In tandem with the Nexus 5, Google released Android 4.4 “KitKat.” KitKat now has the same voice launch seen in the Moto X where saying “Ok Google” at any screen launches Google Now and waits for a command. KitKat also has a much smaller memory footprint allowing it to be the Android version of choice for less powerful phones. This will hopefully replace the power-sipping, but aging 2.3 Gingerbread, which has long been the standard for lower end smartphones.
KitKat also provides an official API for other apps to take over text messaging for the phone. This has been done before, but it was typically done using unofficial methods by the app developer, often leading to a less that stellar experience. Now app developers can easily integrate this feature. Google is using this to promote is improved Hangouts SMS functions, but will likely be taken advantage of by SMS replacement apps such as Handcent.
The new KitKat will be on the Nexus 5 at launch and will be rolling out to other Nexus devices and Play Edition devices in “the coming weeks.”