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New Features of Android Kit Kat

by Gomathi Sankar
 

Introduction

 

Android 4.4 Kitkat is designed to run fast, smooth, and responsively on a much broader range of devices than ever before.

 

KitKat streamlines every major component to reduce memory use and introduces new APIs and tools to help you create innovative, responsive, memory-efficient applications.

 

Performance

 

Android 4.4 takes system performance to an all-time high by optimising memory and improving your touchscreen so that it responds faster and more accurately than ever before. This means that you can listen to music while browsing the web, or race down the highway with the latest hit game, all without a hitch.

 

SELinux (enforcing mode)

 
Android 4.4 updates its SELinux configuration from "permissive" to "enforcing." This means potential policy violations within a SELinux domain that has an enforcing policy will be blocked.
 

Improved cryptographic algorithms

 

Android has improved its security further by adding support for two more cryptographic algorithms. Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) support has been added to the keystore provider improving security of digital signing, applicable to scenarios such as signing of an application or a data connection. The Scrypt key derivation function is implemented to protect the cryptographic keys used for full-disk encryption.


Full-screen Immersive mode

 

Now your apps can use every pixel on the device screen to showcase your content and capture touch events. Android 4.4 adds a new full-screen immersive mode that lets you create full-bleed UIs reaching from edge to edge on phones and tablets, hiding all system UI such as the status bar and navigation bar. It's ideal for rich visual content such as photos, videos, maps, books, and games.

 

To make sure that users always have easy, consistent access to system UI from full-screen immersive mode, Android 4.4 supports a new gesture - in immersive mode, an edge swipe from the top or bottom of the screen now reveals the system UI.

 

Enhanced notification access

 

Notification listener services can now see more information about incoming notifications that were constructed using the notification builder APIs. Listener services can access a notification's actions as well as new extras fields - text, icon, picture, progress, chronometer, and many others - to extract cleaner information about the notification and present the information in a different way.


Chromium WebView

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Android 4.4 includes a completely new implementation of WebView that's based on Chromium. The new Chromium WebView gives you the latest in standards support, performance, and compatibility to build and display your web-based content.

 

Chromium WebView provides broad support for HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. It supports most of the HTML5 features available in Chrome for Android 30. It also brings an updated version of the JavaScript Engine (V8) that delivers dramatically improved JavaScript performance.

 

In addition, the new Chromium WebView supports remote debugging using Chrome DevTools. For example, you can use Chrome DevTools on your development machine to inspect, debug, and analyze your WebView content live on a mobile device.

 

The new Chromium WebView is included on all compatible devices running Android 4.4 and higher. You can take advantage of the new WebView right away, and with minimum modifications to existing apps and content. In most cases, your content will migrate to the new implementation seamlessly.



On-device memory status and profiling

 
Android 4.4 includes a new developer option to make it easier to analyze your app's memory profile while it's running on any device or emulator. It's especially useful to get a view of how your app uses memory and performs on devices with low RAM. You can access the option at Settings > Developer options > Process stats
 


GLES2.0 SurfaceFlinger

 
Android 4.4 upgrades its SurfaceFlinger from OpenGL ES 1.0 to OpenGL ES 2.0.
 


Printing Framework

 

Android apps can now print any type of content over Wi-Fi or cloud-hosted services such as Google Cloud Print. In print-enabled apps, users can discover available printers, change paper sizes, choose specific pages to print, and print almost any kind of document, image, or file.

 

Android 4.4 introduces native platform support for printing, along with APIs for managing printing and adding new types of printer support. The platform provides a print manager that mediates between apps requesting printing and installed print services that handle print requests. The print manager provides shared services and a system UI for printing, giving users consistent control over printing from any app. The print manager also ensures the security of content as it's passed across processes, from an app to a print service.

 
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