August 1, 2014

Google previews Android 'L' features

sundar_l-preview

As expected, Google today showed off some of the upcoming features that will make their way into the next build of Android. Known, for now as the “L” release, we should look for it later this fall.

It’s going to be a long summer of anticipation as the set list is quite deep. As Google puts it, this is the biggest release of Android to date. And, based on what we saw today at Google I/O, we can’t argue the point.

There is no official name or release version just yet, but there’s tons of new features coming. Due “in the fall”, the “L” version of Android brings about a much more intuitive layout and interaction. Using real-time light sourcing, developers can add depth to their menus instead of making things two dimension. Slight shadows and rich animations ensure users are able to pick it up more quickly and play with device. The Roboto font has been given a punch-up and everything just feels consistent across the platform.

There are more than 5,000 new API’s for developers to play with, many of which will work beyond simple mobile form factors. This is the stuff that will power your phones and tablets as well as watches, wearables, and even your car.

l-dev-prev

The lock screen experience will be upgraded to include features from the notification shade and will get a brand new look. Android will serve up the most relevant stuff to users and allow them to act, dismiss, reply, etc. all from the lock. Speaking of which, you’ll also be able to bypass any lock security protocols when using certified Bluetooth devices or when in trusted environments. In other words, you can skip your PIN if you happen to be wearing an Android Wear device that’s trusted by your phone.

Improvements are also being made to battery life, garbage collection, graphics, and overall performance. The “L” release will be fully 64-bit compatible and will include enhanced security. Toss in some platform integration of Samsung Knox, separate enterprise environments, and ART runtime support and you’ve got the making of one hell of a release.

If you’re like us then you’d probably prefer to see this in action. To do so, simply watch the YouTube video embedded below! Skip to the 39-minute mark to see the “L” developer preview stuff.