The wait is over for the Android 4.4 KitKat update on a number of older Google-branded devices as the operating system has started rolling out on the 2012 and 2013 models of the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10 tablets. Google announced the update via social media on Tuesday, and Android 4.4 should now be hitting these devices over the air in a staggered rollout.
In an unprecedented move, Google gave its Nexus 5 smartphone two weeks of Android 4.4 exclusivity before it began rolling the system out to other devices. Usually, older Nexus devices begin updating to the new Android version within a day of their release. It appears the Nexus 5 will continue to have certain exclusive features with Android 4.4 as the Nexus 7 models and the Nexus 10 notably do not include the Google Experience Launcher.
The Google Experience Launcher includes such integrative Android 4.4 KitKat features as the transparent status and navigation bars, and also implements the voice-activated Google Now and Google Search. The tablets updated to Android 4.4 still have a default AOSP launcher and a pretty average stock-Android look. However, all is not lost for Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 owners who would like to try out the Google Experience. Ripped copies of the Google Experience Launcher are available, as well as other launchers, such as Nova Launcher, which adopts the Google Experience look.
While the Android 4.4 update rolls out over-the-air, tech-savvy users can also attempt to manually update their tablets; however, those who proceed should do so with caution.
Android 4.4 KitKat has not yet rolled out onto the Nexus 4, but Google says the previous-generation device as well as the 3G Nexus 7 models will soon update. Meanwhile, many Android 4.4 KitKat custom ROMs are available for users’ flashing pleasure. There are also several ROMS for the Galaxy Nexus, which will notably not receive Android 4.4 support as it is outside of Google’s 18-month update schedule, and includes hardware incompatible with the operating system. However, many devoted Galaxy Nexus fans have petitioned Google to update the device.
Android 4.4 KitKat includes a host of new and improved features, including "Immersive mode," updated lockscreen features, "Always On" Hands-Free Navigation, decreased fragmentation through "Project Svelte," smart calling, messenger and Hangouts integration, a full emoji keyboard, updated NFC, cloud printing and storage, TV and Bluetooth compatibility, and screen recording, among many others.
Have your 2012/2013 Nexus 7 or Nexus 10 tablets updated to Android 4.4 KitKat? 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.