Two posts came out yesterday from Android Police which fuel the possibility that Google will launch the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat soon, possibly even next week given the rate at which leaks are appearing across the interwebs.
The first post contains a 7-minute video of what is clearly the purported Nexus 5 showing off the hardware and software. It’s basically a full walkthrough and, barring a few possible changes, this is the device that will be sold to consumers in the coming weeks. Even though the software seems to be an older build since it’s referred to as “KeyLimePie”, it confirms the leaked screenshots that have been coming out over the last fews weeks, revealing the tweaked design of the OS. Check out the video for the details, I won’t spoil anything here.
Second is something more interesting. I’ve talked a couple of times on the blog about how Google is trying to take back Android and the “Google Experience" launcher seems to be the biggest step yet towards achieving this. Launchers allow users of Android to somewhat customize the look and function of the phone they are using, most commonly the home screen, dock and app drawer, among other things. They’re especially useful if you have a Samsung phone with TouchWiz for example and want to make the experience feel more like stock Android.
The tagline of Android 4.4 KitKat is:
It’s our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody.
I initially took that to mean that it would run on lower end hardware as suggested by a close friend of mine and I wrote about it a month or so ago. Now it seems that it also means that more Android devices that are non-stock can experience Android as Google envisions it via this launcher and that’s bloody exciting for me. I’ve always been an advocate of the way Google has designed their OS, especially after 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and I absolutely hate manufacturer skins like TouchWiz, Motoblur, etc., although Sense by HTC is not as bad.
The implications of this approach on the wider ecosystem are not clear, but given the way Samsung and co. are trying to distance themselves from Android, it might not matter as much nor offend any of them at all. Another friend of mine, Anuj Ahooja, who you should check out on Google+, has an interesting post on the implications of Google Experience from the perspective of open source.
We are surely now days away from an official announcement, although I don’t know if that’s necessary anymore in terms of a full-out press event; we know just about everything that needs to be known about the phone. Perhaps they should just do it like last year and have The Verge shoot another video at Google HQ in Mountain View, combined with a press release. However, I think they should and would want to give Android 4.4 KitKat more attention, especially because although it is a point release, the change of name makes it a significant one. Either way Google, just take my money now and be done with it.