For the past week now, we’ve been telling you about some of the new stuff that’s arriving with Android 4.4, already running on the new Nexus 5, the handsets of some custom ROM aficionados, and hopefully coming soon for the rest of us. Not everything about the KitKat experience is necessarily so tied to the platform, and we’re seeing Google update a few of its apps to bring some of this new stuff to users still on previous Android builds.
There’s a new Hangouts in the Play Store today, implementing the SMS integration that’s been so hyped. If you’re running ICS or later, you’ll be able to forget about Messaging altogether and start seeing your SMS and MMS communications right in Hangouts. Beyond that, you’ll also find the other improvements from the KitKat release, including support for animated GIFs, location sharing, and new status indicators.
The KitKat keyboard is also now available, but its non-4.4 usage is a little restricted. Specifically, you’re not going to get the emoji support that’s present when using the keyboard on 4.4, but since you’re likely not a six-year-old, you can probably live without the cute little icons. What you will see are the layout changes Google just delivered, as well as a a tweaked color scheme and space-aware gesture typing.
You can check out both these updated apps through the source links below.