Nov 18, 2013
Google has finally gotten around to releasing the highly anticipated 4.4 KitKat update to it’s Android OS.
The new update comes with all the normal changes the public has come to expect; it looks a little prettier, it has subtle visual adjustments, and extra features such as Siri-like voice commands.
However, the real potential comes from the news that ths OS has lowered the minimum requirements significantly, able to run on phones with a mere 512mb of Ram; which accommodates for many of the low-end phones currently on sale. Not only new ones, but it could bring a new lease of life to many old handsets that people have knocking around. It was not only changes to the OS, but Google also changed how apps like YouTube and Chrome run, ensuring they can work on older or less powerful handsets.
So what does this all mean? Essentially, old, cheap phones will run a lot faster and smoother, and may convince people to avoid costly phones and go for a cheaper option. This could take a chunk of revenue from Apple’s 5C, which is already experiencing poor sales. The 5C has been marketed as a budget device, yet still comes with a hefty price tag reserved for high-end Android devices. With the Nexus 5 matching high-caliber specifications and for sale at £299, even high-flying Android devices cost less than Apple’s budget device.
Also, if Google can make this work on a vast array of budget phones, then it could open up a new market of Android users to purchase apps on the Play Store.
The only hindrancehere are the manufacturers themselves; coming along with the news the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will not be supported, due to the chip manufacturer having left the industry. Testing takes a lot of time for a huge array of individual devices, so it is up to individual manufacturers whether to update certain models. Besides, if a consumer is purchasing a cheap phone, are they really that bothered about which OS comes with it? Less than half of current Android phones make use of the current Jelly Bean version.
So it’s safe to say the potential is colossal. If implemented well, this could be a great deal for budget phone owners, as well as those with higher-tier smart phones. If Google can level the spectrum of devices out there, it could boost their app economy massively, as well as providing a better mobile experience for many Android users.