It seems a long time ago when Android 4.4 - KitKat - was launched, but some people are only just getting their upgrade. Of course, it all depends on the phone or tablet manufacturer rather than Google and my Samsung Galaxy S4 has only just been updated today.

Android KitKat 4.4 upgradeThe 354MB download installed in around half an hour, but I didn't time it. It's best to plug the phone into the power and just leave it running. Come back some time later when it is finished rather than sit and watch it.

A surprise was the deletion of lots of apps. Most of the Google apps had gone including Google Mail, Google Earth, Google Keep, Google Calendar and so on.

Samsung provides alternative apps for nearly all of the deleted ones, so is this Samsung trying to push you into using its own apps instead of Google's? Is this some sort of battle for users? I thought Google and Samsung had called a truce.

It's hard not to believe in some sort of conspiracy theory when you look at the apps that have gone, but one or two other apps disappeared as well, such as Dropbox.

My first hour using Android KitKat therefore was reinstalling all the apps that had been deleted. At the end of the day no harm had been done because it's a simple matter to reinstall everything. I just wonder why it happened.

Memory matters

Another surprise was the memory usage. Hold down the home button on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and it displays a list of running apps. Swipe them away to clear them from memory and it frees up space.

Hold down home again and this time press the pie chart in the bottom left corner. Select the RAM icon at the top to see the memory usage. Press Clear memory at the bottom to quit unnecessary background apps and free up lots of memory.

Clear memory on Android . Clear memory on Android

There is a lot more free memory when running KitKat. Before upgrading I could never get the usage below about 1.1GB by pressing the Clear memory button, but now it drops to about 750MB. However, only 1.77GB is usable, which is less than before.

I wonder whether this is because it's a fresh install of Android and it has cleared some things that were running in the background, like it cleared lots of my most used apps. I'll keep my eye on the memory usage and see if it rises as the phone is used. For now, I've never had so much memory free and that's most welcome.