With Android 4.4 and Nexus 5 being made official, Google has kicked off the Software Development Kit and platform tools for Android 4.4 via updates and can be downloaded right from the Android SDK Manager on your machine.
With Android 4.4, Google is looking ahead to move the ecosystem forward by reducing the memory needs of Android. With this, Google has made Android 4.4 in a way that it works flawlessly on low-end devices that have as low as 512 MB RAM. While that is a good news, you can expect Android 4.4 to be much smoother than Android 4.3 on your low-end device. Also, apps like Chrome and YouTube have been updated to consume less memory on the device.
That said, the platform tools are available for download and developers who wish to develop apps on Android 4.4 can now download them via the SDK Manager. Also, make sure you check out the support library which has been updated for you to make sure your app is compatible with earlier version of Android.
Here’s a quick look at some of the new features for developers:
- New ways to create beautiful apps — A new full-screen immersive mode lets your app or game use every pixel on the screen to showcase content and capture touch events. A new transitions framework makes it easier to animate the states in your UI. Web content can take advantage of a completely new implementation of WebView built on Chromium.
- More useful than ever — A printing framework lets you add the convenience of printing to your apps. A storage access framework makes it easier for users find documents, photos, and other data across their local and cloud-based storage services. You can integrate your app or storage service with the framework to give users instant access to their data.
- Low-power sensors — New hardware-integrated sensors let you add great new features to your apps without draining the battery. Included are a step detector and step counter that let you efficiently track of the number of walking steps, even when the screen is off.
- New media capabilities — A new screen recorder lets you capture high-quality video of your app directly from your Android device. It’s a great new way to create walkthroughs, tutorials, marketing videos, and more. Apps can useadaptive playback to offer a significantly better streaming video experience.
- RenderScript in the NDK — A new C++ API in the Android Native Development Kit (NDK) lets you use RenderScript from your native code, with access to script intrinsics, custom kernels, and more.
- Improved accessibility support — New system-wide captioning settings let your apps present closed captions in the style that’s preferred by the user.