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Dark horse shocker: Verizon first to ship KitKat update for Moto X

US carrier gives Motorola fans first crack at Android 4.4

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Motorola's Moto X will be one of the first smartphones to be upgraded to Android 4.4 "KitKat," and in a surprising break with tradition, customers on Verizon Wireless will be the first to receive the update.

Verizon may be the US's largest wireless carrier, but its track record for delivering Android updates is lousy. Phones on Verizon often don't get the latest OS releases until months after the other carriers have shipped updates for the same handsets. But that all changes with KitKat, which Motorola says will begin rolling out as a free update for Moto X owners on Verizon starting on Tuesday.

"When it came to KitKat, we couldn't wait to deliver," Motorola's Steve Horowitz wrote in a blog post announcing the release.

The update brings a number of improvements, including UI enhancements, a new phone dialer, a new Google Hangouts app that integrates SMS/MMS, a touchless "find my phone" feature for Google Now, and extra spit and polish for the camera and photo gallery apps.

As you would expect for such an update, it also reportedly fixes a few bugs, although Motorola has not specified what they are.

Moto X owners should receive a notification that the update is available over the air, or else they can trigger the download manually by selecting "System Updates" from the "About Phone" menu in their device's settings.

There is no charge to download the update over Verizon's network, regardless of your data plan, but connecting to a Wi-Fi network will likely make the whole process go faster.

Also, note that if you decide you don't like KitKat, there is no way to roll your device back to the previous version of the OS. That's the price you pay for being on the cutting edge.

The update means Verizon has leapfrogged other US carriers that stock the Moto X, though how long that will remain the case isn't clear. Horowitz said Motorola "will have more KitKat for Moto X news to share on other carriers and countries very soon." ®

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