It appears the Motorola Moto X is in the running to get an update to Android 4.4 KitKat much sooner than anyone anticipated. Reports indicate that the Verizon network has begun to soak-test its model of the Moto X in preparation for a public rollout.
A “soak test” is essentially a beta test, in which manufactures and carriers push out the latest firmware to a select number of handsets in order for users to get a feel for the software and report any problems or concerns; testers are usually those who frequent support forums.
Screenshots of the soak test changelog have confirmed that the tested software is Android 4.4. The Android 4.4 changelog specifies updates to the Moto X phone dialer, camera and gallery and Google Hangouts. Newer features include the touchless control “find my phone” command, which allows users to implement Google Now to track misplaced Moto X handsets with voice recognition. NFC now has enhanced support for Host Card Emulation. Accessory support is now compatible with the Square credit card reader
According to Android Police, official rollouts usually take place two to six weeks after Verizon completes its soak test. This would make it likely that the Moto X will update before the end of the year, and it may become the first non-Nexus device to update to Android 4.4 KitKat. We have discussed how some other manufacturers likely won’t begin updating their latest devices until well into 2014, but with Motorola now being a division of Google, it makes sense that the company would have an easier time navigating the update process. The Moto X runs a slightly modified version of stock Android. Currently, the device runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, the operating system with which it released in August.
Shortly after the release of Android 4.4, Motorola announced that in addition to the Moto X, the Droid Ultra, Droid MAXX and the Droid Mini are also scheduled to update. Motorola also recently unveiled its Moto G smartphone, which will release in the U.S. in 2014 running Android 4.4 natively. Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside reiterated that the Moto X will update to Android 4.4 within a “matter of weeks.”
There is no word on whether other carriers are testing Android 4.4 KitKat for their Moto X models. The Moto X can also be found on T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and U.S. Cellular. Many find it surprising that Verizon appears to be the first network preparing an Android 4.4 update for any device, let along the Moto X. Verizon was also the first U.S. carrier to update its Samsung Galaxy S4 model to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. It seems the network is now on a mission to shed its reputation of being the last of the mobile networks to introduce new products and services.
Do you think the Android 4.4 KitKat update will be coming to the Verizon Moto X any time soon? Let us know in the comments below.
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Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.