Project "Svelte" has Google's favorite mobile operating system, Android 4.4, on the way to older and less powerful devices. A lot of under the hood tuning to make the OS more resource efficient, along with loads of new awesome features that developers can exploit to bring android apps to a whole new level.
Tuning and Tweaks
Android 4.4 brings power efficient, resource efficient, process efficient tuning to the forefront. These tweaks and improvements, largely invisible to the user, are really what make 4.4 shine. I have spent absolutely no time using 4.4, as my only android devices are still running 4.3. I have no option to upgrade at this point, and will do so when 4.4 become widely available. In the case of my Samsung smartphone, I will have to wait for Samsung to skin and push the update. I think the vintage nexus 7 might see 4.4 before the phone: only time will tell.
From Midnight to Daytime
From midnight blue to daylight white, the visual appearance of the newest android version brings a fresh change remnicent of the changes seen in iOS 7. This brighter theme will probably make the "Screens" work harder on OLED devices like my phone, but the power efficiency tweaks in the core of the OS might make up for this difference. I look forward to seeing the new look in first person, my only view of it so far was through reading tech blog posting about it.
Billions of Devices
Android OS operates on more than 1 billion devices out in the wild. Real world people use this OS every day and any meaningful improvement to it will translate into positive changes for so many people. The improvements in OS fluidity will finally bring android the buttery smooth UI performance that Apple has dominate on a lonely island for so long. Project "butter" implemented in 4.3's development took Android to a whole new level of UI performance, but some scroll glitches and dropped frames are still evident when web browsing heavy sites or playing graphically intense games: hardware aside, I am speaking only of the OS's toll on hardware resources: the android system that seems to gobble battery in standby according to the battery use statistics displayed by the related OS system process.
One of the big improvements in 4.4 is a fluid transition to full screen mode, maximizing your content enjoyment of every square mm of limited screen space on mobile devices.
New Storage Framework
Pull from different clouds, to your device, push back to cloud storage, all more seamlessly, giving app developers the power to give groundbreaking storage framework features to end users when apps exploit this incredible new storage framework technology.
Lower power, better fidelity, faster and easier connections, new communication protocols are available to unlock the potential of next generation low energy wireless technologies.
From step counting to gps bicycle tracking, apps that once gobbled battery even with the screen off, can now operate in ultra-low power active states that keep your battery in a good state at the end of your marathons or epic STP style bicycle rides.
Powerful apps can use the GPU with the CPU to solve problems even faster: with CUDA style renderscripts, developers have access to GPU computing features that can distribute heavy computational loads across all the hardware for even better maximum performance.
Better Chrome Support
Enhanced HTML5, CSS3 and Java Script engines bring desktop class browser performance to the android flavors of Chrome in 4.4.