Google announces Android ‘L’ developer preview, coming later this year

Android L Preview

Google has just unveiled a developer preview of Android L, its latest software version for smartphones and tablets. Android L has several improvements to its design, graphics, notifications, multitasking, battery life and more. We’ve recapped the major new features in Android L ahead, ranging from Material Design and Project Volta to Android Extension Pack and Enhanced Notifications ahead… 

Material Design

Google has announced a new design language called Material Design that aims to deliver an improved user experience with a seamless design and animations. The new user interface is a lot more streamlined and minimalistic on Android and Chrome across mobile, desktop and web, and it will be extended over the summer to be even better. The systemwide Roboto font has been optimized to work on all different screens and platforms.

The colorful and simple user interface has additional shadows and depth to ensure that the correct perspective is provided. A new feature called “palette” allows developers to determine the colors used in images and match the user interface accordingly. There is also rich, animated touch feedback, with developers able to control how things animate between screens.

Project Volta

Project Volta Battery Saver

Google is focusing on improving battery life in Android with Project Volta, a new feature that intuitively tells users what is draining the most battery life and at what time of the day the battery is being drained the most. There is also a Battery Saver feature that will automatically kill apps, shut off Wi-Fi or dim the display to give you up to 90 minutes of additional battery life.

Android Extension Pack

Android Extension Pack

Android is about to get a lot better graphics with the Android Extension Pack, which includes geometry shaders, tessellation, computer shaders and ASTC for more realistic characters, lighting and improved rendering overall on mobile. Google calls this PC-level graphics on mobile, and it has partnered with several handset makers that will release smartphones and tablets with better GPUs later this year.

Enhanced Notifications

Enhanced Notifications Android

Google has improved notifications in Android to make it a more streamlined process, from the time you take your smartphone out of your pocket to checking your notifications. Enhanced Notifications allows you to read, open and dismiss notifications directly from the Lock screen, without needing to fully unlock your device. This seems a lot like interactive notifications in iOS 8.


Multitasking Android L

Android L also gains improved multitasking, with overlapping cards that are rendered with realistic shadows and perspectives. Chrome tabs automatically appear on Android in a new Recents view, so that you’re in sync with your desktop browser at all times. There is also improved Google search directly within apps, and apps can provide autocomplete suggestions too.

Android statistics

Google also revealed some interesting numbers surrounding the Android ecosystem at Google I/O this afternoon.

  • 1 billion active Android users based on a 30-day usage period
  • 100 billion: the number of times that Android users check their phones per day
  • 20 billion text messages sent on Android per day
  • 93 million selfies taken on Android per day
  • 1.5 trillion steps taken by Android users per day
  • Android has 62% global market share for tablets based on shipped devices
  • Android tablet app installs up 236% year-over-year

Android L packs several other features, including 5000 new APIs for developers and an all-new runtime called ART for less application stuttering, improved memory efficiency, 64-bit compatibility and more.

Android L will be released later this year, although early images of the software will be available for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 as soon as tomorrow. Keep it locked for further Google I/O coverage.