Android L – What’s new?

Android L

Android L

Google unveiled a new version of their popular Android operating system at the recent I/O developer’s conference. The new version, known to some as ‘Lollipop’, brings some subtle updates to the Android interface and some really potent changes underneath as well. Let’s take a look at what’s new for Android.

Android L

Android L

The first thing to notice about Android L is that the design is taking a departure from the dark color palette used in the user interface of previous Android releases. The newer design has much lighter colors, perhaps making it look a bit like Apple’s iOS. The on-screen buttons have also been given a design overhaul, and feature much simpler icons. Whether this was the right decision to take remains to be seen however, design changes are always a messy business. Nearly every stock system app has been treated to the new design language, so it’s not just an alpha version, Google really have gone forward with this decision.

Android L

Android L

Various features of the Android OS have also been tweaked. Notifications will now be accessible directly from the lockscreen, a feature that has been present for a long time in 3rd party lockscreens. To access the source of the notification, you just to tap it. If you want to dismiss it, just swipe it off like you would in the notification bar. Android L also introduces some potent changes under the hood.

GUI rendering has now been locked at 60FPS, in an effort to make everything seem much smoother. Android L will also see the release of a new run-time environment called ART, which acts as a replacement for the Dalvik runtime environment. Google is promising huge performance gains with this new feature, but we’ll have to see actual benchmarks to verify this. A new power saver mode has also been introduced which will change CPU settings and carry out the usual power-saving jobs like dimming the display, turning off Wifi and GPS. Google say that this new mode can lend you up to 90 minutes of extra usage.