Google has finally released a new version 4.4 code named KitKat replacing its earlier version 4.3 Jelly Bean. First introduced  via Nexus 5, almost all android phone manufacturers are adopting KitKat on their phones. And the good news is - KitKat is going to be made available for a lot of the older phone models too.

Now most of us hesitate to upgrade our android devices whenever there is an update. This is mostly because -

  1. For the most part, you are all set with the current phone and are skeptical of things going wrong in upgrade.
  2. From previous experience, every new Android update comes with higher system requirements. Although things might look better, overall phone performance usually deteriorates.

KitKat scores on any of the previous android updates on the fact that along with better looks, it comes with better performance as well. Here are some of the salient features that make it better -

1. Better memory management.

Google has made huge improvements to in android 4.4's memory management system. While Jelly Bean required 1GB ram to run smoothly, KitKat actually cuts out on this and is deigned to run smoothly on devices with as little as 512MB RAM. KitKat streamlines its every major component to reduce memory use. Moreover, it now aggressively protects system memory from apps consuming large amounts of RAM.

That means once you upgrade you can expect smoother multitasking as well as better app performance. In addition, the improvements also makes your touchscreen experience much better.

KitKat multitasking

2. Immerse yourself.

A considerable part of the android screen is almost always wasted away for the status bar and navigation buttons. In KitKat, content takes center screen auto-hiding everything  else other than what you want to see. You can always swipe on the edge of the screen to bring back the status and navigation bars.

kitkat immerse

3. Smarter caller id

The default phone app is also revamped including a new design and better caller id. You can now search for a business's contact info listed in Google Maps directly from the phone app's search field.

If the number of an incoming call from is not in your contact list, the app automatically tries to identify the number by cross-checking it with nearby listed businesses.

In addition, frequently called contacts are now prioritized and shown for easy access.

Kitkat phone app

4. Integration With Cloud Storage

KitKat comes with Google Drive cloud storage integrated into the OS. That makes it possible to save and open files and documents directly from the cloud without storing them on the device at all. Apps like QuickOffice are already enabled to open documents directly from your Google drive on KitKat.

KitKat google drive

5. Integrated cloud printing.

KitKat also makes printing a lot easier by integrating Google Could Print inside the OS. That means you can print your documents over wifi or bluetooth. Of course, you would need a compatible printer having wireless capabilities and supporting Cloud Print.

In print-enabled apps, you will be able to discover available printers, change paper sizes, choose specific pages to print, and print almost any kind of document, image, or file.

Kitkat print

6. Better diagnostics for the advanced.

KitKat makes it easier to find rogue memory hungry apps that make your phone slow. A new "Process Stats" option available in "Settings" can show you detailed reports on resource usage of running apps.

KitKat memory usage

7. Other noteworthy improvements.

  • Translucent UI styling: Apps can use this styling to make semi transparent widgets like the Google search bar which shows through the wallpaper.
  • Screen recording: That's right, you can now record whatever is going on on the screen and android will store is as an MP4 file. So next time you reach the final level of "Angry Birds", make sure to record it and do some show-off :)
  • Loudness Enhancer: Media playback applications can increase the loudness of spoken content by using the new LoudnessEnhancer effect.
  • IR Blasters: Android 4.4 introduces platform support for built-in IR blasters. Apps that replace TV or any other remote will soon come in your phone.
  • New animation framework: Android really lacked animation support especially 3D. Animations like iPhone's 3D flip between screens will now start appearing in apps.

So are these reasons enough to upgrade your android phone to KitKat? OS updates are usually safe and re-installing android apps are also really easy in case of any problems. So don't hesitate to upgrade the next time you get an update message from your phone manufacturer.