Last night, Google announced that the latest version of Android, "KitKat," would roll out to owners of Nexus 7 (Wi-Fi) and 10 tablets, with the update coming to Nexus 4 and 7 (with mobile data) in the near-term. Of course, "roll out" means we're hitting the "Check for Updates" button every twenty minutes, with no luck yet.
This, my friends, is why if you're going to Android, choosing one of Google's own Nexus devices is worth considering: quick updates.
Or, you could always go for a Motorola device. Why Motorola? Google bought 'em last year. The subsidiary's devices now come with near-stock Android (no more bloatware!) and receive timely updates from the mothership in Mountain View. Plus, the company announced the Moto G today, a sub-$200 contract-free phone that surprisingly packs above average specs.
Android 4.4: What We Know
Well, for those lucky enough to have received the update so far, the word seems to be that two features found on the Nexus 5's version of Android 4.4 are nowhere to be seen: the Google Experience launcher and the pretty transparent navigation bars.
Pretty graphical enhancements are a minor omission, but why did Google leave out the latest launcher? The Nexus 5 has a second low-power chip, for listening for voice commands, that older hardware lacks. The new launcher's main purpose is to handle these hands-free voice commands, so including it wouldn't have made much sense.
What will you get? KitKat is rumored to be much, much more svelte, reports Engadget. For those of us whose devices have developed major lag over time, a trimmer operating system should be welcome news.
Moto G: A Moderate Phone for an Insanely Cheap Price
If you are on a strict budget (students, unemployed law grads, anyone else who values a dollar), your best bet, cell phone-wise, isn't to get the latest-and-greatest iPhone 5S on a two-year contract, where you're forking over $100 per month for service.
Want cheap? Go prepaid and embrace the $50-per-month unlimited plans. And then buy a contract-free phone, which will require a substantial amount up front, but will save thousands over a two-year period.
The best contract-free phone is probably the Nexus 5, as it has top-of-the-line specs, from processor to screen, and it gets those frequent updates. But at $350, it might be a bit pricey, especially for a kid or someone who isn't a power user.
That's the Moto G's niche. The phone, announced today, and on sale in the United States early next year, has above-average specs (quad-core processor, a higher resolution screen than the iPhone 5S), with a few compromises (subpar camera resolution, limited storage capacity, and no 4G LTE), for as little as $179. It'll get the latest-and-greatest KitKat in January, and has interchangeable battery plates to add color or personality to your phone.
The 4G LTE data omission is a bummer, but for such a low price, your teenage daughter might just have to Instagram pictures over slightly-slower 4G HSPA+ data.