The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the latest of the Android devices to receive a firmware update to KitKat 4.4.2, though the new version is currently only available in Russia, but should become available in other regions in the coming days, according to Android Authority.

A New Look and Improved Performance

The new KitKat update brings noticeable differences to the user interface. New white status bar icons have replaced the Touchwiz look while maintaining the green-themed toggle style in the notification dropdown. The lock screen now includes a camera shortcut and displays album art when playing music.

The update improves the performance of the device overall. This, of course, comes with other KitKat firmware performance boosts such as improved RAM management and system stability.

In order to access the update, users are required to download the CyanogenMod 11 build with Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon. The CM 11 is available for all carriers, though users should be cautious about installing the software as it could erase saved data or void the device’s warranty. The mod, however, will not be necessary once the official firmware is released.

The KitKat update source code has been made available by Samsung, allowing developers to create apps and build custom phablet ROMs running the latest KitKat. The SM-N9005 with a Snapdragon 800 CPU received a similar update last week, with users in Poland getting the first taste of the update.

Behind the Scenes

The KitKat update arrived in early December 2013 for Nexus phones and tablets, bringing with it a major Nexus 5 camera improvement. Other fixes included security enhancements, voicemail indicator improvements, and other software modifications. 

In order to ensure smooth performance, the Android team had to decouple Google apps and see how they were utilizing memory using the ProcStats tool, which shows memory and process usage. Using only 512MB of RAM, the team set out to reduce system footprint, app memory usage, fix apps that crashed due to memory problems, and provide better measurement of running apps to developers.

According to ReadWrite, “The first two objectives were achieved by shoehorning Android features into the tweaked version of the Nexus 4 that the Google team had configured [...] The next two objectives were realized by better monitoring how apps performed in Android and how the system handled them.” In the end, the Android team was able to pull off a much better version of Android that works, feels, and looks great.

Will the new KitKat update convince you to purchase a new Android device?

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia


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