We knew this was coming, but Google just showed off the Android L release at I/O 2014. The entire thing appears to be based off off what we've come to know as Quantum Paper, but they're actually calling it Material Design in the release. It's so sexy.

It's definitely a very content-driven interface, with simplicity and minimalism the primary focus with the primary UI.


L appears to be a pretty major overhaul in both form and function, with things like enhanced lockscreen notifications, new navigation buttons, and a focus on fluid design and animations that make sense. There's also a move towards improved security, especially for those who use "Bluetooth watches" (cough, Android wear), where the phone locks itself tight when the watch goes out of range.

But that's not even the exciting part: they announced that the L preview will be available for download on developer devices later today. Turns out that means Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 in Google speak.

Oh, also, they still aren't giving up on the name. Just calling it the "L release." Dammit, Google.

There's a lot more to learn about the L release design and interface, including Material Design on the Google Design page.

...And there's so much more to come.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Matt

    Developer devices=all Nexus devices? :D

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      That's what I'm thinking.

      • @bleakneonblack

        I REALLY hope you're right. :P

    • Mustafa Selçuk Öztürk

      Maybe GPE editions too, (I hope so :p)

      • :-)

        Not for now, will come later.

    • Guest

      Confirmed : Nexus Devices.

      • Esteban Méndez ⚡

        So N4 too? Please please pleeeease

        • :-)

          Not for now.

    • :-)

      Only N5 & N7

      • @bleakneonblack

        Wonder if N7 LTE will be included...

        • :-)

          Well, sooner or later sure, but for now we have to wait I guess. :'(

        • TrogdorTheMagnificent

          Yes, but not until after the Galaxy Nexus (sarcasm, sorta)

      • Matt

        Yeah...Nexus 4 seemingly finally reached end-of-life. I imagine there will be AOSP-based L release ROMs fairly soon, but it's still kinda sad.

        • :-)

          This is only the developer preview, not the stable update. I don't think that the N4 is dead now.

          • Matt

            Ehh, we'll see. This may not officially mean the Nexus 4 won't get the L release, but it certainly hints at it pretty strongly.

          • heythere

            android one will be getting L update but nexus 4 won't? no, not accepting that. if that happens btw, i will be switching.

          • http://www.google.com/profiles/MetalMessiah78 José Gómez

            Switching? To Android One or Nexus 5?

          • heythere

            android is still fun and productivity-friendly and i still am a fan but i'm thinking of switching to iphone for a while. not releasing L for nexus 4 is but laziness.

          • Matt

            Both OSes are really interesting right now (for the first time in years, it feels like iOS is competitive with Android in functionality), so I'm also gonna consider iOS in the fall as well, especially if it's 4.7".

            I wouldn't make up my mind yet and the Nexus 4 not getting 5.0 isn't really a deal-breaker, especially since it sounds like both you and I are upgrading soon anyway, but it's the first time in 4 years that iOS feels open and interesting enough to consider as a platform.

          • heythere

            if nexus 4 doesn't get L, even though i'm not upgrading soon, it will be a deal-breaker for me. it's not very sympathetic of google saying android should be available to emerging markets and run well on low-end devices yet not releasing L for such a phone as nexus 4.

          • Matt

            Of course, that's your prerogative. I initially switched to Android for similarly idealistic reasons when Apple blocked the Google Voice app from the App Store, so I understand.

          • http://www.google.com/profiles/MetalMessiah78 José Gómez

            I'm pretty sure the iPhone won't get the L release, but stay tuned for WWDC 2016! They haven't made any announcements at all regarding what device is getting it. If you're referring to the developer preview, then you're out of luck, but I'm sure if you were a developer, you would probably have a Nexus 5 anyway. I'm sure the L release will be the last version of Android the Nexus 4 will get, but you'll have to wait till the fall just like everyone else.

          • willypt

            it's normal for not including N4. and the rule is '2 year of update' and bye2 phone. That would mean every phone will obtain at least 2 official OS version.

            N4 being JB and KK...
            N5 KK and 'L'

          • Bruno

            Android One will only be released to India (at first), so, for other people around the world using N4 and N5 there will probably be an update. That's the most logical answer !

        • lk

          people, please, one of the devices during the livestream L was previewed on was an N4. It was the device the guy after Sundar had. Dont go all doom and gloom yet. the 4 isnt dying anytime soon.

          • heythere

            that's my whole point. if it dies, that is just contradictory to what google has been up to.

      • BenJammin1023

        Only N5 and N7 will be getting it, tomorrow. Hasn't the N4 been behind or had issues with most of the new Android releases? I'm not saying the N4 will officially get the preview or the final version but I feel like "tomorrow" might be the key word here. Especially with their emphasis on Android running on "lower end" devices.

    • Colin Kealty

      man i wish i kept my nexus 5 instead of getting the HTC One D: ah well it'll come fast to the GPE i assume... Not a preview but oh well. (I upgraded cause it looked nice and my friend wanted my nexus 5 cause she liked it but doesn't have much money :P)

  • http://www.about.me/kendallseabury Kendall Seabury

    Soo... what dessert is L. Lollipop?

    • realitysconcierge

      lemon meringue pie?

    • nvllsvm

      Probably Lingerbread or Lice Cream Sandwich

    • Mastermind26

      I vote for Lemon cheesecake, but since Kitkat and Jellybean have been candy....Lollipop fits too well.


    • ElfirBFG

      Licorice. Although I'm really hoping it's lollipop.

    • Humberto Hernandez

      L, from DeathNote... how can't you see it?


    • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

      Lego. I'm betting it's lego.

      1. The L in the statusbar in the earlier leaked screenshot - looks a lot like a lego piece.
      2. Project Ara - the modular phone - is like putting lego pieces together.
      3. The new animations used in L release - it IS called project Lego or Lego style.

      Android Lego confirmed.

      • TrogdorTheMagnificent

        I've never had Lego for desert, but to each his own, I guess.

        • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

          Well, Google is going for an overhaul. They discontinued the API naming convention (previous ones were 17, 18, 19 etc. No more.). Apple got rid of cat naming their OsX. So, it's not totally impossible for Google to drop the dessert convention.

          • TrogdorTheMagnificent

            Given Lego's extremely protective stance of their trademarks and their general resistance to affiliations with major corporations, I think "Lego" is about as likely as "Lesbians". Which is what I'll just assume the name is going to be until Google ruins my fun.

  • Levi Wilcox

    Moto X developer edition?

  • Jephri

    Oooh. Pretty

  • Stanley C.

    Moto X also have a dev device. With unlock bootloader.

  • chris125

    So all nexus devices then? Or no

  • J_Pod

    Google play edition devices?

  • rhymiZ

    This is so sexy!

  • @bleakneonblack

    Yeah, I really want to know what "developer devices" means. Because I want this shit now.

  • Vignesh
    • Vignesh

      No love for N4?? Is it 18 months already? Darn...

      • Galaxy Nexus

        Welcome to the club!

  • Stacey Liu

    I hope the Nexus 4 gets this update.

    • Esteban Méndez ⚡

      Me too. 🙏

    • Kevin

      I think they specifically just said Nexus 5 & 7 :-(

      • Joseph Scheidler

        For the developer version. Nothing said it won't get the actual release version

        • Steve Williamson

          yeh i think people are forgetting that yes nexus 4 was the reference phone for developers but now its the nexus 5. It only makes sense to have the latest as the developer device. They will spent time getting it working on one phone and one tablet to ensure it scales correctly then roll out to phones like nexus 4

    • Googler

      it does, so does n7 2012.

    • vyktorsouza

      I don't even own a Nexus 4 anymore but I'm with y'all, it would be very unfair not to update it, the Nexus 4 is a powerful lag-free still new device

  • mateor

    They are starting a new program to launch developer previews sent exclusively to Nexus devices. That sounds like a retrenchment in Nexus, not an ending.

  • Chris

    Nav buttons suck. Everything else looks pretty nice tho.

    • Humberto Hernandez

      SoftKeyZ to the rescue!

    • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

      Recents screen only looks pretty. Functionality wise, it sucks big time.

    • Jason Pagliaro

      I kinda like 'em.

    • TrogdorTheMagnificent

      Just needs an "X" button to be full-on Playstation

  • tokuiten


    Wasted space everywhere. The action bar is too tall, full hamburger looks gross, lack of app icon makes it hard to tell what app you're in, way too much horizontal and vertical padding on all UI elements, circles are ugly, abstract nagivation bar sucks.

    Android design peaked with Honeycomb's Tron UI. Everything since has been a decline, and this is by far the worst yet.

    I might actually switch to a custom ROM just so I could get a decent theme engine on there.

    • Humberto Hernandez

      WTF? Honeycomb was like the Emo fase of a teenager... well. if you like it...

      But that doesn't make this ugly either.

    • kashtrey

      The action bar is barely taller than the old version, it just looks bigger because it's using transparent status bar. Lack of app icon? Do you really forget what app you're in that often?

      • tokuiten

        Look at the screenshot. The old Gmail app is displayed side-by-side. The action bar on the new app extends considerably below the action bar on the old app.

        Aside from being a waste of space, the extra whitespace is just plain ugly.

        • kashtrey

          It's maybe 10% taller which to me isn't much but obviously is ridiculous to you, but that's a matter of taste. So to is the view on white space, some people like very dense information. Personally, I feel it's much easier to scan through the updated version due to better use of white space.

    • TrogdorTheMagnificent

      I'm with you on the complaints about the changes, which will probably be toned down by the final release, but Honeycomb the pinnacle of Android design? No. No. Jesus-christ-on-a-stick no.

  • Martin

    So all iOS hater calling iOS7/8 childish now are sucking b****. Android will be iOS with different guidelines. Like it! :-))))

    • tokuiten

      I can't stand either.

      Flat is ugly.

      • Imparus

        Then how can you like HC? HC was already doing flat.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Android and iOS are growing closer to each other than apart with the recent keynotes this months. Soon there won't be much to distinguish between Apple and Google's OSes.

      • ufish2

        just the price...;)

  • Tom

    I like it already, shame Samsung will keep us waiting about 6 months after it gets released on the nexus devices though :P. Oh sony guys: I'm with ya ;)

  • alexcue

    Oh god, please come to my VZW Moto X soon. I'm in love.

    • Trent Callahan

      Verizon? HAHAHAHA

  • http://www.thejunglephoto.pw Thejungle

    Just as I thought and said earlier today - they are planning major hit in the fragmentation, same as Apple did. Good news, I like Pichai for that, starting now.

  • Daniel Collins


  • Lynton

    Will upgrading from kit kat to this developer preview require a factory reset? ie. will it be possible to upgrade as an update without losing any data?

  • Kiser360

    At 20s did anyone notice the top right corner of the "inbox" app? There are 3 windows controls! A close, maximize, and minimize. Does this mean we can expect windowed apps from android? Or was this just some freaky weird incident? Possibly a desktop optimized version of android?

  • Flash

    I think it will be released on 24th of October.
    If you look at the Nexus 7's time on the website for the preview it says 10:24 similar to the release of KitKat although it was release on October 31.

  • _artem_

    what if I never used stock android, as soon as I got my N4 I installed cm, then switched to carbonrom for couple of month and then switched to omnirom as soon since the very first nightlies were released.

    should I care about N4 retirement? what about kernel updates (I mean kernel sources)? what about hardware drivers? or I won't see any changes? (I'm not trolling, just asking)

    will I see any differences just because N4 was abandoned by google?

    • TrogdorTheMagnificent

      Rumors of the N4's demise have been greatly exaggerated

  • Hassan Waris

    This is BS man... I don't see why google stops giving updates after 18 months for there nexus devices... They should be like Apple (unfortunately) they give the old devices updates for around 2 to 3 years... The nexus 4 is still a high spect phone that could've handled Android L easily lag free... *facepalm*

    • Nightfall

      This is a preview. No one said the Nexus 4 wouldn't receive the final build. Calm down...

  • DJRiful

    Bye Apple & your move...

  • DJRiful

    Gorgeous designs... want it now!

  • Eisenhorn1976

    I wonder how involved the Sparrow team was in making the change to the gmail app? It seems to bear their design influence...

  • McGuest

    When will you fucking understand that "7 hours ago" is infinitely more useless than "14:32". Fuck you Google.

  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxYqhKH_VguXO3F2nsMCCHg RedZobe

    Where can I find APK.

    Link please.

  • Matthew Fry

    Good golly those navigation buttons are awful

  • Anorax

    inb4 butthurt over colored statusbar