Google’s decision to no longer support Android KitKat 4.4 with Google Play Services has been announced through the Android Developers Blog. Starting from August 2023, API levels 19 and 20 will no longer receive APK versions beyond 23.30.99, effectively leaving KitKat devices without access to the latest version of the Play Store. This development means that users of these devices will be unable to update their apps, and over time, their devices will become increasingly obsolete.
Android KitKat 4.4 was a significant OS update that brought several improvements still relevant today, more than a decade after its launch. One of its key achievements was optimizing device performance, making it suitable for devices with limited resources. This set the foundation for the development of Android GO, a specialized OS iteration designed for low-powered smartphones.
Upon its release, KitKat introduced several notable features and enhancements. Users gained the freedom to choose their own launcher, and full-screen video playback became possible for the first time. Additionally, UI elements were made transparent, providing a more visually appealing user experience. Moreover, KitKat included native support for IR blasters, and the adoption of NFC functionality gained momentum. Today, NFC technology enables us to make mobile payments, start our cars, and even unlock our homes with our smartphones.
Despite its contributions to the evolution of Android, active devices running on Android KitKat 4.4 currently account for less than 1% of the total mobile devices in use. Given this low usage, Google’s decision to discontinue support for KitKat can be understood from a practical standpoint. However, it does evoke emotions of nostalgia among users who have fond memories of using this beloved version of Android.
As technology continues to advance and newer Android versions offer enhanced features and security, it becomes necessary for companies like Google to prioritize support for more current devices. While it marks the end of an era for Android KitKat, this move reflects the dynamic nature of the tech industry and the need to adapt to changing user demands and technological advancements.