We had some information to share yesterday about Android notifications in L, so you might have been having a bit of deja vu during the demo. Android L has a new stacked card style for the notifications using the Material Design interface. The features are also getting a boost in L.
Once the CyanogenMod team found and implemented the hidden Heads Up notification mode, it was basically inevitable that all the other major custom ROMs would follow suit. The unicorn-powered Android Open Kang Project has done so with their first nightly based on Android 4.4.4. They've also thrown in the usual bug fixes, as well as settings for automatic Immersive mode, disabling the full-screen keyboard, lockscreen orientation, and a few other goodies.
A while ago, we posted about explorations Google was undertaking in revamping Android's home screen. Part of this was a new notification shade that looked similar to Google Now.
Since then, we've seen new materials that show something a bit closer to what the notification shade and Quick Settings will resemble in Android's L release. The images we'll discuss in this post are based on more recent information, but as with any unreleased software, anything can change - particularly design.
Last year we told you about GravityBox, easily one of the most complete and far-reaching Xposed modules for rooted Nexus and AOSP ROMs. The creator is still expanding the module, and has quickly incorporated the Heads Up notifications recently featured in CyanogenMod nightly builds. Heads Up notifications pop up for easy viewing and action while in full screen mode. The feature is hidden deep in Android 4.4 code, and easily enabled here.
Here at Android Police, we're no strangers to digging around in Google's code and finding surprising stuff inside. Apparently some members of the CyanogenMod team did the same, and found a hidden feature in KitKat: Heads Up notifications. These floating notifications are meant to be used in full-screen apps or Immersive Mode, but for whatever reason, they aren't switched on in AOSP code. (Perhaps they're intended for the next major Android release.) You can probably guess what happens next.
At this point, Android's notification system is pretty elegant. But there's no way to avoid confusion (and for some users, frustration) when a ton of notifications come in all at once. Echo Lockscreen attempts to fix that with a lockscreen replacement that puts your current notifications front and center, then organizes them by app or urgency. Currently Echo is in alpha testing, and it's a free download in the Play Store.
When an iOS app comes to Android, all too often it's merely a half-hearted copy, taking no notice of the user interface standards or the expanded capability of the platform. I'm happy to report that this is not the case with Sunrise Calendar, which has managed to gain quite a following across the way for its impressive layout and sunny visual design. It's available now for all Android devices running 4.0 or higher, though there's no tablet interface at the moment.
You usually have to mess around with flashing ROMs to enjoy the features those talented developers build for Android. In the case of Paranoid Android's new Peek feature, you can get it in app form on any KitKat device courtesy of Francisco Franco (of franco.Kernel fame) and original Peek developer Jesús David Gulfo Agudelo. Update: The app was down for a bit today for a bug fix. It has been restored now.
Remember like a year ago when Google was going to add notification syncing to Play Services so you wouldn't have to see the same notifications on your phone and tablet? That still hasn't actually been rolled out, but the new Pushbullet v14.1 does pretty much the same thing. By expanding the notification mirroring service, Pushbullet can sync notifications across all your devices.
Yesterday Pebble-wearing Android users gained the ability to control Pandora from their wrists. This was cool stuff for Pandora listeners, but now the brainy watch is getting an update that will affect all owners, regardless of their listening preferences. A 2.1 firmware upgrade is rolling out to devices via the Android companion app.
On the user-facing side, there's one standout new feature - the watch now has a menu entry for clearing your notification history.