The 6 best tablet features of Android 4.4 KitKat

November 25, 2013

Manage your tablet with Android Device Manager

Undoubtedly one of the greatest new features on this latest version of Google’s mobile operating system is the new and improved Android Device Manager which can track down lost and stolen devices.

Working in a similar fashion to Apple’s own Find My iPad, the function enables users to ring the device, track it, erase it and lock it.

As an aside, Google has made numerous other security improvements on Android 4.4. The company has hardened application sandboxes with Security-Enhanced Linux and now lets users on a multi-user device to route all traffic via a VPN connection.

More voice controls with Google Now

Google Now debuted to generally positive reception when it launched in June 2012 and it has since received a steady stream of useful updates.

The latest though is arguably the handiest and primes the service as an Android version of Siri. The user simply has to say “OK Google” to do a voice search, send a text, get directions or play a song. The functionality works with the messaging, email clients and music player apps with more tie-ins surely to come in future.

Subtle multi-tasking

When you think of mobile multi-tasking you may recall frustrations on iOS or perhaps the neat Snap View feature on Windows 8.

Android has taken a step forward though now that Android 4.4 Kit Kat has been introduced, even if you’re unlikely to see most of these enhancements as they’re under the hood.

Android 4.4 optimizes memory usage for several apps running at the same time and the touchscreen is designed to respond faster and more accurately than before.

(Worth reading: Android 4.4 KitKat now available on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets & New Nexus 10 tablet gets spotted with Android 4.4 on Google Play)

Tighter integration with Google Apps

It wouldn’t be an Android operating system without some serious integration with Google’s own apps and that’s certainly the case with Android 4.4 Kit Kat.

Google Drive, Keep and QuickOffice come natively on the operating system and they all interlink with each other.

For example, you can now save files from Quickoffice to Google Drive (or alternatively another cloud storage provider). Quickoffice has also been redesigned and offers quick access to recently edited files.

More wireless services

As well as supporting Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC and mobile data, Android 4.4 is allowing two new features – Tap to Pay and Cloud Print.

The latter is compatible with HP ePrint printers and other printers that connect to Google Cloud Print. Tap to Pay uses wireless tech to allow retailers to take payments. NFC has also been improved, with the open architecture for NFC payments meaning that it can work with any mobile operator.

Take away distractions with the new immersive mode

One of the best and most obvious additions to Android 4.4 in the way of usability is the new immersive mode which lets you concentrate on one thing at a time.

What does it do? Put simply, it takes away all distractions and gives you a full-screen view of whatever you’re doing, whether that be reading, playing a game or watching a movie.

To return you can swipe the edge of the screen to bring back the status bar and navigation buttons.

(Thinking of buying or already using an Android tablet? Subscribe to the free TabTimes for Android newsletter and get the latest news, reviews and analysis)


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