mobile photography technology, culture and community

Android 4.4 KitKat coming with an advanced, non-destructive photo editing feature

The powerful editing tools can be found in KitKat's native photo gallery app.

Google has given a sweet treat to photographers in its new KitKat operating system. Android 4.4 will be shipping with a non-destructive photo editing feature in the native Gallery app. From what we've seen of the software so far, it appears to offer a huge collection of some of the most advanced editing tools available on any mobile photography apps.

Definitely putting its purchase of Nik to good use, Google seems to have taken all of the features of Snapseed and added other entry-level tools from Nik's desktop software, mixing it all together and wrapping it in a fresh user interface for mobile devices.

Android developer Nicolas Roard worked on the project. On his Google+ page, he revealed some of the new features:

The editor is pretty powerful, works on tablet and phones, handles full-size image processing, zooming, re-edit, image exports, user presets, etc. This new version also adds more powerful specialized tools (graduated filters, per-channel saturation controls, local adjustments, etc.) 

Roard also shared a video that shows off the new features. In the video, you can see that the software definitely includes some of Snapseed's features, including Nik's U-Point technology for selective editing. Watch it below to spot the many new tools for Android photographers.


Total comments: 27

My Nexus 7 (last year's version) is now 4.4. I was offered it on a Software update. It updated without any problems.


If i have to see air ivy bs ing about "something trully unique and different.. Again.."ill throw up


Iphone is ewwwwwwww


Despite it being technically possible and only minor update over 4.3, Google refused to release KitKat (4.4) on Galaxy Nexus, effectively shortening support window to just 1 y/o devices. This really sucks. This left Apple as the only responsible player again (the latest iOS 7 still supports 3 y/o iphone 4, although with some features off and hardware barely able to run it).
And Nexus line was so good in the world of cheapskate manufacturers who did not support their own products!

1 upvote

I like Google


time to get rid of my iPhone...
Does any one know of an app for iPhone that adds text and exports high res? Using Phoster, Over and Piction... meh.
May just have to use photoshop touch.


Android phones need RAW support.

1 upvote

SONY where are u ;)


XIaomi 3 generates DNG files, not sure when it's coming to the rest of the world though. Perhaps you can get one on eBay.


Let's hope this means both RAW capture, and RAW file processing from DSLR and the likes. The latter might be more difficult, but nothing is impossible.


assuming of course it comes to your device... I love my android phone but OS updates take forever to reach the phone after android has been released.


that mostly OEM and carrier issue, best is to load custom firmware and not relly on OEM for carrier to provide you updates.

Roger Nordin

No it's a platform issue. I love my Android phone, but fragmentation is real, and a true downside of Android as a platform. Having to load custom ROMs onto it is not a solution, it is merely a workaround around a real problem.

1 upvote

its not a platform issue. Have you noticed that all of the pure NEXUS devices now have 4.4 kit kit.Thats because the updates come directly from google. Just like apple. BUT with Phones besides the have to wait for the OEM to skin it(sense, touchwiz, blur) THEN you have to wait for the carries to add their bloat, THEN you have to wait for the carrier to release the update! In many cases(verizon), they receive the update and all is ready to go. It just never gets pushed. So for alot of devices, verizon just doesnt release the update! OR they take 6 month to release it. How is this known? Because ill be running that update for 6 months before verizon finally releases it via a leak. It has nothing to do with android. its strictly the OEM's and MAINLY the phones carriers, verizon being the worst.

Edited 60 seconds after posting

In most cases, if you have a verizon phone and its a year old. Dont expect an update for it. Verizon will receive the update but will not release it because they want you to WANT upgrade phones.
With phone hardware plateauing, we are going to have to put ALOT of pressure on the phone companies to release the updates.

As of right now the LG G2 will receive 4.4 in november. The Note 3 shortly after. The moto X in the middle somewhere. and the one in january. After that its no longer the OEM's. The skins have been applied and the carries need to release the updates to all phones.

Edited 1 minute after posting

Stick with the Nexus phone & tablets and you won't have any problems and updates are automatic.


The reason why we have the most up to date ROM's is due to, once the OEM skin is applied, its in most cases released to the public(ROM developers). They make an updated rom.


I'd say carriers play just as large a role as OEM, if not larger... In many cases an OEM will have the update skinned and ready within 3 months, specially for flagship phones, but many US carriers (particularly Verizon) then insist on additional testing or they just don't care to update a particular phone that hasn't moved well, etc.

In the end it's not that big a deal IMO, only enthusiasts care a lot about this kinda thing, the average Joe usually doesn't even know what version he's on. Enthusiasts who really want the latest and greatest immediately still have options: either learn to love to tinker or get a Nexus device. The update pace will slow down eventually anyway.

It's not like iOS or even WP don't face similar issues, it just turned into a bogeyman for Android.Apple routinely leaves out major features from older models, often due to no reason but upselling the newest (Siri/4); and just as often their updates will bog down older models (iOS 7 animations on anything).

WP generally tows a line between Apple and Google's philosophical approaches, and the whole platform has a pretty stable hardware base, yet they've still had major hurdles with updates... Ask WP7 users, any of them. MS can't seem to keep pace with Apple/Google regardlessof their update strategy (and I really like WP's design core btw).


Photohal said to stick with Nexus for automatic updates and no problems, but the big controversy last week was the news that the Galaxy Nexus will not get KitKat even though it is not that old.

Owners of the Galaxy Nexus have already started a petition because they feel so betrayed.

My iPhone 3GS had update support for twice as long as this.



I hope you realise that Nexus devices aren't widely available to people; nor do they offer what people may want in their purchase.

Now consider that the nexus devices make up a very small percentage of android sales, isn't widely available and It's a platform issue pure and simple. One device out of hundreds gets quick updates pretty much tells you it's a platform problem.

OEM can't update the OS fast enough because it allows heavy OEM customisation. That's is a problem for the platform. It means more devices out that can't easily get access.

There are FAR more devices out there stuck in older versions than there are devices on newer versions. The new versions are only picking up due ot new purchases, not updates. Look how many years gingerbread and previous versions held marketshare. They simply never got an update.

No matter how you want to spin it; it's a platform problem.


This is application ...not needed a os update .... only you have to wait until it come to the market


Good point about it being an application.

I think this is how Google is trying to reduce fragmentation. They have split things out of the OS into apps so that people can get most of the new features without an OS upgrade. Most things are already not tied to the OS directly.

I'm thinking of the Gmail app, keyboard, Google services, Google maps etc. I believe another popular phone OS has these kind of things only updated with an OS update so it's more important there.

I have 4.4 on my Nexus 5. I can't see the editing option shown in the article! I wonder if I'm missing how to get there or if it's what they're planning to do in the future.


Except that app is native to 4.4
Meaning : it may not be possible to install it in earlier versions. It will depend on the minimum Android version requirement for that app.
I seriously doubt Android 2.x systems will get it.
The fact that Google allows that much tweaking of their OS makes it a platform issue.
If Google enforced and enabled faster updates we would have less fragmentation and a more stable environment.
Of course that would mean that hardware companies would have nothing left to compete.


"its not a platform issue. Have you noticed that all of the pure NEXUS devices now have 4.4 kit kit."

No I have not. And I have Nexus 4 and both old and new Nexus 7. No 4.4 yet despite it being released for weeks (which is not how it used to be up to and including 4.3).
When new version of Windows is released, you can upgrade all your devices immediately, no matter what, and that is how it should be.


Can we please please have a spot healing tool for cripe's sake? If not in this then at least in Snapseed?


I think Pixlr or Photo Editor by devmacgyver have what you looking for, they are great free apps - especially Photo Editor.

Total comments: 27
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