Google announced today at their annual developer conference, Google I/O, the Android L Preview. Android L brings over 5,000 new APIs to developers as well as numerous new features. Android L will be available to developers of the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 starting June 26 at the Android Developers website. Consumers will likely have to wait until the fall for a full release version of Android L.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the key features of Android L Preview.
Material Design UI
Google’s Matias Duarte showed off the new Material Design user interface (UI). Although sporting a flatter look with geometric on-screen navigation buttons instead of the traditional buttons we’re used to, Material Design is a whole new way to experience Android. Material Design focuses on creating a more fluid and intuitive user experience that carries across multiple device types with style guidelines, making users feel at home whether they open your app on a phone or tablet.
Material Design is said to have been inspired by card stock and ink, and Gmail was shown off as today’s example of what apps on our Android devices will look like in the future, and Google showed off how Chrome for Android will display the mobile web similarly to Android apps.
Factory Reset Protection will be baked into Android L, acting as a “kill switch” of sorts that will help users better protect their data. Google Play Services will also receive a number of updates that enhance Android, Android Wear, and other experiences with contextual queues and awareness as well as voice services and Play Store app scanning for malicious content.
Exclusive to ART
Android L will be exclusive to the Android Run Time (ART) as opposed to the old run time that most Android devices run today, Dalvik. Now finally available and 64-bit compatible, ART is designed to support higher GPU performance as well as overall system performance improvements. Google showed off incredibly enhanced mobile graphics by running a demo of Unreal 4 live.
Google introduced Personal Unlocking by demoing an instant requirement for a passcode when the presenter’s LG G Watch was no longer within Bluetooth range of his phone. Also included in Personal Unlocking will be location-based unlocking as well, which will lock or unlock your device when within GPS coordinates set by the user.
Android L will bring to users a new attempt at improving battery life for users’ devices through Project Volta. Features of Project Volta include a Power Saver mode, system optimizations, and an app called Battery Historian that will provide users with a more information as to what operations are using battery and when.
Among the major redesigned features came the announcement that Material Design would also revamp the notifications UI. Notifications will now featured prominently on your lockscreen if you swipe down once to get a full list of notifications. From here you can swipe away notifications or double tap on a notification to launch the corresponding app. An additional notification will now be available as well, dubbed the heads up noticifation. This will pop up at the top of your device’s screen on top of your current app to let you know something needs your attention. Today’s demo was an incoming phone call that offered the option to reject or accept the call.
So, what Android L features are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!
Images: Android Central