A couple of days ago, AOSP was graced with a series of freshly created "l-preview" branches and a massive push of brand new code. As we know now, quite a bit of that code push wasn't truly representative of the L developer preview. (Very sneaky, Google.) Most of the truly new updates belonged to GPL-licensed projects, which Google is obligated to release in a timely fashion. The remaining projects with "l-preview" branches were filled with a recent snapshot from the Master branch.
If we're being honest, it's hard to deny that one of Android's most obnoxious flaws comes in the category of audio performance. Playing some music is generally fine, but the issues start to become obvious after introducing very high quality audio or trying to achieve precise timing or real-time processing. With the L Developer Preview, it appears that Google is driving to improve upon these weaknesses and give audio performance the shot of adrenaline it needs.
The Android team has been hard at work replacing old code that hasn't scaled well with newer and more powerful hardware. We've long known that the camera API was destined to see a massive update, but we were missing details like a release date or exactly what was coming. Thanks to the L release, we can finally see what has been in the works for all these many months.
One of the most important aspects of the new Camera 2 API is a dramatic increase in performance over the previous interface. The Camera 2 system is now capable of delivering full resolution images at the same speed the hardware can capture them thanks to a fully synchronized pipeline model.
We've already started receiving a ton of emails from concerned readers about L's app compatibility issues, broken functionality, and the like. Of course, we understand how frustrating this can be, but that's actually the point of the developer release.
One of the primary purposes behind Google releasing L for the Nexus 5 and 7 is so developers can get their apps updated before the stable version rolls out, as the switch from Dalvik to ART requires apps to be updated to add support for the latter.
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 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.