It’s no longer a mystery that Google will release the Android 5.0 L update for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 later this year, but what should you expect from the new incremental update?
The folks at Google didn’t reveal final name of the Android L release, nor its official version number, but given the high number of changes brought by the new update you should expect it to be Android 5.0. Google also names their Android versions after sweets, but, for the time being, there’s no word on the sweet used for Android L. Will it be Lollipop? Many voices seem to indicate so.
Android 5.0 L is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, update Google’s mobile platform has received since its debut. The new Material Design philosophy is drastically improving the interface of the new Android version, making it more intuitive courtesy of the 3D effects and shadows. The interface of the lockscreen was changed as well, now allowing the users to interact with notifications. Furthermore, the notifications are prioritized based on the frequency you interact with them.
The notifications bar went through a makeover, too. Besides receiving a new color scheme, the notification bar no longer shows a Quick Settings button. In order to access Quick Settings you would have to pull down once to show the notifications bar, then pull down once more to access the toggles. Here, you will be able to find toggles for WiFi, mobile network, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb mode, Sound, rotation lock, and Location. You will also be able to control the screen brightness via a slider. The Auto Brightness option is gone, being replaced by “Adaptive Brightness.”
The Settings menu of Android 5.0 L has also received a new interface and it now allows the users to search for certain settings within the Settings menu itself. The status bar behaves differently in the new Android release: it stays transparent in home and lock screens, but it’s also capable of changing color to match the action bar of the app running on the screen.
The multitasking was also improved and received a new look in the Android 5.0 L update. Recent apps are now shown as cards stacked one over another, while apps like Chrome can show more than one card. That’s not necessarily good news, because if you have multiple tabs opened in Chrome, the multitasking might get a bit crowded.
Android 5.0 L also arrives with support for 64-bit processors, it ditches Dalvik runtime over ART, and arrives with support for USB audio-out. Many of the users who installed Android 5.0 L Developers Preview on their smartphones and tablets have reported improved battery life.
But when will Google release the Android 5.0 L update for the public? So far, the Mountain View-based company has released two major Android updates a year: one in early summer and another one mid-fall. Google changed their approach this year. They officially previewed Android 5.0 L at Google I/O and made the Developer Preview available for Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, most likely followed by the release of the final version sometime this fall, making the company stick to their usual late-October schedule.
As you may know, new Android versions are released synchronized with the debut of new Nexus hardware. Even though it was rumored that the Nexus program will be killed, one of the company’s representatives has dismissed the rumor. In fact, there have been reports of a new 8.9-inch Nexus tablet manufactured by HTC and codenamed Volantis. If the reports prove true, the tablet will sport a 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 SoC, 3 GB of RAM, 8 MP primary cam, 3 MP secondary cam, and “aluminium zero-gap” construction.
As always, the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 Android 5.0 L update will be the first to roll out. Next in line will probably be the Google Play Experience smartphones and tablets and, if Motorola sticks to their good habit, so will the Moto X and their next-gen flagship. HTC officially revealed they are planning to offer the Android 5.0 L update for One M7 and One M8 within 90 days after they receive the final code from Google. Samsung, LG, and Sony will probably bring the new update on their smartphones late 2014 or early 2015.