Android's L release is going to bring about a ton of new changes and improvements, and they took time to talk about a few of the most important today. That includes a new default runtime, improved graphics, and improved battery life.
ART is now the default runtime
We actually saw this coming, but it's now confirmed. ART brings twice the performance over the current runtime, Dalvik. It has been available as a preview for KitKat, but is becoming the default (and from what I can tell, only) runtime in the L release.
We've known about Project Hera for quite a while, and at Google I/O today, it was confirmed by Google's Director of Product Management for Chrome, Avni Shah. Hera is a new way for the web and apps to interact with each other on Android via an API, allowing apps like Chrome and Docs to use multiple scrolling items in the Recents menu at one time. Combined with the visual overhaul in the L release, this may drastically change the way that users interact with content.
During the presentation for the L release, Google talked a little bit about the new search experience in Google Now. Firstly, there's a huge focus on animations and fluidity, with animations running at a super fluid 60 FPS (this is LEGO). It looks so good.
Oh, look...a new keyboard.
Further, all installed, relevant apps will be able to launch from Google Now. This has been a feature available to a handful of apps for a while now (like IMDb, for example), but with the L release, the API is becoming available to every developer, so all apps can be incorporated into Now's search results. Update:This is live now.
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.
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.
Take a gander at the video below, ladies and gents - it was just posted to the Google Developers YouTube account. "Material Design" doesn't feature any context, but anyone who's kept up with the leaks here at Android Police will probably notice some familiar design elements.
At the end of the video is a link to Google.com/design, which gives notes and suggestions on Google's new direction for both web and mobile visual design.
The hunt is on. Or it will be right after the main Google I/O keynote is over. If you're a registered attendee of the conference and you have some free time between sessions, the yearly location-based I/O treasure hunt will provide you with enough trivia and challenges to keep you entertained.
This year, you will be looking for Alex, the Android dog, who left a trail of NFC tags all over Moscone Center, starting with a booth on Floor 3.
We've been hearing rumors about Android TV, Google's push to get Android into the set-top box market, for a while now, with the most recent leaks pointing towards a Google I/O announcement. Looks like we're definitely going to see Google take the wraps off of it tomorrow, as the Riptide GP2 dev prematurely posted a changelog that all but confirms it:
Unfortunately, the log has since been pulled, but not before an eagle-eyed Android fan could grab a screenshot and toss it onto Google+.