Tech

How To Download KitKat Home Screen on Any Android Smartphone or Tablet

Android 4.4 KitKat Homescreen
(Photo : Shawn Ingram) Android 4.4 KitKat homescreen running on Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Android 4.4 KitKat is only available on the new Nexus 5, but Android users on other phones can use the new KitKat home screen right now to get a taste of the new version of Android.

After searching through the factory image of the Nexus 5, Phandroid was able to find the three files needed to install the Android 4.4 KitKat home screen on any Android smartphone. Installing the KitKat home screen is easy, though be warned that your experience with it may vary depending on your device.

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To install the new Android 4.4 KitKat home screen, simply download and open these three files on your Android device:

  1. PreBuiltGmsCore (Google Play Services 4.0)
  2. Velvet (Google Search)
  3. GoogleHome (Google Launcher)

Your phone may ask you to check an option in Settings to allow apps from unknown sources. Simply check that box, install the three apps on your phone, and you're ready to go.

We were able to install the home screen on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and can confirm that it works. The juxtaposition between a stock Android home screen and TouchWiz everywhere else is a bit jarring, however.

The Android 4.4 KitKat home screen features deeper integration with Google Now. Users can now launch the service by simply saying "OK Google" when on the home screen.

KitKat also gives quicker access to Google Now cards, simply swipe to the left-most home screen to access all of your cards. The feature is great for Android devices that use hardware buttons, or who map Google Now to a long press and tap instead of just a swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

There a few cosmetic changes to the KitKat home screen, most notable are the new app tray and larger app icons.

According to Ars Technica, users can easily access the new KitKat home screen because Google built the app launcher into the new Google Search app in Android 4.4. Technically, the Google Search app is now the home screen, similar to how Facebook Home takes over the home screen. That could mean all KitKat users will soon get the chance to use the default Android launcher, which will please those who like devices such as the Galaxy S4 to HTC One, but prefer Google's pure Android experience.

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