk to the most. From the dial pad, you can also
search for nearby places and businesses (for Google Play Edition only), your contacts, or people in your company.
Whenever you get a call from a phone number not in your contacts, your phone will look for matches from businesses with a local listing on Google Maps.
6. Emoji everywhere
Emoji, the colorful Japanese characters, now are available on the default Google Keyboard. You can use Emoji in text messages and other communications from Moto X.
7. Closed captioning
Android 4.4 supports closed captioning and subtitles.
8. Fancy Gallery
The Gallery app in Moto X is also updated to Android KitKat one. Some new photo editing options, e.g., new filter effects, draw on your photos, advanced cropping, adjustments to color, exposure, contrast, are added to Moto X.
Now, you probably does not need any other photo editing tools any more.
9. Find my phone
For the touchless control, a new “Find my phone” command is added. Once you say “OK, Google Now-find my phone”, your Moto X will ring loudly to let you know where it’s hiding. Of course, your Moto X should be nearby to hear the command.
10. Quick access to files
Accessing files in the phone, and accessing the file in the Google drive, are almost identical for Quickoffice now. Once creating or modifying files, you can choose to save them in the local storage or in the cloud directly. No other apps or windows to open.
More apps and cloud storage services will join the league soon as the SDK is open to all developers.
How do you like the Android $.4 (KitKat) update for your MotoX? Share with other Moto X Owners in the comment box below.