The Android 5.0 L update for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 will be officially released to the public later this year, but, for the time being, Google didn’t reveal when will begin the roll out of the new incremental update. We believe that we can make a fairly accurate estimation regarding the Android 5.0 L release date based on Google’s previous launches.
As you may know, in the last couple of years Google released major Android updates twice a year: one mid-summer and the other one mid-to-late-fall. Each time a new incremental Android update was released new Nexus hardware was also introduced. Well, things will be a bit different for Google this year, as they seem to be doing the Android 5.0 L release Apple-style.
Apple made a habit out of introducing new iOS versions in the summer at WWDC, test them for several months, then make them available for public in the fall, when their new iPhone is usually announced. Google’s strategy will be similar. They officially announced Android L in June at Google I/O 2014 and made it available as Developer Preview for Nexus 5 and Nexus 7. If the pattern checks out, the new Android iteration will be released for the supported devices sometime late-October or early-November, when new Nexus devices are expected to see the light of day.
You probably heard a few months ago that Google is readying a new Nexus-like project called Android Silver. These rumors pushed many analysts and fans into believing that the Nexus program will be ditched. Fortunately, a Google representative dismissed the rumors saying that Nexus is nearing death. Soon after the rumors have been put to rest, reports of a new Nexus tablet surfaced online. Moreover, we’ve recently heard some details of a Nexus 6 smartphone. If the reports prove true, the tablet codenamed Volantis will be manufactured by HTC and will have an 8.9-inch screen, while the next-gen Nexus smartphone will sport a 5.9-inch screen and it will be manufactured by Motorola. The Nexus 6 is reportedly codenamed Shamu. Either way, we are 100% confident that the two new devices will run Android 5.0 L out of the box.
So what about the official name of the new Android iteration? I’m glad you’ve asked. So far, each major Android release was named after a dessert and had a specific version number based on the amount of important changes it introduced. It’s obvious that, given the large number of improvements, Android L will be actually Android 5.0 L. As for the dessert name, most sources say it will be either Lollipop or Licorice.
There’s no arguing that Android 5.0 L is the biggest update in Android’s history. It’s even bigger than the jump from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich. In my opinion, the new Material Design philosophy is the biggest change brought by the new update. The interface got friendlier, has more colors, more animations, and everything is more intuitive courtesy of 3D effects and shadows. I am sure that anyone who got their hands on Android L Developers Preview would agree with me. Furthermore, the overall system performance will get a boost, now that the obsolete Dalvik runtime has been replaced with ART and that the 64-bit processors are supported by the OS.
Android 5.0 L also brings changes to the notifications bar and lock screen. The latter one is now displaying notifications and also allows you to interact with them. Furthermore, the lock screen notifications are prioritized based on how frequent you interact with them.
You might also notice that the notifications bar now has a new color scheme while the Quick Settings button is gone. If you want to access the Quick Settings menu you will have to swipe down once to bring up the notifications bar, then swipe once more to show Quick Settings. The Quick Settings toggles also received some changes. You will now be able to find shortcuts for WiFi, Mobile Network, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, Sound Rotation Lock, and Location. The screen brightness is now controlled via a slider, while “Auto Brightness” has been replaced by “Adaptive Brightness.”
In Android 5.0 L the status bar received a makeover, too. While staying transparent in home and lock screens, the status bar is capable of changing its color based on the app running on the screen, so the status bar and the app’s action bar can have the same color. Anyway, developers will have to change their apps in order to bring a unified visual experience.
Changes have been applied to the multitasking screen, as well. It now brings a card-based interface which is a reminiscent of Chrome’s opened tabs menu. Therefore, the running apps are stacked one over another and certain apps are allowed to display more than one card in the multitasking screen. The Settings menu also got new functionality and it now allows you to find a particular option using the new search bar.
There’s no doubt that the Android 5.0 L update for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 will be the first to hit the users. These devices will be followed shortly after by the Google Play Experience smartphones and tablets and by Motorola’s smartphones. Of course, unless Motorola changes their good habit of bringing speedy software updates. HTC and OnePlus were the first manufacturers to announce that some of their devices will receive the Android 5.0 L update within 90 days after Google sends in the final code. Samsung, LG, and Sony will probably roll out the update for their supported devices late 2014 or early 2015.
Do you have any favorite Android 5.0 L features? What are your expectations from the new Android iteration? Please let us know in comments.