The folks at Google will release the Android 5.0 L update for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and other supported devices later this year, but, for the time being, the Android L release date was not officially revealed. Hopefully, we might be able to make some estimations based on the company’s previous launches.
So far, Google released two new major Android updates a year, but the company will have a different approach this year. As you may know, new Android versions were released mid-summer and mid-fall, along with new Nexus hardware. Google’s strategy for 2014 reminds us of Apple’s iOS launches. The Cupertino-based giant is usually announcing new iOS versions during their summer WWDC event, then, after a few months of beta testing, they are released to the public in the fall, synchronized with the debut of a new iPhone.
Android 5.0 L was officially introduced at Google I/O 2014 technology event in June and made available as Developer Preview for Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 shortly after. If the reports prove accurate, Android 5.0 L will be made available for download for everyone else sometime late October or early November, when two new Nexus devices are also expected to emerge.
After the reports talking about the Android Silver project surfaced online, many have thought that Google is planning to kill the Nexus program. Well, a Google employee denied the rumors and we’ve see reports of two new Nexus devices shortly after. One of them is an 8.9-inch tablet manufactured by HTC and codenamed Volantis (presumably Nexus 9), while the other is a Motorola-made 5.9-inch Nexus 6, codenamed Shamu. Both terminals will run Android 5.0 L out of the box, the latter one being rumored to debut early November.
Each Android iteration was named after a desert, but the new Android release is known so far as Android L. Even though we don’t have an official dessert name for Android L, most sources seem to indicate that it will be called either Lollipop or Licorice. As for the version number, it will most likely be Android 5.0, given the high number of changes.
Android 5.0 L is the most major update Google’s mobile operating system saw since its release six years ago. The new Material Design philosophy is one of the biggest changes brought by the new update. With the help of 3D effects and shadows, Material Design is capable of making Android more intuitive and way more better-looking. If you had the chance to play around with Android L Developer Preview you might have noticed already that the UI improvements are bigger than the jump from Gingerbread to ICS. On the other hand, the overall system performance will receive a boost as the obsolete Dalvik runtime has been replaced with ART and the OS now has support for 64-bit-enabled processors.
The lock screen and the notifications bar also received a new look and new functionality in Android 5.0 L. The lockscreen is now capable of displaying notifications and it even allows users to interact with them. Google has also found a smart way to sort the lock screen notifications based on how often you interact with them.
The notification bar has received a new color scheme and the Quick Settings button is gone. The Quick Settings menu can be accessed with a swipe gesture: you need to swipe down once to bring up the notifications bar, then swipe one more to access Quick Settings. The Quick Settings menu now has toggles for WiFi, Mobile Network, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, Sound Rotation Lock, and Location. As you might have noticed, the Do Not Disturb and Rotation Lock toggles are new. Furthermore, the Brightness control is now displayed as a slider, while “Auto Brightness” has been replaced with “Adaptive Brightness.”
Once you get in the Settings menu itself, you will be able to use the new Search function, that enables you to find certain options more easily.
The Android 5.0 L status bar was also changed, now having a different behavior: it’s transparent in the home and lock screens and it changes color within apps to match the color of the respective app’s action bar. In order to bring a unified visual experience, the developers will have to update their apps to fit in with the new status bar behavior.
The multitasking received a new interface and new functionality, as well. The UI is now card-based and it looks a lot like Chrome’s tabs menu. While the recent apps are stocked one over another, certain apps like Chrome can display more than one card in multitasking, a different one for each opened tab.
As usual, the Android 5.0 L update for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 will be the first to be publicly rolled out. Next in line will be the Google Play Experience devices (most likely a matter of days), followed by Motorola’s latest smartphones such as Moto X or Moto G (the yet unannounced 2014 models, too). HTC and OnePlus officially revealed that they will be releasing the Android 5.0 L update for the HTC One M7, One M8, and OnePlus One, respectively, within 90 days from the release of the final build. The other big players of the smartphone market such as Samsung, LG, and Sony might roll out the new update for their supported devices late 2014 or early 2015.
What’s your favorite Android 5.0 L feature? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.