Android L features explored

Android L features explored

It seems like only yesterday when Android KitKat was released but here we are again getting ready for an Autumn release of the next version of the Android OS.

Android L is widely suggested to be the official name but we may still see a dessert-based Android L codename and we explored the possibilities earlier in the year in our article Android L is for.

Android L app screen

There are big changes in every corner of Android L making this one of the most exciting updates we have seen to date. So, today I am going to walk you through the ins and outs of Android L whilst leaving the developers jargon behind.

Android L Design

Shadows have been added to the new graphics which include circular icons as apposed to square icons and this gives more depth and a somewhat 3D like experience. Colour themes are also available.

Android L colour themes

Android L also automatically adds touches of colour to the visuals based upon the content being displayed and there are new back, home and multi-tasking buttons to give a cleaner look.

Android L back, home and multi-tasking buttons

Tiles now slide over each other and there are new animations such as transitions and reveal effects as well as touch feedback to go along with the mixture of flat and 3D optics.

Android L Lock Screen

The lock screen will feature enhanced notifications that are automatically ordered by priority as the operating system learns what you look at and do on your smartphone.

Notifications on the lockscreen

You can swipe away notifications or double tap to open them right from the lock screen.

Android L notifications

Other quick actions can be instigated from the lock screen including a swipe up to unlock, swipe left to launch the camera and swipe right to launch the phone dialer.

Android L ongoing notifications

Android L Multi-tasking

Open apps such as Android TV now appear in a carousel and you will be able to swipe up and down to scroll through them or close them by swiping them off the screen to the right or left.

Android TV

Apps in the carousel may appear more than once, so for example if multiple tabs are open in the Chrome browser then each shows individually allowing you to select or discard each individual tab.

Android L Security

If you own a Chromebook then Android L will automatically unlock your laptop when the Android smartphone gets close to it and will also deliver your notifications on both devices.

Android Wear

In a reverse role wearing an Android smartwatch like the LG G Watch or Moto 360 reviewed here will allow the phone to be unlocked without entering a pass code as the two devices near each other.

Google Fit

There will be a new health and fitness app called Google Fit which will use data from sensors on the smartphone or Android Wear smartwatches to help you lose weight, count calories or aid your exercise regime.

Android L Battery Saving Mode

Android L will have a new battery saving mode which will allow its user to identify the power consumption of individual apps and make changes upon that information.

Whilst flagship devices often have battery saving modes installed this feature will be of great benefit to other devices and in a test by ArsTechnica 36% more battery life was achieved on a smartphone using Android L over Android KitKat.

Android Auto

Android Auto is built into the Android L OS and brings a simplified and less distracting interface into cars that are Android Auto compatible. 

Android Auto Navigation

Manufacturers such as Kenwood and Panasonic are also producing new tech which you can install into your old car which will be Android Auto compatible.

The bigger dashboard screens offer larger buttons for easier operation and allow you to use Google Now, access you music library on your smartphone and reply to emails and text messages. 

Android Auto

The system is intuitive so if you commute to work at the same time each day then you will be greeted with cards of information before you need them such as traffic news on your normal route.

Android L opinion

Android L will look different and be full of new ways of doing things better so this is definitely an update to look forward to.

At the latest Google developers conference screen shots of Android L were used displaying the time 5.00 and as Google has used this tactic before to hint at the version numbers we should expect to see Android v5.0 L as the final codename.

Written by: Michael Brown

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