August 8, 2014

Android 5 –nope it’s Android L (for now…)


For Android followers, the biggest the news of the month is the announcement of a next version of Android after Kitkat named simply “Android L”. According to Sundar Pichai, head of Android, Android L is the biggest upgrade to the Android yet. It’s going to have a radical new design and it’s going to be used beyond the mobiles, plus voice is going to be a major input source. Google has not yet revealed much about Android L, but it’s sure that Android L will bring sweeping changes to Android’s UI, important performance and security enhancements and a handful of new user facing features. Read on to know more about features coming in the next version of Android.
Material Design
            The big news for Android L is the change to the way it looks and it’s going well beyond the mobile phone to the tablets, TV screen, Watch and even the car. The new material design is strange because it follows the current trend on moment, but it is heavily based on making every animation, every ripple, every shadow look real which is something that most brands are shying away from, which means that there will be shadow gradients, 3D tiles that slides over one another and most importantly access for developers to use this for themselves in their apps.
            The home, back and multi-tasking window buttons on Android have been refined too, Roboto font has been updated too. So everything from watch to TV to phone looks the same. Altogether this is a massive step towards a cleaner, more intuitive-looking version of Google’s mobile platform.
Notifications and Lock screen
              Notifications on Android L are getting an overhaul, so only the more relevant information about your app being presented. The notification panel being merged with lock screen so you can see what is going on as you pick up the phone and a simple swipe up takes you into the phone. Android L will also learn for you, working out when you look at and interact with more often priorities that notification.
            Another big change is that notifications will flow over the screen at the top-get a call when you are playing a game and it will pop up at the top, asking if you want to take it or not. This will likely be the same with messages etc too. The lock screen is getting smarter too – if you have got a specific location setup, or a wearing a Bluetooth device, the phone will recognize you and unlock without your pin. Move away or take your watch off and you will need to tap or swipe in a code when you unlock- or you can use even your voice as well.

Interlocking Apps
          Google wants your apps to be able to talk to one another – it used the example of searching for a place, only to serve up in Google earth, which is where it is originally was being looked at. The ideas goes much deeper as chrome browsing has a separate API that other apps can take advantage of, so if you click a link to book a table in the browser you will be taken to something like open table directly rather than the mobile site
Project Volta
Google got some new tricks to help you get most out of your mobile phone’s battery in Android L under the banner of project Volta. This feature allows the developers to measure the impact of specific activities on a device’s battery life. The new job scheduler feature allows developers to optimize power consumption in apps. It can also be used to schedule battery-intensive tasks like downloading updates for when a phone is on it’s charger. On top of that Android L adds a new battery saver mode which can be used to clock down the CPU, limit the screen refresh rate and cut down background data.
New Chrome Experience
            The Android version of Google’s chrome browser has been given the Material Design treatment. Google search results with cards for knowledge graph results seamlessly fill the screen and animate just like any area of system UI. Chrome also integrates with recent apps switcher in Android L, allowing you to easily see all your tabs by pressing the recent apps software key.
Enterprise Feature
            In a surprise announcement at the Google I/O keynote, Google revealed that Samsung had contributed its Knox software back to the Android code base and it will be making its debut in Android L’s “Android at work” feature. Android at work lets enterprise users keep corporate apps siloed away from personal stuff on their devices, an extra layer of security for work stuff and extra privacy for personal content.
            Android L is a work in progress preview at present and is not expected to start hitting devices as a finalized update until later in this year. However Google released preview system images for nexus5 and nexus7 n the June 26th. So developers and Android enthusiasts can give it a try now!!!.

Goutham Venugopal

S2 MCA

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