Google calls latest Android OS KitKat

For most people a smart phone is a personal thing: Unless your organization has mandated a specific device, the choice is yours.

Many business users who don’t need the security of a BlackBerry have chosen Android handsets, often because models have screen sizes substantially larger than iPhones. One problem is the interface: Android handsets just aren’t as snazzy as others. A number of handset makers have tried to overcome this by putting on their own skins, some of which just take up real estate.

You can switch the interface to stock Google, but if you have an older version of Android that won’t get you the latest design.

Now comes word that Google is making it easy for Android users to have the latest interface — 4.4 — on their devices. It’s not the full OS, just the interface But for those who admire the look of KitKat it may be enough.

As Gordon Kelly outlines in this column at, until now Nexus devices were the only ones that could have an updated interface — a perk for buying a Nexus. But the latest Google Now Launcher (available in on Google Play) will update all handsets running Android 4.1 and up.

“For Android owners it is a no brainer,” Kelly writes. “Stock Android is widely acknowledged as being the most stylish version of Android, it gives easy access to Google Now and there’s voice control just by saying ‘Ok Google’ on the homescreen. Crucially the stock Android launcher also runs incredibly quickly and smoothly even on budget handsets. For example, Motorola – despite the addition of several bloatware apps – claims the Moto E runs faster using the stock Android launcher than the Samsung Galaxy S4 does with its TouchWiz Android skin.”

A tech support person I know said he wouldn’t do it because his handset is his office and he doesn’t want to muck around with the OS. The choice is yours.