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Everything you need to know about Android "L"

Android L
Android L

The new Android “L” was front and center as Google kicked off the annual I/O Developer Conference in San Francisco, Wednesday, June 25th, 2014. Much of the event’s two-hour long keynote was spent singing the praises of the company’s new Android platform for tablets and smartphones.

In an aggressive move, Google’s new Android UI design takes elements from both Windows Phone 8 and iOS 7. The new operating system includes new design guidelines, as well as new notifications and new colors, including a stark new look. The goal is to come up with a cohesive design that will work not only on your tablet, smartphone or smartwatch, but also on a TV.

Performance will be a key factor to the success of Android “L”. This is the first Android version to use ART for runtime. That ties into another suggested plus of Android L in that Google claims its new operating system will not drain your battery as quickly. In fact, users will be able to run L in battery saver mode to help conserve the most of your device’s battery life. By turning off the phone’s radio and tuning down the CPU, you could essentially leave yourself with an extra hour and a half of battery time.

Another key feature that should win over users is the improved malware and updates, including the security patches. The updates will be available every six weeks, and you will not have to rely on manufacturer or carrier updates.

According to Google, the “L” version of its operating system includes bold new typography and visuals. The speedier version also includes more rapid swipes between components, giving the operator additional perspective into the flat screen images. In addition, “L” includes a string of animations such as ripple effects when you tap a phone number into the phone-dialer app.

Other features highlighted at the conference include the option of getting rid of PIN numbers to unlock your phone. The “L” includes a feature that automatically unlocks your phone either when your phone is in a so-called “safe” location, or if you are also connected to a paired Bluetooth. Like the feature competitor Apple recently announced, the “L” also will allow you to respond to notifications from the lock screen without needing to unlock your phone at all.

The Android L may have won over conference attendees, however, with another key feature tied to notifications. This feature allows things like an incoming call to come up on top of an open app. You can also dismiss the call while in that app with just a swipe.

A developer preview version of Android L was made available on Wednesday in San Francisco. This gives an opportunity for developers to work on and improve their apps for the time being, a departure from past releases when versions were almost instantaneously available to be downloaded.

For now, a specific date has not been released, but all indications are that Android L should be made available to the general public sometime later this fall.

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