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Exclusive: Kitkat 4.4 software changes found in the Nexus 5 log

Posted at 01 October 2013 16:52 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

Based on the leaked log of the Nexus 5 we can report that Android 4.4 will likely contain USB on the Go (USB OTG), video stabilisation and many updated core applications. Together with our friends from Androidworld.it we’ve been going through the logs. Yesterday we reported about the hardware, today some news from the software side of the Nexus 5 log.

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Update:   Just In: Nexus 5 Camera contains novelty and all the other details you should know

There are traces of optical stabilisation in the Nexus 5 log and they point to both camera’s.  The string ” android.control.availableVideoStabilizationModes (1001a): byte[1]” reveals this. The fact that both camera’s support it and both have the same setting might indicate that the feature is not used. It would make more sense if it was used for just the main camera of the device.

The strings in the image below indicate that Android Kitkat will launch the Gallery once an USB device is attached to the device. This accompanied by the USB audio accessory and device strings make us believe that Android Kitkat will support USB on the go and that it can be used to download video and photos from camera’s over USB.

myce-android-klp-android-to-go

There’s also trace of a new application we’ve not seen before, called Bazaar. We think it’s an alternative to the Google Playstore that’s used inside Google itself.  This could be used to download applications that haven’t been officially released and should only be used by Google employees.  While it’s speculation, we can also point out that there’s the /system/app-priv folder, which is probably connected to the Google Apps Private Channel, meaning the log 100% comes from a Google employee.

Google also updated several of the core applications,  in the list you can find  the version number on the Play Store on the left , version numbers on the Nexus 5 on the right :

  • Google Search Sound : 1.1.8 -> 1.1.11
  • Email: 4.1 -> 6.0
  • Clock: 2.0.3 -> 3.0.0
  • Currents : 2.1.1 -> 2.1.2
  • Cloud Print : 0.6.1b -> 0.8.3
  • Google Authenticator : 2.49 -> 3.55
  • Play Books : 2.9.21 ( varies per device ) -> 3.0.1
  • Gallery: 1.1.40012 -> 1.1.40030
  • Hangouts : 1.2.018 -> 1.3.012
  • QuickOffice : 6.1.180 -> 6.2.255
  • Play Store : 4.3.11 -> 4.4.2
  • Gmail : 4.6 -> 4.6.1

It may seem like a useless list of numbers, as it’s clear that Google employees test applications before we get them, but some of the version numbers are at least interesting. The Email  and Clock applications see a big increase of the version number . Close comes Google Authenticator of which we already saw new icons on the screenshot we recently posted.

Also Play Books is updated while the Android Gallery likely doesn’t seem to be changed much. Also the other applications will likely remain pretty much the same,  based on the relative small changes in version numbers.

News and speculation

The service AppOp is running on the device which likely means Android 4.4 will support the permission management system that was discovered to be hidden in Android 4.3. In that version it wasn’t disabled but it seems to be up and running in Android Kitkat on the Nexus 5. With AppOp it’s possible to manage permissions for individual applications.

Most of the packages also have a different naming scheme, they no longer  are in the format “com.android” but now use “com.google.android”. Although the addition of the prefix Google does not imply anything by itself, the core apps are reduced to:

  • com.android.systemui
  • com.android.phone
  • com.android.nfc
  • com.android.setting
  • com.android.mms
  • com.android.chrome

With the exception of the browser which already has the same naming scheme on the Play Store , is really only the base of a mobile operating system , in all other system packages the prefix com.google was added, as if they were all to be ” separated ” from Android. This idea is also strengthened by the introduction of new packages, among them these certainly stand out :

  • com.google.android.GoogleCamera
  • com.google.android.dialer
  • com.google.android.gel

The first two are pretty self explanatory , and seem to indicate the separation of the camera app from the gallery (they are now in one app,  if you go to  information on your camera you will see that the reference app is the gallery) and the separation of the dialer phone from the app ( com.android.phone ), or more simply a rebrand due to be ready for publication in the Play Store.

And com.google.android.gel , you ask ? This is even more interesting, because inside there GoogleHome.apk , which in itself might suggest to the launcher system , GoogleHome has not , however, special permits , in contrast to other launcher that virtually every existing permit , then it could be of a sort of “hub” for the services Google.

The tag permissionsFixed set to false may indicate that requests permissions only when you need them , and in general we have found many inconsistencies in the management of permissions than what we would have expected , which reinforces the idea of ​​Op app , which is probably accompany a review of the system of management of the same , which still leaves the door open for the hypothesis GoogleHome .

Other notable packages are:

  • com.android.terminal : not allowed, but it’s a system app, it could be a simple interface to a different process (has permissionsFixed = false )
  • com.google.android.tag : between its permission is the option to turn the NFC sensor on and off sensor. This indicates it might be an app for the use of NFC tags and it seems it supports both reading and writing to tags . On the other hand it would also normal that Google would introduce something like the insistence seen in the use of NFC .
While there were rumors that Android 4.4 would be optimized for low end devices, it seems this isn’t directly the case. The main thing Google seems to have done with Kitkat is to make more applications available through the Play Store and making Android more ‘vanilla’. With Google Play Services it’s easy for the search giant to update parts of Android while not updating the entire OS with its dangers and inconveniences to the user.

Work in progress

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There are 2 comments

tmc8080
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 02 Oct 13 02:10
    These changes aren't necessarily so hot.. the permissions restriction & lockout seems to be a problem never addressed until it's a crisis, with antivirus/malware tools all of a sudden needing blanket permission to use your camera & microphone without asking if it's ok.. or just don't install the app.

    There should be some app loading config similar to windows so you don't get bloated apps loading themselves into memory willy-nilly. NO sign of my two most requested features though... better usb and on screen multi-tasking!! Otherwise, it's all MEH, with the better hardware.
    euphoricdoge
    New Member
    Posted on: 02 Oct 13 16:19
      Finally, custom ROMs have had USB OTG for ages

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