The next version of Android aims to fix fragmentation issues that have been plaguing the platform for years.
A document detailing intended for vendors to outline the changes in Android KitKat was uncovered by Amir Efrati, a former Wall Street Journal journalist.
According to the document, one of the key changes in Android 4.4 KitKat will be the ability to work well on low-end hardware. The state of fragmentation on Android is one that has been debated incessantly over the last few years. However, with KitKat it looks like Google is looking to curb the level of fragmentation. It is stated in the document that KitKat “optimizes memory use in every major component” and includes “tools to help developers create memory-efficient applications” for “entry-level devices.” This means that devices with 512 MB of RAM would no longer be obsolete, and that they will work fine on Android 4.4 KitKat.
Another issue that is being tackled by Google with Android 4.4 KitKat concerns wearable devices. The document says that KitKat will include support for three new kinds of sensors: geomagnetic rotation vector, step detector and step counter.
Google itself is said to be working on a smartwatch that is codenamed Google Gem. It has been said that the watch is in its final stages of development, and will be unveiled in the coming months. Google Glass will also be getting a consumer version next year, so the software changes could be to take advantage of the sensors that will be included in these devices.
Android 4.4 KitKat will also enable developers build apps that control TVs, tuners, switches and other devices by sending infrared signals. Also, Google is said to be working on how it handles NFC information, and might be looking at ways to make it easier for users to share content over NFC. Currently, sensitive user information is stored in a secure element, but Google is working on a system wherein the information can be easily transmitted. Such a system needs to be secure as it will handle user information. It is not yet clear as to how Google will handle this.
Android 4.4 KitKat will allow users to connect to more devices include joysticks, keyboards, and in-car entertainment systems. Inclusion of Bluetooth HID over GATT and Bluetooth Message Access Profile will give Android devices the ability to communicate with a broader range of Bluetooth-enabled devices.
The latest set of rumors indicates that Google is going to unveil the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat sometime Thursday (North America time).