Google Launches New Nexus 5 Smartphone and Android 4.4 KitKat [Video]

Google has just announced the release of its latest flagship Android smartphone, the 5in Nexus 5 that comes running the next iteration of Android 4.4 “Kitkat”.

On Thursday at a press event in San Francisco Google officially unveiled its next-gen smartphone, the Nexus 5, and launched an updated version of Android, dubbed KitKat.

Google developed the device in partnership with LG, which is the slimmest, fastest Nexus phone yet. The screen offers 445 ppi, while the device measures 69.17×137.84×8.59 mm and weighs 130g.

The smartphone features a 4.95-inch, 1,920-by-1,080 full HD IPS Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display with 445 pixels per inch. It runs a 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip, 450MHz Adreno 330 GPU.

The phone comes loaded with the new version of Google’s operating system — 4.4, nicknamed KitKat — which will also become available for some other Android phones.

The Nexus 5 greatest innovation is its camera lens, which moves within the phone to compensate for your movement. “You don’t have to worry about shaky hands,” said Dave Burke, Google’s Android engineering director. A new HDR+ mode selects and stitches together the best possible shot from a burst of pictures.

The Nexus 5 includes a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera and 8-megapixel rear shooter with optical image stabilization.

With a 2,300 mAH battery, Google promised up to 17 hours of talk time, 300 hours of standby, 8.5 hours of Internet time on Wi-Fi and 7 hours on LTE. If you need more, the Nexus 5 includes built-in wireless charging support.

The new smarphone is available Thursday on Google Play and price begins at $349 for an unlocked device without a contract. The 32GB model is priced at $399. Soon it will also be available at multiple retailers including Sprint, T-Mobile, Amazon, Best Buy and RadioShack.

Announced in a blog post from Google, it will also unveiled the latest version of Android, KitKat, which sources at the company say is designed to feel more premium.

Its apps have been fine-tuned to use less computing power, said Sundar Pichai, head of Android. The Chrome browser, for example, will use 16% less power in KitKat compared to its predecessor, JellyBean.

Writing on the Google Blog, Android chief Sundar Pichai said “The first thing you’ll notice about KitKat is we’ve made the experience much more engaging: the book you’re reading, the game you’re playing, or the movie you’re watching—now all of these take center stage with the new immersive mode, which automatically hides everything except what you really want to see.”

With KitKat, the Nexus 5 will support the “OK Google” voice command option found in Motorola’s new Moto X and Droid lineup. The new operating system also updates Google’s Hangouts software and the phone’s dialler, which will now identify incoming calls from contacts stored across a user’s various profiles and accounts.

A translucent Google search bar will be available on all screens. Search results will include an option to take you directly to apps — for example, to the Open Table reservations app when you’re searching for a restaurant, says Mashable.

A key feature of the updated Android OS is its improved memory capabilities.

“With KitKat, we’ve slimmed down Android’s memory footprint by doing things like removing unnecessary background services and reducing the memory consumption of features that you use all the time,” the company said in a statement.

“RAM [or memory] is one of the most expensive parts of a phone, and now Android can run comfortably on the 512MB of RAM devices that are popular in much of the world, bringing the latest goodies in Android 4.4 within reach for the next billion smartphone users.”

Google is known for naming its mobile software after different types of desserts. Past names have included Cupcake, Donut, Honeycomb, Jelly Bean and now KitKat. Earlier this year the tech giant and Nestle struck a marketing deal naming the new software after the candy bar, reports the CNBC.

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