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Android 4.4 KitKat will be friendlier to low-end devices

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Google’s next mobile OS, Android 4.4 KitKat, will run better on low-end hardware than previous iterations, according to a new report.

From Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich onwards, Google’s mobile OS has taken huge leap forward in usability and responsiveness. However, it has also proved increasingly hardware intensive, particularly when it comes to the amount of RAM it utilises.

This has posed a problem for low-end devices, and has contributed to the infamous fragmentation issues that Android still suffers from. Less than half of all Android devices run on the latest version, Jelly Bean, and that was launched back in 2012.

According to reporter Amir Efrati, Google will address this issue directly in Android 4.4 KitKat. Having had access to a confidential features list for the new OS from Google itself, he has revealed that KitKat will be far sweeter for low-end devices.

This features list makes it clear that Google wants its software to operate well across the hardware spectrum. The OS apparently "optimizes memory use in every major component," and also lays on "tools to help developers create memory-efficient applications" for "entry-level devices."

This applies even to devices running on just 512MB of RAM.

Of course, there are other benefits to creating a lighter OS that runs well on less capable devices. In particular, the market for wearable smart devices is set to explode over the coming year or so.

Add in KitKat’s support for three new types of sensor - geomagnetic rotation vector, step detector and step counter - as wellas Google Glass and its own rumoured smart watch, and it’s clear to see that Google is gearing up for the wearable war.

Elsewhere, Android 4.4 KitKat will feature improved NFC support and the ability to control your TV through infrared signals.

An Android 4.4 KitKat reveal could be imminent, with Google updating its entire suite of apps in recent days. Expect to see it making an appearance alongside a new flagship smartphone, the Google Nexus 5.

Next, read our pick of the best Android phones of 2013.

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