8 things you need to know about Android L

Google’s shown the world a glimpse of the next version of Android. Here’s what’s new

Google has shown off snippets of the next version of Android, which is simply called ‘L’ for the time being.

While the Lollipop moniker has yet to be confirmed, it’s clear that Google’s designers and programmers have been very busy over the past year. 

Here’s everything we know about Android L so far:

A clean new look

8 things you need to know about Android L - A clean new look 28 things you need to know about Android L - A clean new look 3

Material Design is the name Google’s given to Android L’s UI overhaul, and it’s focused on reducing clutter with a flat, minimalist interface and bright primary colours.

The on-screen navigation buttons have also been simplified to basic triangle, circle and square shapes, and the whole cleaner look will be spread across Android devices, Chrome and Android Wear products like the LG G Watch and Moto 360.

Smarter notifications

Notifications in Android L can drop down from the top, allowing you to interact or dismiss them without intruding on whatever you’re currently doing.

8 things you need to know about Android L

Lock screen notifications have also improved, showing off more information and latting you dismiss them with a swipe, or open them with a tap.

Smart Multitasking

Android L’s new 3D effect multitasking panel also treats Chrome tabs as separate cards.

That means flicking between apps and webpages is now a far more fluid and less frustrating experience, though we’re a little concerned about how messy all those cards can get during a heavy browsing session.

Enhanced Security

Android L’s security has also smartened up. You can choose to have your device automatically unlock if it recognises that it’s in a secure situation.

It will, for example, remove the lock screen pattern or pin if it’s connected to your smartwatch.It can also bypass security measures in trusted locations like your house, for example.

More after the break...

Powerful search

Google Now has the power to launch any installed apps relevant to your search. 

Search for a film for example, and you’ll be able to fire up a film app like IMDb directly from Google Now.

Slicker, smoother, faster

ART is now the default runtime in Android L. That won’t mean a lot to most people, but essentially the engine running behind the scenes has been completely renewed.

Apps and animations now run at a much more fluid 60fps, and Android L now offers over twice the speed of its previous runtime, Dalvik.

Other behind the scenes tweaks promise an improvement in graphics performance, and Google has worked with the likes of Nvidia and Qualcomm, to further improve optimisations with their respective processors.

Better Battery life

Android L introduces a new feature called Project Volta, and its sole focus is on improving battery life. 

For starters, you’ll be able to have far more battery life information at your fingertips, letting you pinpoint possible causes of battery drain.

This, coupled with under-the-hood-optimisations, means that developers can produce apps which are even more efficient and less power-hungry.

Android L also now has a built-in battery saver mode, which presumably automatically reduces brightness and cranks down data connections and app syncing, in a similar fashion to battery saver modes found in the LG G3 and HTC One (M8).

Developers can get their hands on it now

Developers can wrap their hands around Android L’s SDK preview from today, while Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 owners can flash Android L to their devices from 26 June. Bear in mind that it’s by no means complete or bug free, so we’d wait until the final version is released. Whenever that may be…

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