26
Jun
letter-l

The images are live, and that means developers (and not developers) all over the world are getting their first taste of whatever version Android L is going to be (I assume 5.0). This is the most significant change Android has ever seen, but the version we're getting is slightly different than what Google showed off at I/O, but let's take a quick look at what we do get to play with.

Screenshot_2014-06-26-12-59-17 Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-01-40Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-03-27

The first thing I noticed is that the developer preview still has the KitKat-style status bar icons. The L icons shown off at I/O were smooth and not broken up in the traditional way. Unlocking the device is as simple as swiping up on the lock screen. If you have a pattern or PIN, you'll be asked for it at that time. Notifications are always on the lock screen, but the content is hidden until you unlock or launch one. It's actually kind of neat how the notification shade and lock screen are tied together now, but it's going to take some getting used to. The lock screen now has both camera and phone shortcuts as well.

Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-09-10 Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-40-15 Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-20-21

The shadow from the status bar and nav buttons is now absent on the regular home screen, which looks much cleaner. The shadows pops in when scrolling through Google Now so you can see the icons, though. The home screen itself looks very similar to KitKat – just a few icon tweaks. There are still widgets, settings, and wallpapers behind a long-press.  

I can't find a setting to enable lock screen widgets... Google might have abandoned this feature in favor of its own richer lock screen experience. Also missing (at least I can't find it) is a way to activate the personal unlocking feature. That's supposed to help you avoid entering a PIN or pattern when at home or in various other "safe" situations. So far I'm entering the pattern every time. It might just be hidden, or it could be coming in a future update.

Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-01-27 Screenshot_2014-06-26-14-23-36 Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-49-58

The new app switcher does look spiffy, but I'm not yet seeing multiple Chrome tabs broken out as individual items. Maybe there's some server-side change that needs to happen. I checked a lot of websites and searched for stuff to see if that would trigger an extra card, but nope. Oh, and that new keyboard seems solid. I'm not sure about the non-separated keys, but I feel pretty accurate with it.

Moving on to the notifications, there is no more two-finger gesture to open Quick Settings. Instead, you just drag down from the top again and the Quick Settings panel springs open from the top of the notification list. I think this might be a much smarter way to go about it – almost no one knew about the gesture anyway. The Quick Settings panel is also completely revamped with new icons, notification control, cast screen, and rotation lock for phones. I cannot get screen casting to work, though. The notifications are, as we saw at I/O, a list of collapsible cards. I'm totally smitten with the look, but I don't see a clear all button. This had better be an oversight.

Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-46-49 Screenshot_2014-06-26-14-07-22 Screenshot_2014-06-26-14-35-20

The settings screen looks completely different, and dare I say it, lovely. The icons are minimalist and the lighter theme perfectly complements the new Android aesthetic. There is also a new search button at the top to help you find things in the settings, but it's pretty buggy for me right now. The settings list is where I first noticed the new edge scrolling animation (see below). When you hit the end of a list, you get a sharp "shadow" graphic. It's way better than the white glow from KitKat, which was invisible in many apps. In case you were hoping that the settings screen would offer some insight into the name or version, nope. It's "Android L." Even the Easter egg is no help, just some colored blocks referencing this YouTube vid.

Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-18-16 Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-17-50 Screenshot_2014-06-26-14-28-13

There's also adaptive brightness now so you can tweak the average brightness while still having auto-brightness enabled. People have been asking for this one for a long time. One more thing – tablets finally have a proper split layout for settings items, and it's the same for phones in landscape. It's so good.

Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-06-00

The battery saver mode is present, but there aren't many settings for it yet. Just on or off and an option to have it flip on automatically at a certain battery level. The updated battery history graph Google showed off at I/O isn't here yet, but the old one has been reskinned for L. Again, hopefully that's coming later.

Most of Google's apps have yet to be updated with the Material Design look, but the dialer and calculator are already done and in the preview. They look neat after getting use to them, but I think some developers might end up going a little overboard with all these new colors and elevation values. You might also notice that Google is implementing translucent nav/status bars differently. Look at the Pushbullet example below – the shadows are gone and instead we get a very clean, solid shaded zone in each location.

Screenshot_2014-06-26-14-31-38 Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-20-07 Screenshot_2014-06-26-14-13-16

This is just a quick overview after flashing the developer preview. We're going to be digging into Android L a lot in the coming days, so make sure to let us know if you spot anything amazing.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Jarl

    boring is the first thing I thought
    looks really dull somehow, not impressed

    • Matthew

      Minimal is where it is at. I don't know what you would expect, zipping lines, bolts of lighting? Things that do not enhance experience and more than likely probably hinder the performance for simple tasks.

      • Grahaman27

        I love minimal, I love the card design and lighting, I love color... BUT NOT THESE COLORS.

    • verboze

      agreed! So far, I find the UI very flat and boring. That keyboard is hideous. I hope the final release or mod community will provide something better or allow to revert to kitkat look.

  • Julio M

    Why so serif L?

    • WORPspeed

      they should've gone with Death Note's L

      • ssj4Gogeta

        And his theme as the default ringtone!

        • WORPspeed

          They better start taking notes for the M and N releases, Mello and Near are minor characters imo, but still!

          • ssj4Gogeta

            That'd be awesome!

  • Jeabus

    Looks like it was covered in touch wiz

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      I knew that agreement with Samsung would not lead to anything good

  • Cesar

    "Notifications are always on the lock screen, but the content is hidden until you unlock or launch one. It's actually kind of neat how the notification shade and lock screen are tied together now"

    Farewell DashClock. I knew ye well.

    • HebeGuess

      It depend on device policy, you have control wether to show or conceal message content on lockscreen. unlock to show is set by default.

    • ThEGr33k

      Dash clock is still my home screen when I unlock it. :)

  • csgabor

    does tethering work? I'd like to test drive it for a few days on my n5, but I use tethering constantly. (Already backed up everything).

  • Rob

    Im curious if the keyboard (aside from visual) has been updated at all? I think they could do a lot better in terms of key predictions based off of word predictions... Their stock keyboard isnt the most accurate for fast typers..

  • Daniel Antón García

    When is the final version going to be released?

    • Cesar

      When Google is ready to release it.

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      they haven't announced a specific date, just "fall"

      • EowynCarter

        Bouyges said the new bbox (with android TV), will be there in october. I guess L will show up at about the same time.

    • http://thedangerbrain.com/ Alfonso Surroca

      Long before Half-Life 3.

  • Brad

    I wonder if the updates will be OTA as they come....

    • Rick Wilson

      I am also wondering that myself. I am really enjoying L

    • Andrew Wacker

      Was just going to ask this. I guess time will tell.

  • http://www.corbindavenport.com/ Corbin Davenport

    I hope there is a flashable zip soon, I want to try this in MultiROM.

  • dakuten

    The default blue in settings etc… is Samsung-ugly IMHO.

  • Bluewall

    After what I've seen on twitter, it doesn't seem to be ok to flash on your daily driver phone sadly. You guys confirm ?

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

      Nexus 5 and 7 (2013) only. for developers only.

      • Bluewall

        I'm not sure you understood what I was saying ? :P

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

          You asked if you should use it as your daily driver. (the phone you use every day). I said its for developer use, ie people who want to develop their app for L.

          • Bluewall

            Well, developer doesn't mean it has to crash every 15 minutes :p

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

            Your more than welcome to try if you sincerely want to. Just remember this version of L in in no way intended for daily use.

      • Brian Lippman

        Yes, he means if you have one of those is the preview stable enough to use on them as your permanent OS.

  • networkdood

    Would be nice to have an option for background color to not just be white - black can be nicer - also, how about profiles in Google Play store for gaming - instead of me having to create a gmail account for my kid, I can just use my own, but have 3 sub profiles withing the gmail account...

    • Stanley C.

      Yep. This whole whiteness is so ugly... They want google now everywhere...

  • asdf

    Ryan, Is it possible for some apk's?

    Because I know When 4.4.3 was released you could use the dialer in 4.4.2...

  • Jondan Rothfus

    I noticed colored themes. What all does that affect?

  • Stanley C.

    Is there a new roboto font? The number seems little different...

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      Yup, Roboto 2.0, they said it would scale better between phones all the way up to TV

      • Stanley C.

        Would be nice to extract this new font to use on KK to get used with it :-)

        • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

          Give it time, I'm sure it'll happen

  • Giingee

    I think ill wait till I have it in my hand on my N5 before I make a full judgement. Some parts of it look really nice, whilst other parts i'm not really sold on. Overall though design is something you can get used to, its how it performs in your day to day routine that's the main thing.

  • Larry Simpson

    It's ugly...

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      meh, if you don't like it don't use it. Android is still a system where you can replace pretty much everything. There are plenty of lock screen apps to choose from

      • Larry Simpson

        It's becoming more like IOS...very cartoonish

        • Grahaman27

          its the colors I hate, they are vibrant, yet milky. It drives me crazy that google uses non-complementary colors for some apps. milky blue+turquoise and blue+yellow? looks hideous... sorry, hopefully the colors change before release.

          • Larry Simpson

            You hit the nail right on the head

        • Andrew

          That's funny I was thinking exactly the opposite. If anything its becoming more and more distinct as its own operating system.

  • http://emuneee.com Evan

    With lock screen widgets gone, the album art that fills the lockscreen and the lock screen music controls are also gone. Maybe it hasn't made its way into the preview yet?

    • Pascal

      they said it yesterday in some room, that they were trying to finish it till preview version, but it isn't working yet.

      • Paul_Werner

        Thanks, I was getting worried... kinda

    • Ryan O’Neill

      They could simply show the Music app's notification on the lockscreen, allowing you to control it from there.

  • andy_o

    Is the minimum auto brightness finally as dark as the manual minimum?

  • MarkG54321

    Play store download and then install is now download, install, start a next download straight away. i.e. parallel download and install.

  • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

    Did they say anything about GPe devices getting dev builds? I haven't seen anything...

    • Brian Lippman

      It's only the N5 and N7 because they are the "dev reference devices." other Nexus or GPE devices may come later or they may not.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        And the absence of a preview build for Nexus 10 or lack of existence of at least one 10" GPE tablet kinda hints at that Google does not see 10" as a good market anymore... A damn shame

        • Brian Lippman

          No, it just means the N10 isn't a reference device, what with it being like 2 years old at this point. They showed that L and Material have a big focus on scaling from phone to tv, and 10" devices are between that and will be supported just as much. The lack of dev previews also doesn't mean that devices without one aren't getting L either. Just getting that out of the way.

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            So they don't seem to be having a reference device for 10" catrgory

          • Brian Lippman

            They don't have a reference device for TVs either.

            The whole point of Material (and Holo, and whatever it was in Honeycomb) is that if developers use the design guidelines and APIs correctly, they don't need to test it at every single screen size because it will naturally fit to the screen. They updated the Nexus 5 (test it on a phone) and the Nexus 7 (test it on a tablet), so they have two of the target areas. If developers design correctly for the Nexus 7, it will work correctly on the Nexus 10, so there's no need to have the preview on the Nexus 10. Not to mention those are their two newest devices.

            And who's to say these are the only devices to get the preview before the full release? They could release a Nexus 10 preview build next month for all we know. Going by your logic, since they only have a 5" phone reference device that means they aren't going to support 4", 4.5", 5.5", etc devices correctly.

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            Actually they DO have a reference device for Android TV - Artem showed one that was given at I/O

            And I don't think that having your app tested on 7" makes it works just as well on 10" - the scaling is different, the resolution might be different, and maybe you might need to make the UI a bit bigger, so they certainly DO need to have a reference device for anything that's bigger than 7"

          • Brian Lippman

            Use a Nexus 7 in landscape next to a Nexus 10 in landscape. If the developer is using the guidelines correctly, they should look pretty much the same, with the Nexus 10 showing more information. The point of fragments and other APIs is to AVOID scaling on tablets. Apps don't scale up, they show more information as the screen gets bigger.

            Example: Gmail on a portrait Nexus 7 will show your selected inbox, with a slide-out menu to choose a different inbox or get to settings. Click an email and the screen changes to that email.

            Now use Gmail on a Nexus 10. The slide-out menu is now visible and not accessed through pulling it out. That's ~1/3 of the screen. The other 2/3 is the list of emails in the selected inbox. Click an email, and the email list is moved to the left and is resized to 1/3. The selected email now takes up the other 2/3.

            Google is using their APIs how they should be used. They don't need to test it on both tablets, because their APIs just make it work. The lists or buttons aren't getting bigger, the same number of emails is being shown on both devices. The API for the slide-out menu makes it so on one size of devices it is hidden, and on another it's visible.

            Again, the whole point of what Google is doing with their design guidelines and APIs is to make it so developers DON'T need to have a multitude of devices with different screen sizes, resolutions, etc. They just need to design for a phone and a tablet (and TV and watch and car). The layout of a Nexus 7 in landscape is the same as a Nexus 10, so they don't need a Nexus 10.

            Also again, the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 2013 are the newest phone and the newest tablet. They aren't going to give out an almost 2 year old Nexus 10 to developers at this point.

    • AURELIEN

      I really hope that there will be a developer preview release for the GPe devices, otherwise I don't see the benefit of having a GPe device if it's not being treated be Google like the Nexus line.

      • Travis

        Nexus line is a developer phone and gpe software is made by that manufacturer while nexus software is made by Google. Since Google is the only person that has the code then they will only make it for nexus line. That would be my guess, I don't work for Google or HTC so I don't know who has the code.

        I'm just as excited as anyone else with a HTC one m8 gpe getting "L" but I don't want a buggy phone, so I'm alright with not having it. I'm not saying if I had the option to use it I wouldn't though, so I'm kinda glad we can't get it yet.

      • Nightfall

        GPE phones aren't developer devices. Android is built and tested on Nexus devices.

        • AURELIEN

          It would be great if the GPE devices get the L release though :(

          • Nightfall

            They'll get it. They just won't get the preview.

  • David Dudovitz

    A lot of it looks a lot like Sense 6

    • Sean

      I thought the exact same thing, but my M8 is the first phone I haven't custom ROM'd so I'm totally okay with that.

      • David Dudovitz

        Me too, I like it also

    • Simon Belmont

      Yeah. The color keyed status bars really reminded me of Sense 6.0.

      It's not bad looking though, IMO. I like it.

      • David Dudovitz

        Not to mention the thickness of the app bar (nee action bar)

  • Brian Lippman

    "tablets finally have a proper split layout for settings items,"

    You mean they brought it back. I will never understand why they removed the fragments from Settings on tablets in 4.4 (or 4.3, can't remember which changed it). So much wasted space and extra taps, one of the dumbest decisions they made. Glad it will make a return.

  • Michael

    order a watch band for your new smart watch?

    • RyanWhitwam

      I did indeed.

  • Tom Inniss

    Overall I think it is a solid improvement. Things I'm not yet sold on include how the notification and quick settings menu works in landscape (terribly!), and how you still can't change different volumes from within said quick settings.
    However, Gallery is now completely gone (yet news and weather remains for some reason...) and I don't know if it was there before, but in Photos, if you go to share a picture having not set up sync, a colourful bar is at the top of sharing intents saying "Back up your photos and make them awesome, automatically." May have been there before but I've always signed in immediately.

    • Paul_Werner

      With Gallery gone can you still trim videos on the device?

      • Tom Inniss

        Battery has died but I can check later if you like. I've never trimmed a video on my phone before though..
        Can it not be done in photos?

        • Paul_Werner

          I never found a way to do it. I trim some videos when I just want a shorter section from my videos I take with my dashcam app that I want to share with people so it'd be nice to not loose this feature.

          Thanks, I appreciate it

  • Michael P

    "new app switcher does look spiffy, but I'm not yet seeing multiple Chrome tabs broken out as individual items."

    oh geez - I hope there's a way to keep it strictly by app. I sometimes have over a hundred tabs open in chrome.

    • Josh Crumley

      Me too! ever get the smiley face in the tab button, like it's saying ":) you are insane"

      • Darrien Glasser

        Oh, put up a screenshot, I want to see it!

        • Bjajjull

          Here you go.

          • Darrien Glasser

            That's pretty funny. Thanks.

          • Akram

            That Smiley means you have more than 99 tabs open :)

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Impossible, it would crash

      • Josh Crumley

        No, tabs that aren't open for a while sleep, I've literally had over 100 tabs open. When you get that high the number in the tab button changes to a smiley.

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          Wow, that's something new to me

        • tab-savvy

          Why the fuck would you ever need that many tabs open?

          • Bjajjull

            Tabs don't close themselves.

          • tab-savvy

            Right, but what could possibly necessitate that many tabs?

          • Bjajjull

            Always open a new tab when browsing and never close old tabs. Then it's pretty easy to get to 100+ tabs.

          • Đức Thành

            I do that on my phone and on PC, too. People with a bit of ADHD or simply can't focus on one thing/have short attention span usually divide their attention to many things at one time. That's why there's such a thing as "multi-tasking". Right now I have around 30 tabs opened in Firefox alone, when a page links to some new stuff I find interesting I open a new tab even though I haven't finished all the content in the current tab yet, and I keep thinking I'll go back around to it later. The circle repeats...

            People who frequent TV Tropes know the struggle.

    • Blucose

      But the point is its a task switcher. The things you accessed most recently are lowest. 100 tabs would be way up the list out of the way, the 2 you used in the last hour would be closest. And anyway, currenltly the task switcher only allows a certain number of apps, i dont see it working without a limit.

  • marlamin

    The colored blocks refer to the Webdriver Torso "mystery" from a while back.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsLiV4WJfkTEHH0b9PmRklw

    More on it: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27778071

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Is there some kind of a message hidden?

      • marlamin

        Nah, apparently it's for testing Youtube's encoding algorithms or something.

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          Weird how all those videos were uploaded, like, 30 minutes ago or so. Maybe it hints at a certain change in Android?

          • marlamin

            Nop, all automatically uploaded. Has nothing to do with Android, Google is just poking fun at the news their algorithm testing stuff generated.

  • Vinícius Philot

    In my oh so humble opinion, what Google is trying to say with this Material Design thing is that content matters above everything else. I like this design philosophy and I'm very curious to see whether Google will translate it into beautiful and fluid animations the way their design guide does.
    Anyway I'm still not buying these white cards on the notification drawer. Too much contrast with the faded out black background, I feel confused.

    • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

      On the contrary, 'methinks. If content mattered above anything else they would have swayed more into Microsoft Modern territory. Instead, they gave us texture, shadows, building blocks. Why, if all that matters is content? I believe they're saying form also matters, as long as it helps you interact with the content better...

      • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

        I don't think you understood what he was saying.

        • Biba Nishima

          I think You, doesn't undertand his answer, even if he may not be right.
          Adding solid and easily implementable shadow and animation stuff is an invitation for developpers to add some surroundings to the content. From this point, the question is: Should we consider this, is a way to insist on content or not ?

  • Jake

    That keyboard is just... I hope that's not the final vesion.

    • RyanWhitwam

      I like it.

  • Nathan

    I love it.

  • Josh Crumley

    FYI the red/blue blocks are in reference to those test patterns on youtube that everyone was freaking over.

    • Simon Belmont

      Exactly. Hence the .flv in the filename (flash video file type).

      I'm surprised more people didn't notice. Ha.

  • motoridersd

    I ran it for a while, but went back to KK because I was unable to get Swiftkey to work properly. It wouldn't suggest words, and wouldn't let me download new languages (only had my usual 2) or new themes. Twitter and Vine FC, as well as Dropbox. Maybe something changed in the way storage works.

    I do like the direction things are taking

    • Brad

      oh shoot that's a thing to worry about....

    • Daniel Siladji

      SwiftKey works fine for me on L...

      • motoridersd

        Hmm. Then I need to try this again. I didn't wipe my sd card, so maybe that was causing problems. I couldn't see my files on L, but they were there when I went back to KK.

        • hazza

          A lot of people have reported various problems following a dirty flash from 4.4.4. I couldn't even go any further than a bootloop when I tried it myself. Ran a clean flash and all is fine now.

    • Paul_Werner

      Did you update with a wipe of the device and still get those issues? Just wondering

      • motoridersd

        I did a wipe but not a thorough one. I did a factory reset with TWRP, but kept my internal sdcard data. I figured that would have been enough, but looks like it wasn't.

    • http://www.nerdofsteel.com Rocco Augusto

      For me it is the Twitter app that doesn't work. Also the background on the comment window is Facebook is completely transparent making commenting pretty much useless. I like the rest of it though (minus the new notifications. They just seem awkward compared to everything else)

      • Samer Ajlawi

        You are Right about Facebook comments.

      • savakc

        Facebook - 9.0.0.26.28 - 100 % function

    • Badouken

      SwiftKey Just crashes for me on L.... but im on the Nexus 7

    • wyman

      same here for Facebook comments page, twitter FC and Dropbox FC. gotta find alternative apps

      • Jose Antonio

        In the meantime I've installed Klyph for Facebook, Carbon for Twitter and Astro file manager for Dropbox. Let's hope they upate the applications and/or the OS soon.

      • savakc

        Facebook - 9.0.0.26.28 -100% function

    • Vishnuprakash Palanisamy

      How do I revert back to 4.4.4 from Android L??

  • remister

    I will wait and not spoil myself over this dev release...

  • CharlesTF

    Hey, could someone who downloaded the factory image check if there's a new version of Play Games? The new Play Services keeps asking me for that.

  • Daniel Traynor

    I am excited for the new Material Design Google Apps to roll-out. !! :)

  • Slawootsky

    The Easter Egg is a Webdriver Torso reference, google it.

    • Paul_Werner

      Hilarious. Google is rick-rolling people

  • ProductFRED

    Am I the only person who thinks the new nav-bar buttons look beyond stupid and out of place?

    • Simon Belmont

      No. You aren't.

      I don't care for the PlayStation button symbols either. It's kind of kiddy looking.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        They really got carried away with oversimplifying sthff

    • http://www.skeletaldrawing.com/ Scott Hartman

      That's the one part of the design I think is really awful - not only does it look juvenile compared to the rest of the design, but their functions are much less obvious so new users will be confused as hell ("Wait, the CIRCLE is the home button???").

    • Fitzelgard Allan Gerard

      It is still subject to change, you could always give your feedback on this on Google forums and hopefully someone will take notice, I do agree tho, the whole buttons make it clean in a way, I guess they were looking for ways to present more screen with less nav bar size taking up screen space.

  • Simon Belmont

    I sort of hope that lockscreen widgets aren't truly gone. I use them pretty often.

    It looks like I'll be holding off on flashing this to my daily driver N5. I'm hearing people having difficulties using some apps, so I'll wait.

    • Paul_Werner

      Same here, glad I'm not the only one that loves the lockscreen widgets

  • Daniel González

    How difficult must be to make a calculator with history?

  • Ali

    how do you take screenshots of whats on the phone?

    • Ganesh

      volume down + power

      • Ali

        thanks :)

  • http://plus.ly/zsolt prwnd

    The easter egg is not just some color blocks!!!
    It is the same as the many mysterious videos appeared on YouTube in May!!!!!!!!!

  • brkshr

    Mostly stable, but I've ran into a few bugs so far.

    -Some things UI animations stutter &/or don't scroll so smoothly.
    -Had a folder in the dock not open. It would display the open icon, but the open folder was no where to be seen. Reboot fixed.
    -Had a wifi authorization fail. Never seen that before. It worked on re-try though.
    -A few apps error'd out and won't install. Google Docs & Sheets (shame, shame), RunPee, & one more that I forget right now.

    Not too bad. The missing 'clear all notifications' button kinda sucks!

  • HebeGuess

    You mentioned that battery graph is reskin, I reckon nothing more will come later. The battrey historian they showed at I/O was part of the developer debugging tools, they'd talk and showed related adb commands on a slide too.

    • Simon Belmont

      ^This. I kept wondering why websites thought it was a make over in the battery stats on the phone

      I think they'll just stick the re-skinned look of the current battery stats. Nothing majorly new..

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    The lack of KitKat gradient for status bar and navbar is rather disappointing, it looks uglier

    • Simon Belmont

      Yeah. They only appear when something can obscure them, I guess (like Google Now).

      I liked the gradients, too. Oh well.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Well, at least we can enjoy it with Tinted Status Bar for a few more months until the full repease

    • miri

      Kitkat's visibility protection is terrible. Very limited in utility (making it prone to misuse) and is often excessive, even causing black clipping on displays with lower gamma. In L, there are 3 modes: solid black, semi-transparent black and no protection. If devs want a gradient they can use the third mode and add it themselves and they can make it as subtle or apparent as they want.

  • mechapathy

    Some new accessibility features, including color space correction for colorblindness.

    • Alfredo Hernández

      That's very nice. I really appreciate the amount of effort Google puts in accessibility options.

      • http://www.nerdofsteel.com Rocco Augusto

        And yet they still haven't put together a nice left handed interface for us lefties out there. This makes me sad. Using the phone with my right hand is awkward.

        • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

          Ever heard of force RTL layout in Dev settings?

          • http://www.nerdofsteel.com Rocco Augusto

            Yes and RTL is not the same thing as designing an interface for left hand people. I guess you'd have to be left handed to understand the struggle.

          • Mr.BumScratcher

            What!? I'm left handed and I can use me phone properly. I would rather have Google focus on helping people with actual disabilities.

          • Alfredo Hernández

            What I was gonna say. If you are a lefty, deal with it. Even I, a right-handed man, sometimes use my phone with my left hand properly.

          • David

            Nothing against what you said, but I'm right handed and I actually use my phone with my left hand a lot. I don't see any problems. It's actually easier for some things, like the nav drawer.

          • JW

            I'm a proud lefty and I have no problem navigating my Nexus 5 one-handed with my left hand (or my right hand for that matter). It's not a pair of scissors.

            But YMMV, of course. What parts of the UI, specifically, are you referring to? I'm genuinely curious, because I can't think of any bias for the placement of control elements in any app I use.

            Sometimes you have to stretch your thumb a bit to hit something (now that average screen sizes have gone up), but in my estimation and experience I've found that issue equally present on the left and right hand side of the screen.

            Speaking as a lefty, I'm not even sure how an "interface for left handed people" on Android would be any different.

          • NinoBr0wn

            I'm left handed, and I use my phone with my left hand. Don't know what you mean.

        • Ben Tamor

          I'm left handed and I can read between the lines and see that this is obviously sarcasm. 99% of the time when someone refers to something as "the struggle" they are obviously making funnies.

          You guys take yourselves to seriously.

          • http://www.nerdofsteel.com Rocco Augusto

            Thank Glob. I was starting to think I was the only left handed person with a sense of humor. Maybe Google will build in a sense of humor accessibility feature in the M release. The struggle is real :D

          • Raisin

            You leftys make sick, you should all be burnt at the stake as witches like back in the olden times.

    • Jeremiah Snader

      My curiosity in regards to any other color space correction schemes found in those settings is getting to me. Is this the only feature in the options there related to color space correction?

  • Chr Borchgrevink-Vigeland

    Can you answer eg. new sms directly from the notification like in iOS 8? Kinda neat not having to go into the app itself.

    • TedPhillips

      actionable notifications have been in android since jellybean. just up to your sms app on what it does, i think.

      • Chr Borchgrevink-Vigeland

        Hmm, which sms app supports this? Not Hangouts at least.

        • Simon Belmont

          It'd be neat if Hangouts did, eventually. Just to send a quick reply without having to jump out of an immersive mode app, especially.

          I could see them adding it. We'll find out.

  • Simon Belmont

    Hey. Anyone spot KITT or the ability for the Nexus 5 to do voice activation when the screen is off (and not charging)?

    I'm really hoping for touchless controls on stock Android to come into view on the L release as rumored by AP. Can't wait.

  • Coentje44

    I wonder if we'll get system updates for this preview.

    • Simon Belmont

      That's what's holding me back. I want to know how updates will be handled.

      I don't mind flashing images, really. I just want to have all the information before I take the plunge.

  • catiremedina

    Did you try the google plus app? that has got a materialish look, maybe L enables animations that were missing or something like that

  • Rovex

    Somewhat like the LG G3 in basic design actually.

  • bremberdee

    Android always struggled with design

    • Rovex

      Compared to what? iOS was hideous until iOS 7, then became like a kids toy.

      • Jeez

        Only the most insecure Android fanboy would find a way to bring Apple criticism into a claim that had nothing to do with Apple.

        Way to make the rest of us look bad.

        • Rovex

          Not really no. He made a claim with no point of reference, I gave him one, he didn't respond.

          • Jeez

            He was comparing Android...to Android. There was a point of reference, you were just too insecure to see it.

            You asked a question, answered it yourself, and then supplied commentary based on your own question/answer. That is pathetic, and that just stinks of Android fanboyism.

            Like I said, way to make us look bad.

          • Rovex

            He added the screenshot (which doesnt actually show anything valid) AFTER I posted. So next time get your fact straight.
            The public spoke, I got 10 up votes, you got one.. Loser.

          • Jeez

            That doesn't matter in the slightest, the point is that NO WHERE was iOS mentioned until your insecure self brought it into the picture. Your urge to defend Android runs so deep that in the face of it getting criticized, instead of asking for clarification about what exactly they struggled with, you decided to use iOS as a point of comparison and then attack it.

            That is insecure fanboyism at its finest. Get over it.

            I don't get what is so difficult about this...

          • Rovex

            Meh.

          • Jeez

            Yeah, that's the response I expected. No substance, all ridiculous.

            This is why iOS users hate us. :(

          • Rovex

            Deal with it.

          • Jeez

            Nothing to deal with, no worries :). Keep fighting the good fight against the evil toy-like Apple software updates!

          • Rovex

            For someone with nothing to deal with you sure do go on and on..

  • David Li

    Here is the link to all the system apps in the img, extracted by me

    some (like the clock) install fine, others (like camera) don't install

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ur4qwsj9kiwfzhn/AABU69NchWeJP9nSqSqdtNkFa

  • http://adonisk.com Adonis K.

    Can someone share the boot either image or video of it?

  • Jacob Brown

    How are the radios? Does everything work like camera, LTE, phone calls etc?

    • Jacob Brown

      I'll wipe my device and run with this if they do.

    • brkshr

      Everything works fine. In fact, I seem to be getting a better signal now. At my work at least. The real test comes when I get home and I'm constantly toggling between LTE, H+ & no signal. Baseband went from 2.0.50.1.16 to 2.0.50.2.08

      • Simon Belmont

        Thanks for the radio baseband version comparison. I appreciate that.

        I noticed the radio seemed better, for me, in Android 4.4.4 over Android 4.4.3. I wouldn't mind an additional improvement in L release (haha).

        • brkshr

          Update: I actually get better reception on L release at home now. I was on one bar of LTE, all last night. Before, I was constantly switching between LTE, H+ & no signal. I'm happy!

          • Simon Belmont

            That's good to hear. People had been complaining about LTE signal since Android 4.4.1 and 4.4.2.

            Android 4.4.3 and 4.4.4 actually made it better for me. Glad to hear L release is keeping with that trend.

  • RC

    Worth noting that, on my N7, Gallery is officially gone. Looks like Photos from here on out out of the box.

    • hkklife

      Thank goodness for QuickPic, a 1000x better app than Google or Cooliris could ever hope to develop!

  • Paul_Werner

    I'm glad AP is digging into this and showing it off because (& I may be one of the few that actually likes this) I don't want to miss out on my lockscreen widgets.

    I really hope they don't go away since I had some time things set up via Tasker and Dashclock going on to do some nice things right from my lockscreen (one example is a kinda "quickdraw" camera so I can fire off a shot quickly when something happens that is too quick to have to slide over to the camera, wait for the app to start, focus, and take a shot)

  • Nicholas Polydor

    Can all the fancy new animations still be turned off in Developer Options, @RyanWhitwam:disqus and anyone else who's installed Android L Preview?

  • tim

    I see you've ordered some watch straps....is this for a android wear you have ordered too? =)

  • Hary Ayala

    just pointing a grammar mistake,
    "They look neat after getting use to them"
    should be "used"

    Nice article.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/psychomaniac189 psychomaniac189

    Can somebody PLEASE explain the damn square button. Wtf is wrong with Google

    • miri

      Likely placeholders

    • davi

      only lacks the X button

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Confirmed: Kaz Hirai secretly works at Google

  • Daniel Siladji

    The mobile network selection screen is still holo blue http://imgur.com/MCNtbSz

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Holo > Material

      • MeCampbell30

        =False

    • Grahaman27

      its a preview after all, I am sure they just have not gotten around to updating it.

  • http://shanked.me/ Shank

    The setting that allows auto unlocking is called "trust agents" and none are available to add.

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

    1. When TuneIn radio did their last UI refresh and painted everything in that green/teal shade, everyone hated it. The comment section of AP was full of such comments. But now that Google is using same color in their settings page icons and battery page, everyone is swooning.

    2. When swiftkey released their new themes, people lost their shit over the minimal themes that didn't have borders between keys. No one cared how beautiful the themes looked. Everyone wanted borders. Swiftkey developers had to reply to it in the support thread. But now that Google is doing it - it's so beautiful. I personally find the spacebar out of place and ugly.

    3. No one cares that few things take more steps now. Unlocking secure lockscreen - one extra step (swipe up to reveal PIN board). Quick toggles - one extra step (No two finger pull down). No "clear all" button in the notification shade. I don't think it's an oversight. Google is aping apple since last year. Only fanboys are jamming fingers in their ears and going "la-la-la-la-la".

    • Crispin Swickard

      I am in total agreement with you on teal, while I think the keyboard needs a visual overhaul to match the new aesthetics I don't think its current state is very desirable. I have been using the stock one for years now. This could push me away from it..

    • David

      My opinion:

      1. I believe TuneIn used a darker shade of gray, which severely impaired text readability. As far as I've seen here in my Nexus 5, Google uses this scheme on List headers, but it's a much lighter shade of gray and text is perfectly readable. Considering UI is a very "intuitive" area (i.e., customers will shout even if they don't understand _why_ they are shouting), I believe the theme itself wasn't bad, but their implementation was.

      2. I didn't see the themes you're talking about.

      3.1. They clearly sacrificed that for the ability to see notifications front and center. I can understand the frustration if you put your pin several times a day. The good thing it's a developer preview. I believe it was Chat Haase (IIRC) who asked people to vent their opinions in I/O, so I guess you could bip the team on Google+, or start an issue in the Android Issue list. However, considering my previous experience with the Issue board, I recommend you personally bip them on G+.

      3.2. Two finger pull down is still there, at least in lock screen. Clearly it's a bug in the regular (post-unlock) screens. Definitely a bug that is going to be fixed.

      3.3. Clear all: I agree.

    • miri

      1,2: Are the people that were complaining the same as the ones who like the change?
      3: The new lock screen is more flexible, and it gives you the whole screen for content now. JB/KK's lock screen widget implementation was kinda bad. Also, it's a preview release.

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

        Well, I hadn't noted down the username of people who hated TuneIn radio change. Point is, almost everyone was displeased with it. But I don't see anyone saying anything negative about Google using the same shade.

        KitKat lockscreen's first page, where the unlocker/PIN board stays, widgets take up half the screen. This way, you see the widget and you can unlock from the same screen. But in L, you only see the widget (i.e. notifications). Unlocking from a secured lockscreen takes one extra step. And it takes away other lockscreen widget. When Google had added that in prior release, everyone loved that. Now that they removed it, no one cares. It's like whatever our overlord Google does is fine by us.

  • nxtiak

    NO MORE GALLERY APP

    • dude

      There are lots of stock-like gallery app in the PlayStore.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/108482452903817442299/posts Andrew Bone

    Random question, does it use the Now Launcher?

    • nxtiak

      Yes

  • ithehappy

    I just hope they will change the default Dialer app to a more sensible one (the dialer of KK is pure nonsense) like ExDialer and the Messaging app to a more featured one, like Handcent, and also the People app, there should be an option to show the contacts with Phone numbers only rather than all the people in the world with whom I might have had sex or not. These three things should be changed.

    • Nightfall

      Why is the default dialer nonsense?

  • DarkJohn

    Any 'noob' guide how to flash this update ?
    (I have flashed roms before.. is this any different ? ) :O

  • Steven A.

    Can someone pull the Google Now Launcher from the Nexus 5 preview? The Nexus 7 comes with just a stock launcher.

  • Bill Lee

    I was looking through settings and thought I saw the personal unlocking, but can't re-find it. Anybody? Guess I'll install Pebble Locker until I hear something. It does the same thing and will also let you tie the unlock to other bluetooth and/or Wifi SSIDs.

  • http://lowmess.com/ Alec

    Man, they had such a great opportunity with the interplay between the nav bar icons and the keyboard. Why is in not the triangle simply rotated so it's pointing down? Hopefully this (admittedly small) tweak will be made before public release.

    • Steph Horvath

      Looks right to me. It's the back button.

      • http://lowmess.com/ Alec

        From the screenshots it looks like the "keyboard, go away" button is the same as it has been since ICS. What I'm saying is, it should just be the new back button (the triangle), that rotates into place as the keyboard slides up.

        • PruneJuice

          That's a terrible idea.

          • http://lowmess.com/ Alec

            How? I mean, I'm actually interested on why you think it isn't a good idea.

            I think it'd add to the visual consistency. At least make it the 60° that the new back button is.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    Fairly sure they said in the Keynote that Chrome could be told to turn on adding tabs into recents in settings, but there was also something about dragging the tab to the bottom of the screen? - Give me a second to go and rewatch the keynote....

  • Christopher

    Is anyone having issues with MMS? They aren't sending or receiving. Also, notifications don't preview along the notification bar when they come in. The notification icon just appears.

    • jdfmcok

      I noticed on my nexus5 MMS wouldn't download (using at&t)

      Ended up flashing back to kitkat.. It's developer release tho, so I wouldn't expect everything to work..

  • whispy_snippet

    Is it stable/usable enough to run as a daily driver OS?

    Also, is USB audio enabled yet?

  • Ark

    Huh. This looks classy.

  • Sahil Chaturvedi

    How difficult would it be for devs to port this to older devices, like my good ol' Galaxy Nexus? Just curious, haha

  • http://twitter.com/applefanatica Robert Yoder

    I can't download or update any apps. I keep getting error 920

  • John-Erik Rännare

    Google+ keeps chrashing randomly. Most in the new stories part.

  • Brad

    Apparently my baseband is too old to update coming from 4.4.4

  • jamaall

    Search "webdriver torso" on youtube. Guess this isn't the only easter egg they had for it...

  • James

    I have used it for a day and to me, just my opinion, if this is the future of Android then it is a dark future indeed. It is the worst version of Android that I have ever used since at least the 2.x days. I HATE what they did to the notification center and where are the lock screen widgets? The way the apps are displayed when you access the recents view is HORRIBLE too. I am not complaining about bugs or apps not working as this is not the final release.

    If only Windows Phone 8.1 had more and better quality apps =(.

  • TedPhillips

    i wasn't hip to the webdriver torso mystery, but if you search for it on google, you'll get a custom doodle!

  • Ashwin Sirahatti

    I am trying out android L. I am not able to install apps from the playstore. Anyone else facing this issue ? Is there any solution ? The phone is not giving me an option to report it to google either.

  • Vishnuprakash Palanisamy

    How do I revert back to 4.4.4 from Android L??

  • Michael

    Has anyone noticed while receiving a notification (while screen is unlocked) don't scroll in the top bar like they used to or give you the new heads-up feature?

  • kid_a2

    Ran well for about 12 hours and now it keeps on restarting my phone about every minute or so. Anyone else run into this issue?

  • https://twitter.com/#!/psychomaniac189 psychomaniac189

    so is it just named L because they dont know the name of the OS yet or is it really named L? lol

  • cbeezely

    Hey guys any confirmation that talkback is preinstalled in L, or at least downloadable? Blind user here who needs to install the preview to monitor accessibility features for the blind.

  • Tom Inniss

    "Overall I think it is a solid improvement" <<< Praise for the unfinished beta
    "Things I'm not yet sold on" << Hardly complaining and moaning, was merely commenting.
    Stfu and stop being so indignant.