Hey,what’s up guys?
This is a Nexus 5 running the next version of Android – the “Android L”. Now this is nowhere near a complete build, in fact this is not even daily drive material. This is just a developer preview and that's gonna give developers a chance to see what their apps will look like on the newest version of Android as they are making 'em. But that will also give us a look at what a lot of these new features in Android L will look like when it's finally done. So without any further due, let's take a look at the top five new features in Android L.
The first one is the new lockscreen and there's actually a lot of functionality added here so in Android 4.4 (KITKAT) the lockscreen was really just a place to check the time and then check to see if you have any new notifications. There’s a lot of stuff added to this lock screen.
First of all you can can now swipe up to unlock instead of pulling out on a ring and you can swipe left to open the camera which is the same as before but now you can also swipe right to get directly into the phone dialer and of course now you have your system notifications readable on your lock screen without pulling anything down iOS style! So you can swipe away any of the notifications to dismiss them or click on one of them to open it directly from the lock screen.
So you no longer have to use swipe down and check to see all of your notifications. They’re instantly just be all a tap away soon as you wake your phone. And then there's the little things like the updated looks, so the notification bar is now totally transparent and if you're plugged in you don't just get a percentage of how much battery you have but you also get the time remaining until you’re done charging at the current rate. I think that is awesome!
Notification panel redesigned
The second one is the notification panel itself and this is actually legitimately redesigned. I think it's going to take a little getting used to and it's definitely the biggest change to the notifications we've seen in android since the beginning. So, swipe down from the status bar and you get the new animation to reveal the notifications here and again you have the ability to dismiss them by swiping or tapping on to open it but you can see here in this new look, the notifications are solid but the background is totally transparent and then you can swipe down again to get your quick settings-which are again redesigned.
So much flatter here with this great color here, no more swiping down with two fingers or trying to tap the exact corner. Quick settings are super easy to get to now with one hand and bonus, we now have one tap to cast our screen to a chrome-cast and like Airplay-very nifty! And now we have an auto rotate toggle! Finally, we did not have that before! So you can also tap the notification volume icon to entering your “do-not-disturb” mode and you have a brightness slider.
So, I like these new Quick Settings and the notification panel definitely looks different and also there is this new heads up notification that Google demoed at i/o. So if you get a call while doing something full-screen like reading or gaming, it won't totally take over your screen like it used to. Now you can decide to dismiss it and continue your activity.
So the third one is material design in android and this is one of the biggest talking points and it's this new design philosophy about the way things will behave. What I'm getting out of it is you basically now will be able to see with animations where everything came from and where everything goes. So every time a new element appears on your screen, it doesn’t just explode on your screen and appear out of nowhere. It slides in from somewhere or it expands or grows out of something.
So, it's a new look and of course all the stock apps in android will be redesigned when it’s fully complete but in the midst of the preview only a couple of them are done but we could take a look at them obviously checking out the calculator this is one of the most basic looks at it but again everything slides in from somewhere and all this movement and animation gives you confidence about what you're doing and where things are going.
You also see the new people app and the new dialer, all these animations are super smooth and I guess intuitive even if they're not totally necessary and Google mentioned its goal was to have all these animations happen at a smooth 60 frames per second so you never notice any stutter or lag.
I gotta say I'm actually pretty impressed with how consistently smooth it's been so far on this nexus. So honestly, this is probably the most important change to this new version of Android as things move forward. I'm pretty pumped to see more apps moving in this direction and we'll see what this ends up looking like when Android L is done.
New Settings app
The fourth one is the new settings app in Android L. It's actually been completely redesigned and actually a little bit reorganized so of course it starts with the new icon and when you open it up it is a totally different look. Almost looks like someone put a theme on top of the old Settings app. The Scroll effect is different, the animations you get when you get to the bottom of the list or tap something. That's new and a look at the toggles and check boxes have been changed and of course animated and you have a couple of other settings to play with here.
So First of all in display settings, you have adapted brightness now which works alongside auto brightness and you have your “cast screen” option to actually marry your display to a TV via Chrome-cast which is pretty cool by itself.
You also have a new looking “storage settings”, a new looking “battery history” again this all looks kinda skinned and we also now have a search box so if you really can't find what you're looking for in the settings, you can type in the name of it to get to it quickly and that's a nice touch. Obviously I’ve seen this on other skins on Android before.
The little things
The last but not least is the other stuff. There is a lot of other little stuff that's changed in Android. You might not notice them at first but they definitely affect the way it feels. First of all there's a new keyboard and is actually available in a stand-alone app in the playstore right now, but this one’s different. It's much flatter, much more grey.
There's also the new “do-not-disturb” mode I mentioned earlier which will get you to choose how many hours you don't get notifications. There is a new multitasking which again has a new look and feel thanks to material design but of course it stays pretty smooth, performs well but really that's it. I mean Android L is mostly just a visual overhaul when you compare it to Android 4.4 Kit Kat, besides the fact that it's switched entirely over to the new ART runtime. But it's a new different polish now you know it's a different type of feel for stock Android.
Definitely very different from the typical Android 4.4 Kit Kat hollow look that we're used to. It's basically a departure from hollow and it definitely feels and looks that way. It even kinda reminds me of the HTC Sense. I mean the way HTC Sense has been flattening itself out over the past couple of years. We're starting to see Android in this version Android L flatten itself out and especially that Settings App reminds me of the HTC sense.
Related: Nexus 5 Review
But there it is guys! This is the new stock and Android. You'll be seeing much more of Android L in the couple of months that follow especially when they get to the full final release and we'll see a couple of new devices have it. HTC has promised that within 90 days of their release, their M8 will have it. I don't know if anything else other than Nexus will get Android L, but fingers crossed that we see it in a lot more places. Thank for reading. Be sure to share it with people curious about Android L.