Android L Preview – Do it yourself with Google’s new OS




The release schedule of new Android versions started in recent years, according to the same pattern: in June, during its I / O developer conference, Google released an update to Android from a half later, again to come up with an update just before the holidays, . Summer update was in the last two years accompanied by a new Nexus tablet, while the autumn release with a new Nexus phone was released simultaneously.

This year, Google is different. The next Android release, which is still referred to as “Android L ‘Google comes out this fall, presumably without new Nexus phone, but now Google has been bringing a preview version. Which is intended for developers and phone manufacturers, and Google hopes that they can prepare for the real release, which should take place in the autumn. Well thanks to the preview version That would then mean that apps and hardware are faster compatible with the new Android version.

Google calls this L-release the greatest release of Android so far and if we look at the innovations on paper, they seem not to overdo it. This gives ‘Android L’ a new visual style, a new runtime, extended notification capabilities, a new camera api, ontgrendelmogelijkheden smarter and better battery life, just to name a few. Enough reasons to install this preview version on both a Nexus 5 as a Nexus 7 and exploration.

A new visual style: Material Design

The last time Google introduced a completely new visual style for Android was running Android 3.0 Honeycomb. These Holo interface seemed to have walked out of the movie Tron and consisted largely of black backgrounds with many blue accents, and somewhat futuristic details and shapes. Google is the design language of Android since just keep calling, ‘holo’ but changed indeed. Appearance of the interface and apps So Google introduced ‘cards’; small white towels with right information, we mainly know Google Now. The color became lighter and went the way apps were assigned to the shovel.

The L-release of Android is the “holo’ indication sent into retirement and Google introduces a new style that the ‘Material Design’ calls. The new style is according to Google based on paper and ink, in virtual form, of course. Applications should be made up of pieces of virtual paper, which should be the level at which it is located. Known each piece of paper An application may contain in this way, depth, and such information can be then used for the creation of animations. Parts of the layout can move up or over or under each other, for example, if a user within an application goes to a new page. Animations are so important in Material Design.

It all sounds a bit vague, but the result we find beautiful eyes. It means in practice that you Android L more animations within the apps from Google will see and even more small details in that area in the interface. Tap an element, then you see what Google a touch ripple ‘calls and you reach the end of a scrollable list, you see a sort of undulating shadow to indicate this. Combined with some new animations for the transitions between different apps has the effect that Android L looks livelier than previous versions.

L buttons in Android

The bar with virtual buttons has had a makeover and Google seems to have. Previous close look at Sony The back button is a triangle, a square, the multitasking button and home button round. Add another cross and you have the four face buttons on the PlayStation controller. We do not understand the amendment, because is not to read what their function is. These abstract figures

Still, not all apps have a new coat of paint. The vast majority of Google Apps, including Gmail, Maps, Hangouts, the Play Store, and the calendar needs to be updated. In the current version, only the bell app and calculator updated. However, the ideas sound good Google and the new style allows us the apps he already made is not opposed in any case.

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Google has put online a special web page on which it expanded describes what this new style is all about, with many examples of typography, animations and layout outprincipes. So if you want to really know everything there is to know about Material Design, then it is best to end up there. Notifications in many more places

The changes are, of course, not only visually, also functionally Google has made changes and in some areas it is a combination of both. From all parts of the interface, the launcher is perhaps the least adapted. The button to open the app list is now white instead of transparent, but otherwise you can not actually see the launcher that it is a new version of Android is going.

However, once you get the notification pull down list, you will be greeted by the first major renovation. Previously knew this list actually two pages between which you could exchange a button in the upper right. The first was a list of all your notifications, while the second was reserved for different quick toggles to put it. Things like wifi and bluetooth on and off quickly Google has two now integrated into a layout.

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If you swipe from the top edge down, you will first see your notifications, if you still swipe, scroll further down the notifications and that space is filled with a new toggle menu. It is no longer a symmetrical grid as before; top the first buttons for wifi and bluetooth and below are less frequently used settings such as location, rotation, and airplane mode.

We do not necessarily work easier, but even worse. You still have to perform two operations to get to the toggles so far as speed changes little. Be annoying is that when you toggle the menu pulls out, remain the notifications at the bottom, but not to click or swipe away his. That is not visually indicated and thereby confusing. Also lacks a button to retrieve. All notifications in one way Hopefully this is a mistake of Google’s side and we see opportunity in the final version back.

Those notifications themselves have also gone to kick Android L. To start visually, they are displayed with black text on white background and they are separated from each other, just like in Google Now cards. Notifications do not seem crowded list, but individual elements that float in the notification list.

That is not the only place where they can be seen. New notifications because not only appear as an icon on top, but are also sometimes shown in the picture above on the app open at that time. This Heads Up notifications make it easier to respond to an incoming notification and we got used to it very quickly. Developers can also determine whether their app Heads Up notifications should show and Android does itself to filtering, so that only important messages are displayed in this manner.

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There is a third place where notifications are displayed: on the lockscreen. In Android L, you do not have to unlock to view notifications and that we find one of the finest new features in this release your phone. It is a feature that iOS has been for years, but no less welcome.

If you use a password or other form of security, notifications are still shown; To unlock the phone, you must first swipe up. Android will not display in such a situation at any notification of the exact content. So you can tell that you have received an email from someone, but you do not get to see. The first lines of the text Which notification content is and is not visible, is still determined by Android, but developers can also indicate themselves in Android L or the information contained in a notification should be in all situations visible.

New features and settings

Android L – Interface The new visual style and extensive notifications are in daily use, the most striking features, but Android L is further packed with other major and minor renovations. The first is the multitasking list. In line with the Material Design outstanding apps are now displayed with depth, like a pile of screenshots with the most recently used app on top. If you scroll through it, it gives a nice 3D effect.

More importantly, it is possible for app developers to release this list. Multiple components of an app back The easiest example is the browser; with Android 4.4 you see the overview only Chrome, but not any tabs open. In Android L, it is possible to give, so you can switch directly. Between apps and tabs each tab its own place in the menu However, the preview does not even work.

Also the settings menu, which actually since Android Gingerbread had the same look and feel, has gone on the shovel and now has a white background and turquoise letters and icons. In addition, there is now a search function available, so you do not have to browse through all the settings, but you get that you’re looking for. Rapidly at the institution Especially with the latter, we are very happy. On larger screens, such as that of a Nexus 7, the menu will be displayed in multiple columns, so there is less free white space and you have to scroll less.

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Do not disturb, battery options and screen brightness

We look at what there is to find is that settings menu, then we get some new features to, for example, the do not disturb mode. This is another feature that we already know from other manufacturers, but it is nice that Google has built. Standard now You can simply turn off all notifications it manually, or between regular intervals. Handy for a meeting or for example at night.

The battery-list now displays more information about how the power goes over time and thereby also tries to predict how long the battery will still go with. If the phone hangs on the charger is shown below on the lockscreen how long it will take until the battery is full. There is also now saving mode is present, similar to what Sony, HTC and Samsung already offer. In that mode, the processor is clocked and the screen brightness down as to extend the battery life. What

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That screen brightness is now controlled differently than you’re used to. You do not get the choice between manually and an automatic mode, but between manual and adaptive. Means that the user with a slider adjusts how bright the screen roughly should be and can perform using the software around that brightness level minor corrections the light sensor. Apple iOS used a similar system. We have not worked long enough with Android L to say whether it is a positive or negative change, so that judgment let’s go on the shelf.

However, there is still a bug in the new brightness control, so he switches back to its darkest setting. Of ambient The result is that the screen is readable and seems to stand out. This makes the device a few seconds after switching on each unusable. Who is experiencing this bug – we had him on a Nexus 7 – can not solve it with a hard reset or re-flashing; the only solution is run in a very dark room there to turn it off.
New look for the keyboard

Android L – Interface The keyboard is also visually gone on the kick, but we are at first glance not so happy. There is now no longer any question of individual keys, but a large surface area where the letters are printed, without lines in order to separate them. Of each other It looks nice and minimalist, but it is less fine, because you have to go to work. Much more precise feeling for you Fortunately, the underlying technology of the keyboard still fine. The new look adds nothing to our idea and had omitted allowed to stay. Under the hood: ART, 64-bit and Volta Project

Android L is the first version of the operating system that no longer works with the Dalvik virtual machine for running apps. This just-in-time compiler has given way to the Android Runtime, or ART, which uses ahead of time compiling. In practice, it means that the java code when installing apps is compiled and will not start the app. In addition, the garbage collection would be improved considerably in ART. Not only is there more efficiently dealt with memory, but collected as unused memory is released, this according to Google less impact on the overall performance of the phone or tablet. Less sudden creak so.

ART according to Google in the ideal situation, twice as fast as Dalvik. The benchmark Ande Bench has a special sub-test, which only looks at the performance of Java code and test that the difference is considerable, but it is not a doubling. The Nexus with Android 5 L in that test a thick thirty percent faster and we are actually impressed. What are you noticing in practice, it is difficult to say. The Nexus with Android KitKat 5 was also a very fast phone and we suspect that you will notice in midrange phones than with high-end appliances. Difference between Dalvik and earlier ART

Another advantage of ART is the 64bit compatibility for both ARM and x86. This means that we use Intel’s new Atom socs is the x86-64 instruction set to accelerate business and upcoming 64bit ARM chips will use the additional features and instructions provided by the ARMv8 instruction. Of course, also the rest of Android now fully 64bit-compatible so that it is possible in theory, in order to speak. Large amounts of memory to The need for this has so far proved not large, so that, we will only reap the benefits in the future.
Volta Project

Google likes to combine certain changes and display. A beautiful name With Android 4.1 for example was Project Butter introduced a series of changes that made the system faster. In Android 4.4 Project Svelte, followed changes to reduce the memory usage back and Android L knows Volta Project, designed to improve the battery. Duration Volta consists largely of tools developers can better see how their apps load the battery, so that they can improve it. However, there are also customized things which the user if it is has advantage.

There is a Job Scheduler processes that background apps may collect and perform at the optimum time. For example, developers can specify that a particular action should be when the device connects to wifi, hangs on the charger or correct idle executed. At this time, developers must therefore still make the device from time to time awake to see if the situation has changed. Use Job Scheduler they can let this deal and the device when it is well less often is awakened. By Android
A new camera api

Android L also contains the new camera api months ago that we wrote . Currently, the Google Camera app there is apparently no use, but the new API makes it possible to implement a burst mode, and in addition there is the option to save in raw format dng pictures. We asked developers of Google’s camera app and this feature will be added in the future, but she still wanted to give an answer.


The L version of Android that Google has released is not finished yet clear. Material Design The new design is still not implemented at all sites and most of the Google apps look out unchanged. The L-preview is visually a kind of monster of Frankenstein and that makes it hard to get the new design. Overall good impression However, the mock-ups and demos that Google has shown impress and the parts of the system that are already adapted, look neat.

Moreover, we understand well that Google already comes with a release, because this interface will best come out on top as well as third-party apps integrate nicely. Otherwise, you get the same effect as with the introduction of iOS 7, when some old apps were very out of tune.

Functionally the L-release includes a few new features that are very desirable, such as the lock screen notifications and the do-not-disturb mode. The new notification menu could still use some work in our eyes, like the keyboard. Features like the new multitasking menu, ART and Project Volta also have the potential to improve. Use the experience considerably

The L-preview is mostly a taste, as were known issues that are not yet available in this build, as additional privacy settings and “smart unlock”, which can be used to show. An unlock example just outside the door chosen in the keynote We can imagine that there are even features that Google has deliberately not mentioned, so there is still some surprises left for the release.

That release will take place sometime this fall. Whether Google is still in the meantime, new previews, such as Apple with its iOS beta’s doing, is not yet known. Finally, people who are planning to install the preview to know that there are bugs present and certain apps, such as Twitter, Facebook and SwiftKey not or do not work well. Should The editorial is even a Nexus 7 become temporarily unusable because the screen does not really visible image REFLECT. It is therefore not advisable to install a device that you need daily. These preview


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