Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced and released its Android L developer preview software at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. While a considerable amount of the presentation focused on the back end of Android L, Google did preview some features that should excite consumers:
New Look To User Interface
On the back end, Google calls its new user interface “Material Design,” which is inspired by the look of paper and ink. What users will see are bold colors and distinct shadows and continuous animation of the interface through various actions like scrolling. The interface also features animated touch feedback, which causes a ripple effect when users touch the screen.
Notifications have been updated on Android L and will no longer appear in the slim notifications bar at the top of a screen, but will rather pop up on screen for easier viewing. The new notification feature, called “Heads Up,” allows notifications to pop up on top of active applications without disrupting the activity. Users can ignore the notification and continue their task, or respond, which will pause the activity until the user is ready to return. Notably, Heads Up was discovered by developers within Android’s open source code prior to Google I/O.
The “Recents” feature on Android L has also been updated and not only includes recent applications but also recently opened pages in the Chrome browser. Previously, users that wanted to access old webpages had to open their web browsers and access its history. Now all of users’ most recent activity can be found in one place.
Improved Battery Life
Android L will introduce “Project Volta,” which is aimed at optimizing battery life on Android devices. While a lot of the logistics of Project Volta are of more interest to developers, the average user will appreciate the new Power Saving mode on Android L. The feature can be enabled manually or set up automatically, depending on battery level and charging status and can extend battery life by up to 90 minutes on an average day's use.
Possibly A New Name
At this time, Android L is nameless. Google appears to be moving away from its numerical naming system and its alphabetical dessert-based nicknames for operating systems. The previous Android operating system was called Android 4.4 KitKat. At this time it is not certain whether Google will decide on a new name or stick with Android L as the moniker for its operating system.
Android L will be available to the public in the fall.