The release of the Android 5.0 L update for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 is imminent and, as we get closer to the moment when Google will make the new Android update available for the public, more leaks and reports are surfacing online. Even though the Mountain View-based giant didn't reveal when Android 5.0 L will go live, the recent reports are painting an almost complete picture of when we should expect it.
As you may know, starting this year, the folks at Google changed the strategy regarding Android launches. So far, we had two major Android releases a year: one in the summer and on in the fall. Now, Google is launching Android 5.0 L Apple-style. Their main rivals are usually announcing new iOS updates in the summer at WWDC, make them available for beta testing for a few months, then release them for the public in the fall, synchronized with the debut of a new iPhone. Android L was revealed in the summer at Google I/O and made available for testing soon after as Developer Preview (there's an update for Android L Developer Preview for Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 2013 here). The final version will most likely be announced in the fall, when new Nexus hardware will also arrive. Or at least that's what the latest reports are indicating.
In April we heard that a new Google program called Android Silver might replace the already-popular Nexus program. After Google's Dave Bruke denied the rumors that said that the Nexus family is dead, rumors of new Nexus hardware stated to surface online. First we've learned about a new Nexus tablet manufactured by HTC and codenamed Flounder. It seems that the unofficially dubbed Nexus 9 has an 8.9-inch display with 4:3 aspect ratio, 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 processor, 4 GB RAM, 8 MP primary cam, 2 MP secondary cam, and "aluminium zero-gap construction." The rumor mill also talks about a new Nexus smartphone. Codenamed Shamu, the Nexus 6 is manufactured by Motorola and sports a 5.9-inch Quad HD screen, quad-core Snapdragon 805 CPU, 3 GB of RAM, and 13 MP rear-facing shooter. There's even a leaked photo of the Moto Shamu roaming around the web. Of course, both devices will run Android 5.0 L out of the box.
Earlier this month, an Nvidia document said that the Nexus 9 is expected to debut in the third quarter of the year. Soon after, respected member of the Android community Paul O'Brien tweeted that Nexus 9 will be announced October 16, quoting an anonymous tipster. Then we've heard from two trustworthy sources that the release date of the HTC-made tablet is "very close." Another source claims that, while Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 will be announced mid-October, Android 5.0 L will not be rolled out sooner than November 1st.
But what will be the final name of Android L? I'm glad you've asked. All Android iterations so far had a dessert-inspired name and a specific version number. Given the tremendous amount of changes the new update brings, we are sure that its version number will be 5.0. The name will no doubt begin with letter "L" and we have some dessert names already floating around. While early reports said that it will be either Lollipop or Licorice, lately we're hearing about Lemon Meringue Pie more often. Therefore, you should expect the new release to be named Android 5.0 Lemon Meringue Pie (or Android 5.0 LMP).
Now that we have an idea about when the Android 5.0 L update for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 will be rolled out to the public, let's talk about some of the most important features of the new Android iteration. Android 5.0 L is generally acknowledged as the biggest update Google's mobile operating system has received since its debut back in 2008. It's even bigger than the jump from 2.3 Gingerbread to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
One of the most important changes brought by Android 5.0 L is Material Design. Courtesy of the new design philosophy, Android 5.0 L is more animated and more colorful. The 3D effects and shadows are making the interface more intuitive, allowing the user to see where everything came from and where everything goes. Moreover, Google has promised fluid 60 fps transitions.
The new update will also introduces performance enhancements. The obsolete Dalvik runtime has been replaced by ART and 64-bit processors are now natively supported. We are also glad to announce you that the battery life will be improved in Android 5.0 L courtesy of Project Volta. For example, a Nexus 5 running Android L Developer Preview has 30 - 40% more battery life than one running KitKat.
Google's new update also brings enhancements to the Notifications Panel. It has received a new color scheme, while the background is transparent in order to allow you to see what's on your screen while checking unread notifications. The Quick Settings button is gone, but not the Quick Settings menu itself. You will just get to it in a different way. You will have to swipe down once to go to notifications, then swipe again to access Quick Settings. There are toggles for WiFi, Bluetooth, Mobile Data, Airplane Mode, Notifications, Auto Rotate, Location, and Cast Screen, and a slider for Brightness control.
You will also get to enjoy a new Lock Screen in Android 5.0 L. Now, it is capable of showing your notifications and it even allows you to interact with them. You can dismiss them by swiping, read them by tapping, or see more details by swiping down. Google also promised that the lock screen notifications will be prioritized based on the frequency you interact with them.
Enhancements have been applied to the Status Bar, as well. The new Dynamic Status Bar is capable of changing its color to match the action bar of the app running on the screen, while remaining transparent in home screen and lock screen. Even though the Android 5.0 L native apps will e updated to take advantage of the Dynamic Status Bar, third-party devs will have to update their apps for us to enjoy a unified visual experience.
You should also be able to notice that the Settings app looks different, too. Besides arriving with a new color scheme, the Settings app has also been reorganized and has received new animations, toggles, and check boxes. There's also a search bar that will allow you to search for the option you are trying to access.
Another major change brought by Android 5.0 L is the new Recents screen. Recently opened apps look like cards stacked one over another. In fact, they look a lot like the recent tabs in Chrome. Google also announced a document-centric multitasking, which basically means that certain apps will be able to show more than one card in Recents.
The Android 5.0 L update for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 will no doubt be the first one to hit the users. Next in line will most likely be the Google Play Edition smartphones and tablets. Motorola is known for releasing quick updates, so their supported smartphones could get Android 5.0 L pretty fast. HTC promised to roll out the new update for One M7 and One M8 within 90 days after Google releases the final version, while reports are showing that Galaxy S5 and Note 4 might get it late November or early December. Sony and LG might also release Android 5.0 L for their flagship devices by the end of the year.
What's your favorite Android 5.0 L feature? Have you installed Android L Developer Preview on your Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 2013? Please let us know in comments.