Android L: Everything you need to knowDuring Google’s I/O conference last month the software giant gave us the first look at its new operating system – Android L. Just like the iterations before it, this latest upgrade has plenty to offer, in fact Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of Android and Chrome, said: “This is one of the most comprehensive releases we have done.”
Android L – RevealedSo, what is it about Android L that makes it such an exciting proposition? We’ve taken a closer look to find out exactly what’s in store…
DesignGoogle has gone for a radical new visual approach with Material Design, which features bright colours, updated icons and more basic, rounded text. It’s a much bolder UI and brings a unified look that will be rolled out across “mobile, desktop and beyond”.
Overall Android L boasts a more realistic look which includes shadows and 3D effects. And, when users press certain keys the UI will interact with their touch – it certainly looks to provide a very fluid all-round experience.
NotificationsGoogle said that it wanted to streamline the notification process and, as a result, has made some big changes this time round. You’ll see full notifications on the lock-screen and with a double-tap you can be taken through to the app. Or, if you’re too busy to deal with them just swipe them away.
There are also Heads-Up notifications, which pop up at the top of the screen without interfering with what you’re doing.
- Personal Unlocking: This bypasses the pin system and instead recognises a user’s voice or peripherals to grant entry to the phone. For instance if you connect with a frequently used Bluetooth device, the phone will recognise it and automatically let you in.
- Android for work: For quite some time Google has been keen to divide your business and personal life, and Android for work helps you differentiate between the two by allowing different apps to work on separate profiles.
- Recent Apps list: It looks a lot like Chrome browser tabs – cards sit in a row in the multitasking menu. It’s a welcome improvement, but for those that love multitasking it could become a little messy.
PerformanceThere’s nothing worse than your battery running out of juice when you need it the most, and Google has tried to reduce the likelihood of this happening with Project Volta. The CPU has had a complete overhaul to ensure battery performance keeps up with the rest of the OS.
It optimises how the subsystems of a device are used and allows the user to view what’s draining the battery via the Battery Historian tool. Battery Saver mode is also on board, which lets you do things like turn down refresh rates and shut off background data. Using this mode can reportedly add an extra 90 minutes to a Nexus 5’s charge time.
The GPU has also been given a boost as Android L comes with ART runtime. In simple terms, this means that apps can process more efficiently making for a faster all-round performance. An Android extension pack has also been thrown into the mix to make graphics and lighting in games and videos more realistic.
AvailabilityGoogle has released a developer version of Android L to users of the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, so owners of these phones are already benefitting from everything it has to offer.
As for a wider roll-out Android L, or Android Lollipop as it has been rumoured, will come later this autumn. Judging by what we’ve seen so far it’s definitely going to be well worth the wait.
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