Android KitKat, a nearly 9-year-old OS, is ready to retire

Jul 30, 2023, 12:10 PM UTC
3 mins read
Android KitKat, a nearly 9-year-old OS, is ready to retire
(Image credit: Google)

9 years ago, Google unveiled Android 4.4 KitKat, a version that left a sweet taste in our mouths. Fast forward to today, and this once revolutionary OS is now on the verge of retirement, with Google Play Services no longer providing support.

Related / The hacking threat looming over Android 4.4 KitKat

Believe it or not, Android 4.4 KitKat, which first saw the light of day in October 2013, is nearly a decade old. Over the years, Google has ardently worked to minimize fragmentation, and as a result, less than 1% of users cling to this cherished version of the Android operating system. In a few short days, the curtains will close on KitKat, marking the end of its journey in the Android landscape.

Android KitKat wasn’t just any update; it brought a plethora of remarkable features that shaped the course of Android’s evolution. One of the most noteworthy introductions was the Android Runtime (ART), a new runtime that replaced the aging Dalvik. The ART revolutionized app performance, making it smoother and faster, delighting users with a more responsive experience.

Moreover, KitKat was designed to be lean and mean, optimized to function seamlessly on devices with as little as 512MB of RAM. This optimization opened up Android to a wider range of devices, reaching a broader audience and extending its influence across the smartphone market.

KitKat’s most iconic contribution to the tech world was undoubtedly the introduction of the “OK, Google” voice command. This seemingly simple feature laid the foundation for how we interact with our smart devices today. Whether it’s setting reminders, searching the web, or even cracking a joke, the convenience of hands-free control became an integral part of our daily lives.

As we fondly remember the joys of KitKat, it’s crucial to acknowledge the necessity of moving forward. An Android Developers Blog post highlights that modern features we’ve grown accustomed to, such as 2-step verification, are no longer supported on KitKat. This means API levels 19 and 20 will cease to function going forward. This move is in line with Google’s ongoing efforts to enhance security and ensure a seamless experience for its users.

Who could forget the whimsical marketing campaign that accompanied the launch of KitKat? Partnering with the iconic chocolate brand, Google gave us a delightful nostalgia trip by naming the OS after this popular candy bar. The hunt for wrapper codes, reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets, had enthusiasts scouring stores for the chance to win exciting prizes. This marketing coup was not only brilliant but also left a lasting impression on tech enthusiasts and the general public alike.

As KitKat bows out gracefully, it leaves behind a legacy of innovation and transformation. The OS may soon become a relic of the past, but its influence on subsequent versions of Android will forever be etched into the platform’s history. Android users can now look forward to embracing the latest advancements, more secure features, and a world of endless possibilities.

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