Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Kitkat 4.4 Update for Galaxy Nexus

Kitkat 4.4 Galaxy Nexus
Kitkat 4.4 Galaxy Nexus
For more than a year, Android enthusiasts waited for Google to unveil the next iteration of the mobile operating system to succeed Jelly Bean. It was widely thought (even within Google) to be called Key Lime Pie. Instead, a bizarre marketing partnership was struck that gave us Android 4.4 KitKat, officially unveiled on Halloween in the United States at the same time as the first device to run it – Google's new Nexus 5. 

Unfortunately, those of you with a Galaxy Nexus can kiss your KitKat flavored dreams goodbye. Google has confirmed that the less than two-year-old phone won't be getting Android 4.4. Google doesn't have minimum hardware requirements for Android 4.4. Even so, the company made a big deal about the fact that KitKat can run comfortably on 512 MB of RAM and the Galaxy Nexus has twice that. Of course, you could always get around this sad fact by rooting your device and running a custom Android 4.4 ROM. If you don't want to do that and desperately want KitKat, there isn't much you can do beyond buying a new phone. Cyanogenmod Team has started their focus on developing Kitkat to run on Galaxy Nexus perfectly. Currently the ROM is still in beta stage but surely, it won't take long to get the stable full functioning ROM. CM ROM is always reliable. That's why it is recommended in this post to install CM 11 ROM to taste the Kitkat.

A close look at KitKat's new home screen, Google Now is always your left-most home screen. The dialer gets a new look. Google voice control is easily accessed by saying 'OK, Google'.

A Whole New Look
The moment you first see the new home screen in KitKat, the improvements are apparent. The fonts appear smaller and more slender, while several newly redesigned app icons have grown a bit in size. The biggest visual change for most users, while still subtle, is likely to be the addition of a more fully transparent background to the top status bar, the on-screen buttons on the bottom of the home screen, and the app drawer.

The result is a user experience that seems a little more unified and grounded in the home screens and is somehow warmer. It's kind of nice not to be launching apps from the black void of a background-less app drawer.
home screens and the app drawer on KitKat
The new look of home screens and the app drawer on KitKat
This line of thought also carries over to the revamped lock screen in KitKat, which now offers more complete control over media that's playing without having to go through the unlocking process, and also displays album art attractively in another nice visual touch. Other small aesthetic tweaks can be found throughout KitKat, notably a new look for the clock app and the download manager, which now comes with an optional grid view.

Another change that might make sense from a holistic design perspective but needlessly removes some handy bits of functionality is the move to "de-blue" a number of icons throughout KitKat. For example, in the status bar, the Wi-Fi and cell network activity icons no longer turn blue to indicate the presence of data connectivity. Instead, they're always gray when present and there's no longer a means of checking your network data status at a glance. Previous actions like keyboard presses that may have previously resulted in blue highlights have also gone gray in KitKat.
Kitkat Lock Screen
The new lock screen displays album art of currently playing media
A few other features are newly hidden in this update, which caused a little confusion for me. The widget drawer in KitKat has been divorced from the app drawer and is accessed by long-pressing on any blank area of a home screen, which will bring up Google settings, wallpapers and widgets.

There's also no immediately obvious way to add home screens. It has to be done by selecting and dragging an app, either from an existing home screen or the app drawer, to the right edge of the screen, which then either scrolls to the next screen to the right, or creates a new one. But what if you want to add a new home screen all the way to the left, you ask? No dice, and here's why:

Google Now Has A New Home
Kitkat Google Now
Google Now is always your left-most home screen
From the home screen, if you swipe left, you'll always eventually land on the Google Now screen displaying all your personalized cards and the search bar.

KitKat has baked Google Now, search and voice control deeper into Android than ever before. Once you're past your lock screen you can say "OK, Google" at any point to trigger Google Now's voice control and start barking out commands and searches. As mentioned earlier, you can also adjust settings for Google Now, search and voice control by simply long-pressing on any home screen empty space.

While the left-most Google Now home screen can't be removed, KitKat does allow for management of any home screen replacements that you might install. You switch between them in the "Home" section of Settings.

Revamped Apps
A number of native Android apps get new treatments in KitKat, starting with Hangouts, which has swallowed text messaging in the process. This is probably my least favorite "improvement" in Android 4.4 – combining SMS and Google Hangouts (which itself had already swallowed Google Talk and Chat in earlier versions) isn't intuitive at first and it can be confusing to know which method of communication you're actually using to contact someone.
Kitkat Hangouts
Hangouts and SMS are now the same app
Did you just SMS or IM your cousin about the movie that starts in five minutes? In Hangouts it's easy to confuse the two, leading to potential headaches. Combining these functions into one app isn't necessarily a bad idea, but it's not well-executed in the current iteration.

The next big change is seen in the phone app, which attempts to shift the focus away from the dialpad, encouraging you instead to search for contacts and businesses via both the web and locally on your device. The dialpad is still there, but it's just not the first thing you see, and when you click on its icon, it overlays itself over the search window instead of taking the full screen.

When you receive a call that isn't in your local contacts, Google now introduces its own form of caller ID by cross-checking the incoming call number with Google Places. So if the call is coming from an existing business, it's likely that you'll be able to see which one is calling you in KitKat, which is a nice little bonus.
Kitkat Caller ID
Caller ID is provided by Google Places
The email app in KitKat has also been refreshed with nested folders and better navigation, and there's also a new app for Photos, which is actually kind of strange because it's basically the same as the old Gallery app, but with the updated KitKat look. What's strange is that the old Gallery app is also still here in 4.4, but the camera app has been broken out to stand on its own. So enjoy the extra place to browse your photos, I guess.

Finally, some new power-saving features allow KitKat to be less demanding on devices. A special low-power mode can allow for up to 60 hours of continuous audio playback, and new location modes allow you to keep track of your whereabouts when you need it and without having to manually toggle GPS and network settings to save battery when you don't.

Let starts the tutorial of installing Cyanogenmod 11  on Galaxy Nexus
NOTE: Need to be on the latest version of CWM  Recovery.

  • Download Cyanogenmod 11.zip and Kitkat Gapps.zip & copy to phone.
  • DO A FACTORY RESET!!! - this will wipe data & cache! 
  • Go to install zip from sdcard
  • Choose zip from sdcard
  • Select Cyanogenmod 11.zip 
  • Confirm
  • Repeat Steps 5 -8 for gapps
  • Reboot

Whats Working??

  • Everything it seems

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