First Things First
For our readers who haven’t been keeping up on the various iterations of the Android operating system, this infographic provides a handy recap.
What We Know and What We Don’t Know about Android L
Software developers and savvy end users alike are eagerly looking forward to the latest version of Google’s Android operating system. Android powers a wide range of smartphones and tablets and is expanding into wearable devices, cars and TVs. Here’s some insight into what we currently know and what details are still under wraps:
*Developers got a preview release on June 26, 2014
*The official release date for everyone else is sometime “this fall.”
*Major manufacturers including HTC and Motorola have already indicated they’ll be using Android L on upcoming versions of their devices.
*Android L will have more than 5,000 new Application Programming Interfaces. These APIs will let developers expand the functionality of Android in unexpected ways.
*We don’t yet know the official release version number or name of Android L.
The L Word?
Google has historically named each new release of Android after a tempting treat in alphabetical order, such as Cupcake for version 1.5, Gingerbread for version 2.3 and Ice Cream Sandwich for version 4.0.
Some tech pundits think the latest iteration will be called “Lollipop,” while TK Tech News says it will be named Lemon Meringue Pie. We’ll just have to wait and see what delicious snack’s name will be honored by the next version of Android!
At this point, it’s still unclear which version number Google will use for its next update of Android, with experts saying it will be either 4.5 or 5.0. A .5 name can indicate more of a transitionary state, while a .0 version would indicate more of a sense of completeness for this build.
New Promising Features
1. Android’s New Design Revolution: Material Design
Android L’s Material Design interface looks both flat and 3D, with each item getting elevation properties. Icons, controls and navigation buttons look flat, but the developers have employed realistic shadows, ripple effects and other animations. Expect to see 3-D tiles sliding over one another and shadow gradients.
2. All New Notifications
Notifications will be easier in Android L. You can decide which notifications will appear on the lock screen, how many details will be visible to anyone who can see your device before unlocking it and what will be revealed only after unlocking. Heads-up notifications will show up on a section of the screen without interfering with whatever app you’re using.
3. Unlock Screen in a Trusted Environment
This feature lets you designate trusted environments where your smartphone will “know” that it’s safe to unlock without requiring you to enter your code.
4. Muti-task Tabs
Pressing the software key for recent apps will let users see all their running tabs. Instead of viewing them in a 2-D list, you’ll be presented with a carousel arrangement where you can swipe to the left or right to close them.
5. Project Volta: The Battery Life Saver
Poor battery management is the bane of smartphone users. The Project Volta feature promises to let you slow down the CPUs clock rate and reduce the screen refresh rate. Developers can now calculate how much power specific tasks require to help them allocate energy usage, such as queuing up network activity that isn’t urgent.
6. Security with a “Kill Switch”
Anyone whose smartphone has been lost or stolen will appreciate the new “Kill Switch” feature. Use it to perform a factory reset from remote to wipe out confidential information from the device before criminals can extract it.
7. The “ART” of Runtime
Android runtime or ART software will now be the standard runtime, operating twice as fast as the previously used Dalvik runtime. Apps will run more efficiently on ARM, MIPS and X86 platforms now.
8. Android L Is Not Just for Your Phone!
Android L signals the arrival of the OS in cars (Android Auto), smartwatches (Android Wear) and even in your living room TV with Android TV.
9. Best Buddy of Chromebook
Android L will be more tightly integrated with the Chrome OS used in Google’s line of laptops. Now your Chromebook can determine if your smartphone is close and will log you in automatically. Smartphone notifications will mirror to the laptop, along with texts, calls and the state of its battery.
10. Enterprise Friendly
The “Android at Work” feature lets enterprise users segregate personal apps from business software on their devices, giving them enhanced security for work materials and more privacy for personal data.
Best of All: The Preview Release is Here!
Because we are developers, OpenXcell already has the preview release of Android L. We are currently testing the operating system and experimenting with its new capabilities in order to give our customers the best return on investment when they outsource Android app development with us.
At OpenXcell, our team of creative developers has demonstrated experience with all versions of the Android operating system. If your next project calls for an app that runs in Android, you can rest assured that OpenXcell will deliver you software that takes advantage of all the latest features that will be available with Android L. For details or to set up your next project, please contact us today.