10
Jul
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Android L is going to be the biggest thing to happen to the platform since at least 2.0 – maybe even ever. Google is radically altering its design language and adding a ton of new features this time. Not only did we get a quick tour of the new OS at Google I/O a few weeks ago, Mountain View released a developer preview, which it's never done before. This is truly a new era for Android, and we've been keeping track of every little detail (some might say obsessively). Now that the developer preview has been mined for all the news it has to offer, let's have a quick recap.

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Interface And Design

While it's not technically a "feature spotlight" post, Liam's analysis of Material Design is a must-read if you want to know more about the direction Google is taking Android design. Material Design is colorful, bold, and dynamic – everything Android needs to be going forward. The floating elements and subtle shadows combine to make Material something to be truly excited about.

Not sold on Material Design? Okay, you can turn off the Material theme on the keyboard as some sort of protest. Fight the power.

There are a number of smaller design changes to Android L that we've come across, including changes to the translucent UI, keyboard selector, and the document-centric multitasking UI. The latter appears to be the beginnings of Project Hera, which we have covered in great detail.

New And Tweaked Features

Having access to the developer preview allowed us to go in-depth with a pre-release version of Android in a way we've never been able to before. Android L (whatever it is eventually called) will probably work a bit differently than what we have now, but there are a number of big, headlining features that I'd expect to remain mostly intact for the final release. One of those is definitely the redesigned Android lock screen with notification access, even for secured devices. It's awesome, and makes a ton of sense along with Android's smarter card-based notifications.

Everyone is going to be tickled pink to finally have a true native "do not disturb" mode in Android. It's accessible from the Quick Settings and has a scheduling feature. The new adaptive brightness mode is also wonderful – you can change the brightness level, but still have the phone raise and lower it around that point based on ambient light.

There's more completely new stuff in Android L with somewhat limited appeal, but we're not quite talking about super-deep developer stuff just yet. A better camera API, USB audio, and so on – all important for the people who need them.

Not everything of note in Android L is completely new to the platform – some of it is just about more convenient placement. Most of this is a bit more minor, but still some good time-saving features.

And now we come to the little things. Google would never bother mentioning this stuff on stage at I/O, but the developer release tells all. It would not surprise me if some of these tweaks are implemented differently in the final build.

Developer Stuff

If you are a developer or have aspirations to be one, these are the feature spotlights you'll want to pour over. There are some big changes coming in the way Android apps access the camera, run in the background, and improve enterprise features. If everything goes as planned, average users should see the fruits of these changes without worrying about how it came about. You're not average, though, are you? Might as well read up.

Well, that's it – everything we know about Android L in 30 or so links and a few thousand words. There will be plenty more news in the run up to release, but this is the future of Android.

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

  • siddude11

    Great work. It is more like AndroidPolice I/O 2014 :D

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      We need good names if we're gonna do a conference. "Disrupt" is already taken (damn you, techcrunch). Submissions open!

      * (Disclaimer: We're not doing a conference. Any names you give us will be stolen and used for things that will make you feel dirty.)

      • danny sexbang

        tomato party

        • Qwertee

          More like Android Lemon Party.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        BedTimeSocial Party!

        - courtesy of Pamela Hill

  • Gregor Smith

    Can't wait to get my grubby mits on this

    *whine*

  • https://twitter.com/2MylesAway Myles

    Incredible, compilation. now I have things to play around with and show off in L

  • ProductFRED

    This is kind of like those compilation videos you find on porn sites, but better.

    • vyktorsouza

      what

    • Cory S

      trying too hard

    • siddude11

      Still a newbie at these? Pff. 8k porn here i come. 2020 B)

    • TomsDisqusted

      But still missing one of the most exciting new features - dynamic permission requests! I'm guessing that this means that the feature is still not part of the preview release.

      I sure hope it doesn't get bumped to a future release - those w/o root need to be able to control access to their location and contacts too!

      • nolarkinsley

        my Aunty
        Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

        • Andrew

          OMG A real live Jaguar? Does she have a permit for such an animal?

          • bettydlemons

            my Aunty
            Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

      • Kcls

        Idk what kind of porn you're watching that has dynamic permission requests?

        • Michael Fontenot

          Pardon my pun. I can-'t wait. (edit)

      • JD

        There is actually a lot google left out of the preview that was even shown at I/o also its not a beta its a preview so I expect to see many more changes at final release.

        • thelmajschlegel

          as Thelma
          explained I cannot believe that a stay at home mom can make $7420 in four weeks
          on the internet . more info here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

    • rosariopwetzler

      like
      Jacqueline implied I'm taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
      on the computer . see post C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

    • cindydtompkins

      like
      Jacqueline implied I'm taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
      on the computer . see post C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

      • NyanFatass

        Sorry but I make 10x that in a month just by milking my pet Unicorn.

  • Nuno Guerreiro

    If I were Google, I would buy AndroidPolice in a moment!!!
    These articles and the apks teardowns are simply a must!!!

    • ProductFRED

      But then it would be biased and I wouldn't read it. I enjoy Android Police because they provide a third-party perspective on things, they aren't afraid to criticize Google when they're in the wrong, and they go way more in-depth than Google ever would (e.g. APK teardowns and hidden features).

    • Blue Sun

      If Google bought them, it would be to stop the teardowns.

  • ThoFeelExp

    It would be good if you people make it as a download PDF or compilation on single page :)
    Thanks

    • MJ

      Why would you want it as a PDF? What, your browser does not support bookmarks?

      • ThoFeelExp

        I said that instead of links, it would be nice to have all the information on single page

  • wickets

    Where are lock screen settings?

    • On the lock screen.

      On the lock screen.

      • wickets

        Thanks for trying to help, but I still can't find it..... Give up the secret dude haha

  • Sasha A.

    All this, yet still no word on Hangouts and Google Voice integration. :(

    • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

      I think you've been commenting this same thing ever since 4.2->4.3, 4.3->4.4 and now 4.4->X.X

    • joser116

      Also no Hangouts redesign like the iOS version.

      • Joe

        G+ already uses the new material design and it isn't on L.

        • joser116

          It doesn't use it fully, it uses elements of it, like the floating + for new posts.

          When Holo was introduced, some apps functioned and looked different in Gingerbread than Holo in some parts, like the menus and action bars. But Material Design is an even more drastic change, complete with complex animations that work best in Android L.

          • Bojan Tomic

            It already says it on their site that older versions of Android won't support Material Design with animations and fancy stuff, which makes sense, but it's sad. :(
            Hope developers won't be lazy and that they will make material-ish design for <L..

          • joser116

            They'll have to, cause I doubt they will develop apps using the L API since it won't encompass many users. That means we will not see many native Material Design apps since most will develop using older APIs, like ICS and Jellybean, to capture the most users. So the best developers can do is emulate Material Design.

            I know that Google released the developer preview before the actual release to get many apps developed for L, but I doubt many developers will do that, again, cause not many devices will run L. It's much more convenient for them to develop instead for Jelly Bean.

  • John Wilson

    Any indication we'll be getting native WiFi calling or is that just a pipe dream?

    • Kidney_Thief

      I'd settle for VoLTE.

      • John Wilson

        That would be nice but I don't even get LTE here. And reception is spotty in older buildings.

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

    I know it's coming, Galaxy Nexus, I know it's coming...

  • HR

    Was actually looking around the web for something like this, and AP delivered.
    HIGH FIVE GUYS.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    This is yet another proof that Android a police is THE place to go for all things android coverage

  • Delosari

    Thank you very much for your research!! I read many gadgets websites and you are the only one delving on Android L!

    One question: Any insight on whether or not android L will allow any app to access microSD card folders? (unlike kitkat)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      The verdict is still out on that - there's a bug open and limited on their tracker, but no input from Google. https://code.google.com/p/android-developer-preview/issues/detail?id=610

      • Delosari

        En Taro Artem! I have already starred 6 issue trackers on google groups about this kitkat addition but I did not have this one :) Thanks

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      The evidence points to keeping things as they are on KitKat. That means read access for anything but the private folders (belonging to individual apps), and write access is strictly limited to an app's private folder. I wouldn't bet on much changing.

      It wasn't recorded, but there was a small talk in the main hall that basically said the Storage Access Framework is how the SD cards are supposed to be used by apps, which matches my prediction from February (link).

      • Delosari

        Thank you very much for your reply Cody. For me the most important app for android is dropsync, which I use to sync my 56 gb of articles, books, movies, songs, photos... But with kitkat, now, they are imposible to use (unless these folders are saved to the main memory...)

        There are indeed rumors about this storage framework access: http://developer.android.com/preview/api-overview.html#Storage

        However, my poor knowledge about programming does not allow me to understand how much functionality will be lost using this approach compared to the old one...

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

    So, uhh... when Android Lego / Lollipop finally goes live, there'll be another set of individual feature spotlight posts, right?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      Probably, if there's new stuff worth posting (there will be).

      To be fair, we're not exactly done. Or rather, I'm not. If I can find time, I'm going to compile some of the very developer-specific stuff that's not really user-facing. All of this stuff in this list directly equates to features that end users will experience. There's a lot of stuff that only developers will grasp, and that's what I'm going for.

      • Tijmen Kervers

        About the 5000 new APIs? Been wondering how many of them really are new, and how many have been disclosed already? I mean, there were a lot of announcements, but 5000 APIs sounds like an absolute fuck-load of new possibilities?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

          I hate measuring by "new APIs" because that number can become incredibly inflated without adding all that much. It's sorta baseless posturing that was started by Apple quite a while back. They've been tossing around their numbers for iOS every year at WWDC.

          On the other hand, 5000+ is pretty obscene, and we know there's a whole lot of really good stuff. Both KitKat and L were monsters for Android developers (in the good way). So much stuff was added that it's impossible to keep track of it all. This is gonna be fun :)

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            I sense dozens of sleepless nights incoming

    • James Zhangya

      Yes ,I have same opinion. If Android Lego/Lollipop finally goes live,That will be another set of indivdual. But i think next step - android should develop more creativity and add some other functions. Such as android mhl 3D video converter function,like http://goo.gl/kXccx8 ,I believe everyone will like it.

  • n

    Long press the icon on the recent app switcher to get to app info, that was driving me crazy!

  • Mark

    Any noticeable improvements to bluetooth? I hear Bluetooth 4.1 is supposed to address interference issues and deliver new functionality.

  • Kod

    Any news on those Universal Data Controls? I'd love to get iOS-style per-app privacy settings, but no-one's mentioned it since the keynote!

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      You mean AppOps?

  • James Taylor

    so when do people think we will see dp2 ?

  • Alexei Watson

    Since there's been a developer preview, is it possible they won't do a staged rollout when the full version arrives?

  • Stanley C.

    Now that we had an overdose of L preview... lets wait for updates and all the "marvelous features" becomes "real".

  • Ontari_do_not

    all those links omgg i am sweating

  • david coffey

    Just slapped L on my nexus 4,thanks to the guys over there at xda.

    I've never felt as much entitlement in my life as I am right now. Ha.

  • http://www.friv4gaming.com/ Friv 4

    I agree with your article brought it make me feel good things are happening, thanks
    http://www.kizi10game.com | http://www.friv10game.org

  • http://www.friv3gaming.com/ Friv 3

    good luck

  • Nathan J

    I'm disappointed that the article thumbnail is a boring serif font L. It should be in Old English. Like Q for James Bond and Star Trek, and M for Bond, there is a character out there called just "L." An anonymous detective who uses an Old English L as his avatar when he video chats. Look up an anime called "Death Note." I choose to believe that's what the developer preview is named for.

    • Ádám Zovits

      I'd rather think it is just for the first letter of the next Android version. Not everyone watches that much anime to associate a common uppercase letter with a character :)

      (Disclaimer: I'm currently watching Death Note though, and I'm liking it. Despite this it hadn't occured me there could be a connection. Maybe this is why I'm not a detective myself... )

  • Aryaman

    Developer Preview sounds great, but are there any good theming apps? I'm still a noon at flashing ROMs.

  • Anonymous Coward

    What about security and privacy? Wifi MAC address tracking. Turning off specific privileges per app. All that good stuff.

  • #SuperUser

    an option to change the DNS please ;(
    like in pc :D

  • h

    "Android L is going to be the biggest thing to happen to the platform since at least 2.0"

    No, Gbread to ICS was bigger.

  • antkiller23

    Could any of u guys eyplain to me why "Android L is going to be the biggest thing to happen to the platform since at least 2.0".

    I know the feature list....but nothing seems to be that big of a deal.

    I am a long time android user and found Honeycomb and ICS to be a fairly important and big thing in androids history...but why should Android L be? The biggest it does is bring a new design language...which makes me actually very wary. At last we have a full year when a majority of apps are holo inspired and now it will take another 2 years till devs get off their asses and give us the new design. Till then stuff will look weird again. Googles own stuff will look awesoome...but most of everything else not.

  • Marco

    I've found a really great browser with Android L interface, it's named Now Material Browser, it totally deserve a chance to be my daily browser: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.browser.nowpro

  • jacksonjackson

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail

    ✒✒✒✒✒✒✒✒✒✒✒✒ http://WWW.WORKBARR.COM

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  • kin

    Anither feature:: swipe down the lock screen and it shows the wallpaper. And just the notifications. Not very great but I like it. :)