KitKat 4.4 & 5.0 Predictions

Hello fellow Verge readers, since I haven't found a lot of predictions and expectations about the next sweet flavor of Android, I thought I might as well do it my self and share my ideas and thoughts with you guys. (Also feel free to drop a comment with your personal thoughts down below.)

As we are aproaching faster and faster to the release of next version of Android I have accumulated quite a few ideas that I think are quite likely to happen so without any further ado lets go!

Android 4.4

As we have have seen there were quite a few leaks so far but only a couple seemed to be legit, I think 4.4 is not going to be huge redesign (more on that later) instead it will prepare the road for Google's new design language. The leaked screenshots of white icons in the notification bar seem to be quite realistic regarding the fact that Google has - since the introduction of Google Now in 4.1 - focused on a light design that is mainly based on a white background that seems much more friendly and happy (don't be evil) than the black and neon blue Tron Legacy color palette used in 3.x and 4.0 . This light design is enhanced by a card design and is used in all of Google's new apps, that being G+, the Play Store, Play Music, Keep, Drive, Play Games and only recently Gmail. So far Google has overhauled/redesigned all its apps in the playstore but core applications like settings and phone are still waiting for their share of cards and white backgrounds, something that could change very soon. The white icons we have seen in the leaked notification bar seem to be a first effort to ditch the neon blue for a more neutral (and less nerdy) white.

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Based on that, I think 4.4 is going to roll out with a lot of under the hood improvements (similar to Project Butter in 4.1) and bring a redesign of only one of the core apps (most likely the phone app) while not touching the settings app which is reserved for 5.0.

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Android 5.0

I expect 5.0 to be released at I/O 2014 or for the very latest in july alongside a new Nexus 7. In 5.0 Google will finally complete its redesign of Android that has now been going on since 4.1 (summer 2012) by replacing the last core applications that are left (settings, downloads, Google Earth). The way I imagine this is by simply switching all dark apps to white (see Play Music) and integrating Google Settings into the default settings app in order to have one central place from whitch you'll be able to control hardware setting of your phone, but at the same time Google apps settings as you do now in Google Settings.

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Moving to multitasking I think that Google is going to change the way apps are a arranged (thumbnail & app icon), possibly by stretching the thumbnails to the right border of the screen and keep the left edge of the thumbnails aligned with their current position. (Another addition could be to replace the darkened background with a blurred background but that could be a little bit to much like iOS 7.)

Visual changes aside I think multitasking will be more power efficient, meaning that unused apps in the multitasking list will use the processor and RAM at a minimum thus further improving battery live and system performance. This change could however already be introduced in 4.4 as Google is planning to 'to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody.' (This quote could also mean that Google is going to push manufacturers harder to provide timely updates.)

Another keyword for 5.0 will be the lockscreen. Since the release of 4.2 Jelly Bean we have all experienced how useful widgets like Dashclock (or the calculater app) can be but visually Google will need to further refine the look (yes I'm looking at you bold hour digits on the clock widget).

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Final Thoughts

As a Nexus user I have always liked the stock, clean version of Android but there are still some places where Google needs to rethink it's OS in order to create a more streamlined and unified experience. Looking forward to the release of Kit Kat, I am interested in seeing what Google will actually do (because I could be proven completely wrong) and I'm even more interested in what you guys have to say on this.

In case the pictures are broken, here's the album on imgur: http://imgur.com/a/Q3JJD

(Wallpaper pack is Trinity)