KitKat is (hopefully) going to be awesome on the Nexus 7
As a new owner of a Nexus 7 - my first Nexus device - I was pretty excited to see what KitKat was bringing to the table. Looks like lots of small tweaks and polish, as expected, but I was also thrilled to see this:
Full-screen Immersive mode
Now your apps can use every pixel on the device screen to showcase your content and capture touch events. Android 4.4 adds a new full-screen immersive mode that lets you create full-bleed UIs reaching from edge to edge on phones and tablets, hiding all system UI such as the status bar and navigation bar. It's ideal for rich visual content such as photos, videos, maps, books, and games.
In the new mode, the system UI stays hidden, even while users are interacting with your app or game — you can capture touch events from anywhere across the screen, even areas that would otherwise be occupied by the system bars. This gives you a great way to create a larger, richer, more immersive UI in your app or game and also reduce visual distraction.
To make sure that users always have easy, consistent access to system UI from full-screen immersive mode, Android 4.4 supports a new gesture — in immersive mode, an edge swipe from the top or bottom of the screen now reveals the system UI.
To return to immersive mode, users can touch the screen outside of the bar bounds or wait for a short period for the bars to auto-hide. For a consistent user experience, the new gesture also works with previous methods of hiding the status bar.
One of my biggest complaints with the Nexus 7 is that the navigation bar shows up in places where I consider it distracting - most notably the Kindle app and various otherwise-fullscreen games. I'm thrilled this is getting resolved in 4.4, and I hope developers are quick to adopt this new API.
Also, it looks like we're getting some performance improvements! I don't really have any complaints about the performance so far, but I certainly won't complain if things get even better.
Any app using RenderScript on a supported device benefits from GPU acceleration, without code changes or recompiling. Since the Nexus 10 first debuted RenderScript GPU acceleration, various other hardware partners have added support.
Now with Android 4.4, GPU acceleration is available on the Nexus 5, as well as the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (2013), and Nexus 10, and we're working with our partners to bring it to more devices as soon as possible.