Because of the strict hardware requirements of Android’s latest operating system (OS) updates, many low- and mid-range Android phones have not been able to use the smoother, more powerful versions. This restricted the marketability of several phones and inconvenienced owners who were already using older models.
However, Google has been working on an initiative called Project Svelte to make Android 4.4 KitKat less demanding of hardware resources, thereby more compatible with older Android phones, Trusted Reviews reports. It isn’t certain which phones will become KitKat compatible thanks to Svelte, but a recently leaked document from Samsung appears to be a list of older model phones in line to receive the KitKat update. If this document is indeed what it is rumored to be, it might shed some light on what specifications will be necessary for older phones to run KitKat.
A Leaked Document
While the list was the first look at actual phones that are rumored to have the ability to run KitKat, it all makes sense as part of Google’s Project Svelte. Some of the phones listed include the Galaxy S3 and S4 minis, the Galaxy Ace 2, Galaxy S Advance, Galaxy Core, Galaxy Ace Advance, Galaxy Fresh, and Galaxy Fame, according to Android Guys. This list might be longer, however, since Project Svelte will allow KitKat to run on phones with as little as 512MB of RAM, and maybe Android Authority reports.
Project Svelte is Google’s attempt to bring new updates to its oldest phones. Previously, Google’s Project Butter worked to make the Android 4.1 experience smoother, and while it succeeded, hardware requirements were increased and lower-end Android phones had to use Android 2.3 for the best performance. Project Svelte, on the other hand, will lower the resource demand of Android 4.4 KitKat so that mid-range phones and a few lower-end phones may make use of the upgrade.
Dave Burke, the Head of Engineering at Google, joked in an interview with ReadWrite that his “contribution to Android is basically zero” after his involvement with Butter and Svelte, since the two projects seem to undo one another.
In reality, Svelte is looking to retain Butter’s smoothness while making it more efficient. Google plans to look specifically at the apps and the RAM they use. Using a tool called ProcStats, the engineering team researched and tracked app RAM usage and came to the conclusion that apps in the background not in use were the greatest guzzlers of RAM and phone performance. In the hopes of lowering demands on resources, Google is introducing a feature that automatically turns off an app if it takes up a certain amount of RAM in the background for an extended period. Google hopes that this will not only make the phone more efficient, but will put pressure on app developers to optimize RAM usage.
While the update hasn’t been released yet, the document seems to prove that Google is keeping good on their promise. Right now, it is unclear if the list is comprehensive or if the phones listed will have access immediately as the update goes live.
Which phone model do you want to see updated?
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