GOOGLE SUBSIDIARY Motorola has become the first smartphone maker to release an upgrade to Android Kitkat 4.4 outside the US.
The firm's Moto G smartphones started to receive the upgrade this morning on handsets in Britain and Germany. American owners have been able to upgrade to Kitkat for several weeks. Although Motorola is owned by Google, it remains a separate company and as such can claim to be the first manufacturer to upgrade its users' handsets to Kitkat.
Until now, only Google's own Nexus handsets have been able to run the latest version of Android.
New additions to Google's mobile operating system include intelligent caller ID, transparent notification bars and a unified inbox for SMS and Hangouts.
This latter feature, has however come in for some criticism recently after confused users sent messages through the wrong medium. The Android 4.4 Kitkat build also delivers a 16 percent smaller ROM footprint from Project Svelte and further performance enhancements from Project Butter.
The aims of Android 4.4 Kitkat are to improve the performance of low-end devices and reduce the fragmentation of operating system versions that has dogged Android ever since Android 2.1 Eclair.
The news further fuels suspicions that Motorola will launch a European version of the premium Moto X handset next week, after invitations were sent out for a launch event to "welcome a new addition to the family of European Motorola Handsets".
Given that the background of the invitation includes a picture of someone holding the Moto X, we suspect that those suspicions are correct. We will be reporting from that event and will bring you the news as it happens.
As far as the Moto G is concerned, at the time of writing, our office device is not allowing us to download the upgrade, but we are assured that the rollout is in progress and we should be offered a prompt in the next few days.
Unusually, the rollout for network customers was released ahead of unbranded handsets, much to the dismay of off contract customers. However, as of Monday morning, Motorola has announced the full rollout has begun.
At time of writing, the office Moto G is still steadfastly refusing to update, but we are assured it is only a matter of time. µ