Android’s latest update has been officially previewed at Google’s I/O developer conference, allowing developers to take a look at the system.
Currently known as Android ‘L’, the official name and update version number hasn’t been released just yet by Google, which has done a surprisingly good job at keeping details under wraps.
The move came as quite a big surprise, as Google normally launches its complete system to developers at its yearly I/O event, but this time has only unveiled a developer preview version of the system.
This means that the system is only accessible on a number of developer ready devices, with the Nexus 5 and 7 being the only handsets supporting the preview at this point in time.
Despite this minor disappointment, Android users still have plenty of features to look forward to from the system, starting with the various user interface alterations set to come along with the update.
A brand new status bar and redesigned transition animations top the list of UI changes we’ve seen so far, offering a more realistic feel to the system, whilst enhanced notifications were also made public.
With Android L, notifications are made available on the lock screen, allowing users to choose between accessing the notification to act upon it, or swipe it away to avoid it.
Chrome, the default browser for Android devices has also seen a brand new upgrade; with a new, fluid design and changes to areas of the UI to give easier access to information to make for a smoother experience on the browser.
Project Voltra was also revealed within the update, and is designed to drastically improve battery life, a major pet peeve for most all smartphone users.
Voltra works by toning down the phone’s CPU usage as well as turning the phone’s radio off, promising an extra 90 minutes usage on the Nexus 5 handset, a phone berated for it disappointing battery life.
Google has also introduced separation features designed for businesses, splitting data on handsets between work and personal importance with no app modification required.
As expected, Google’s version of the recently announced iOS HealthKit was revealed, named Google Fit.
The app unifies fitness trackers into one simple app, and pulls data from sensors inside phones, smartwatches and other pieces of wearable tech.
Companies including Nike, Adidas, Motorola, LG, HTC and Intel have all committed to bringing supported devices into the market, hopefully meaning we could have some more wearable kit making its way out soon.
The app also measures steps, sleep and other pieces of health-based data, much like the HealthKit app we saw at WWDC, possibly bringing the possibility of more legal battles between Apple and Google.
Possible names for the system included Lollipop, Liquorice and Lemon Meringue Pie, all of which stick to the classic dessert name moniker used by Google since Android Cupcake.
Also, the version number is split between two popular choices, Android 4.5 or 5.0, with any other options way out by the boundary for now.
You can expect to see Android L launch later on this year, with a September release widely expected, in an attempt to crash Apple’s iPhone 6 party during the same month.
Written by Luke Hatfield