The launch of the Android 5.0 L update for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 is right around the corner. Or at least that's what the latest reports are indicating. Google failed to reveal when the new Android version will be released for the public, but several sources are confirming that we might get the Android 5.0 L update sooner than expected.
You probably know that starting with Android 5.0 L, Google has changed their strategy regarding the launch of new Android updates. Over the past years, the Mountain View-based giant released two major Android updates per year, one in the summer and one in the fall. As far as it looks, the Android 5.0 L launch resembles Apple's iOS launch pattern. Apple is usually introducing new iOS versions in the summer and makes them available for testing purposes soon after. The iOS beta program lasts until fall, when a new iPhone is announced and the final version of iOS is made available for the public. But how is Google's strategy similar to Apple's? I'm glad you've asked. Google announced the latest version of their mobile operating system in the summer. So far it's called Android L and it's available as Developer Preview (an Android L Developer Preview update is available here) and it will most likely go primetime in the fall, when new Nexus devices will be also see the the light of day. If the reports prove accurate, Android 5.0 L and the new Nexus devices could be revealed mid-October and launched on the market November 1st.
There are a lot of rumors regarding the final name of Android L, too. Each Android version has a specific version number and a dessert-inspired name. Considering on the high number of changes it brings, I think it's more than safe to say that Android L will have version number 5.0. As for the dessert name, we've heard of Lollipop, Licorice, and Lemon Meringue Pie. Anyway, we heard Lemon Meringue Pie mentioned more often over the past few weeks. With all these being said, expect the new Android iteration to be called Android 5.0 Lemon Meringue Pie.
Early this year it was rumored that Google might not release new Nexus devices due to a new program called Android Sliver. Anyway, soon after Google I/O, in June, a Google representative dismissed the rumors that said that the Nexus family is dead. From that moment on, we started hearing reports of new Nexus hardware on a regular basis.
The fist new Nexus device we've heard of was a tablet codenamed Flounder. Unofficially dubbed Nexus 9, the tablet is reportedly manufactured by HTC and packs beastly specifications. According to various sources, Nexus 9 could arrive with an 8.9-inch display with 4:3 aspect ratio and 2048 x 1440 resolution, 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 processor, 3 GB of RAM, 8 MP main cam with OIS, 3 MP secondary cam, and a soft touch plastic back reminiscent of Nexus 5's. The other new Nexus device is a smartphone. Nexus 6 is co-developed by Google and Motorola and it's known internally as Shamu. Recent reports have revealed that it will have a 5.9-inch Quad HD screen, 3 GB of RAM, quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, 32 GB storage, 13 MP primary shooter with dual-LED flash, OIS, and 4K video recording support, 2 MP user-facing camera, and a massive 3,200 mAh battery. For more details about the Nexus 6 check out this post. Without a doubt, both devices will run Android 5.0 L out of the box.
Now that we know when to expect the Android 5.0 L update for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 let's have a look at the main features brought by the new update. It's generally accepted that Android 5.0 L is the biggest update Google's software platform system has received since its debut back in 2008.
Starting with Android 5.0 L, Google has changed the design philosophy for their mobile operating system. Called Material Design, it aims to bring more colors and animations and to make the interface more intuitive with the help of 3D effects and shadows. It's like you can see where everything came from and where everything goes.
Among others, the update will also bring battery life and system performance improvements. Android 5.0 L comes with support for 64-bit processors and replaces Dalvik runtime with ART. Project Volta covers the battery life aspects of the new update. For example, a Nexus 5 running Android L Developer Preview has between 30 - 40% greater battery life.
The new Android version also brings important changes to the Notifications Panel. Besides receiving a new color scheme and a transparent background, the Notification Panel no longer has a Quick Settings button. Well, the Quick Settings menu itself isn't gone, but you will have to swipe down once to pull the notifications bar, then swipe down once more to get to Quick Settings. It now has toggles for WiFi, Bluetooth, Mobile Data, Airplane Mode, Auto Rotate, Location, Cast Screen, Notifications, and a slider for Brightness.
The Lock Screen was changed in Android 5.0 L, too. You will now get notifications displayed in the Lock Screen and you will be able to interact with them. You can swipe to dismiss them, tap to read them, or swipe down on a notification for more details. Google promised that the Lock Screen notifications will be sorted based on how frequently interact with them.
Another highlight of Android 5.0 L is the Recents screen. It has a card-based interface which is similar to Chrome's recent tabs screen. Courtesy of Google's new document-centric multitasking, certain apps will be able to show more than one card in Recents. For example, Chrome can display a card for each opened tab.
The Status Bar has received a makeover, as well. The so-called Dynamic Status Bar it's still transparent in lock screen and home screen, but it also changes color to match the one of the app running on the screen. Even though the Android 5.0 L native apps will take advantage of the new Dynamic Status Bar from the first moment, the developers must update their apps to enable the new functionality.
You should also notice that, in Android 5.0 L, the Settings app has been reorganized and that it has a new color scheme. The Settings app also brings new animations, toggles, and check boxes. There's also a search bar for you to easily find the option you were looking for.
As I was mentioning about the Android 5.0 L update for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 could arrive on November 1st. The Nexus devices will most likely be followed shortly by the Google Play Edition smartphones and tablets and by Motorola's supported devices. HTC promised to release Android 5.0 L for One M7 and One M8 within 90 days after Google makes it available, while Samsung will reportedly bring the new update to Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 late November or early December. Sony and LG might also release the new update for their supported devices by the end of the year.
Did you have the chance to test Android L Developer Preview? What are your favorite features? Please let us know in comments.