Android 4.4 KitKat update is now available for people who use the Google Play editions of HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. They follow Motorola’s Moto X, which first got access to Android 4.4 KitKat on Nov. 19 less than one month after Google revealed it.
Back in October, Google told TechCrunch that KitKat was designed to reach the next billion Android users in developing markets, which means that Google had to figure out how to create an OS that can bring older and lower-specced devices up-to-date, as well as helping third-party developers offer their content to all Android users, not just those with top-tier handsets. Android 4.4 KitKat’s new features include a new launcher, a new dialer that incorporates search, Hangouts with consolidated text, video and MMS, new HDR+ software for cameras and deep app linking for Google search.
But the version of KitKat on the Moto X and the Google Play versions of HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn’t have the Google Experience Launcher available on the Nexus 5, which was unveiled at the end of October. The Google Experience Launcher, meant as a Nexus 5 exclusive, lets you swipe left for Google Now, trigger Google Search through an “OK Google” hot keyword and has a new options for customizing the look of your operating system.
The Google Play editions of HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 differ from the ones sold by carriers in that they are offered unsubsidized without a contract and operate on “pure” Android rather than the company’s customized skins.