Over the weekend, Sony has released the official Android 4.4.2 KitKat for the first time on the Xperia ZP handsets. The ZR comes with features just like the latest flagship from Sony has such as being water and dust resistant. However, when it comes to software it seems to have fallen down the chain somewhat since the ZR only sees this update now.
For the last few weeks we have watched the company out of Kōnan Minato, Tokyo, Japan release 4.4.2 for a wide list of devices. Anyhow, it is here now and after starting off with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean users finally get a taste of what the chocolate software is all about.
If you have not seen what this edition has to offer a few features worth noting. The first that everybody sees is the camera icon on the bottom corner of the lock screen. It is a transparent white color and it is put here so that users no longer have to unlock the passcode to get access to take pictures. With just a quick swipe, the camera app will open. Take note, I said the swipe and not tap for this one as that might save you some time in working out how to use it. Secondly, Google Hangouts is now set as the default SMS and MMS applications. It is little wonder they are doing everything they can to emphasise it now with recent reports that Google+ is in trouble and the Mountain View company are looking to kill it off. That is only if the rumors are true of course. If you want to change the default option go to the Samsung messages app and from there will show lots of other choices. The people who prefer to do this manually can go to Settings > More Default Apps and change it there. There is a new white transparent status bar that looks very similar to the shading used for the camera icon. It first became transparent in Android 4.3 so you all are probably very familiar with that look. However, it was never all white up until now. There was some orange and some green parts in it also. The idea of making the bar all white stems from trying to fit more into the theme or KitKat and just making things easier to see. We suspect there were worries of it looking too plain and boring but if you want my opinion it looks great now and a little green robot company out of Silicon Valley have done a great job. Rounding out the rest of what’s notable is the keyboard and optimized swipe gestures. This same performance enhancement can be found all over the OS where it is much faster and more stable than its Jelly bean predecessor.
Let’s look at more Sony-specific features for a moment.The native portfolio sees improvements across the board for messaging, email, smart social camera and a new battery Stamina Mode. You might have heard reports about several smartphone manufacturers including HTC rolling out an update that came with major battery benefits. Now Sony has upped the ante and come up with one of their own. Those of you who are getting in on the SmartWear activity will be pleased to know that the Smartband now has connectivity with it as well as the LifeLog app. There ‘re tons more inside including a UI like the PlayStation 4, Walkman and movies come with Entertainment Network cloud integration and a lot more. To read up on the official list, you can view the SonyMobile blog post here.
This update is being pushed out over the air (OTA) to all carriers. It happens at different times not only with carrier but individual handset also. That means it could come between now and the next few weeks for your device if your carrier has already started issuing the software. To check your device go to Settings > About Phone > Software Update > Check for update and see if there is one waiting for you. It will be big enough for you not to want to confirm the installation until you are off the mobile data plan and on the home WiFi if you have that option. I’ll leave you with that to think about. If you have any questions, or would like add any information on something you have found that we didn’t mention, please leave a comment and we will get back to you.