Wi-Fi Nexus tablets start getting their Android 4.4 updates today

Android logoGoogle has just announced via its Twitter and Google+ pages that owners of some 2012 Nexus 7, 2013 Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 tablets will begin getting their Android 4.4 updates this evening. For now, only the Wi-Fi versions of the tablets are being updated—3G- and LTE-equipped tablets and Nexus 4 smartphones will supposedly be getting the software "soon," but not tonight. Android 4.4 first arrived on the Nexus 5 when that phone was released two weeks ago.

Android 4.4, also called KitKat, is largely a refinement of the design and features that Google rolled out in the Android 4.0 release two years ago, which has been tweaked and polished over the three Jelly Bean updates (versions 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3). It's not a radical overhaul of the operating system, but it introduces plenty of new under-the-hood improvements, chief among them something called "Project Svelte," which will help Android run on low-end devices with only 512MB of RAM.

Android 4.4

However, one of the biggest features—the new, Google Search-integrated launcher—is slated to remain a Nexus 5 exclusive for now. Google told The Verge that it might offer the new launcher on other devices "someday," but early screenshots from Nexus 7 tablets that have been updated show a launcher that looks much more like what Google shipped with Jelly Bean. That is to say, it looks like the "stock" Android launcher and not the new Google-fied version.

As of this writing, our 2012 and 2013 Nexus 7 tablets have not yet downloaded KitKat. Google normally rolls new Android versions out gradually, so if you don't see the software yet, you'll need to keep checking over the next day or two. While you wait, you can check out KitKat's user-facing features here, or get some more information on the under-the-covers improvements here. Our full review of Android 4.4 is forthcoming.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Android, Google, tablets

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