After getting a good look at Windows Phone 8.1 and getting a preview of iOS 8, it was only natural for the Android loyalists to be rubbing their hands together in excitement, expecting Google to cook up something even better. Well, it would be safe to say that the company won’t be leaving them disappointed. Google unwrapped its newest iteration of Android, dubbed the L release, a while back at Google I/O 2014. While the presentation was prepared for the developers, we got a pretty good look at what’s headed towards end users this fall and we love it so far. In a nutshell, Android is getting a major uplift with a new look, new feel and new experience on offer. For those who wish to judge for themselves whether the upcoming iteration of Google’s OS is truly as tantalizing as we’re making it look, then continue reading.
A Fresh User Experience
Once the Android L release, or whatever its final name may be, arrives on your device, expect yourself to get impressed by it right away. In a bid to deliver a fresh Android experience, Google has tinkered with the one thing that definitely matters the most to a user, user interface (UI). Fortunately, the changes are great and very obvious. You’ll find yourself staring at bolder colors, flashier icons, new typography, and most notably, plenty of animations. The animations are pretty much everywhere, from phone dialers to messaging. Transitions between apps are smoother, and the overall UI has been made more rich and responsive. Older sets may have trouble carrying the burden of these new additions though.
Google is also making some fine touches to the Notification menu. Not only is it getting streamlined and getting more interactive, it can be accessed from the lockscreen. Furthermore, its visual appeal is being enhanced as well, with the menu made slightly more transparent, keeping the icons in the background visible even with the notification tray pulled down. It may not be a revolutionary change, but it sure adds to the overall appeal of the upcoming version of Google’s mobile OS.
Lockscreens Get Smarter
For someone who’s an avid cellphone user, lockscreen can begin to feel like a nuisance. Of course it’s a necessity, considering the amount of personal data on the phone. Google, however, has come up with a smart way to get rid of the nuisance without making a compromise on security. It’s introducing the personal unlocking feature in Android L release. If it senses that you’re wearing an Android-powered smartwatch, it remains unlocked automatically without you having to tap in or swipe an annoying code. Same goes if you have a Chromebook.
The New Chrome
Google has come up with a newer version of Chrome for the Android L release. It has been redesigned to offer a smoother experience, with everything made more flat, which seems to be current trend. To make the web experience even more convenient, a separate card for each tab would now be shown in the multi-tasking window. Those in a habit of opening many tabs at a time will surely feel less concerned about navigating through the mess they habitually create.
Zipper than Ever
Google has done away with its traditional runtime Dalvik, replacing it with Android RunTime (ART). Discussing its functionality may involve jargon, which an average user may not be able to understand, so we’ll leave it for now. However, what may interest you is the fact that ART can help developers boost the performance of their apps by two-folds, while making them 64-bit compatible and more memory efficient.
Stronger Graphical Capabilities
Inching closer to the desktop-like graphics with the help of Android Expansion Pack (AEP), which comes packed with things like tessellations and shaders, Google has taken a significant stride towards its mission of delivering PC-like graphics on Android devices. While it would not be a good idea to get your hopes too high right away, rest assured that the company is moving in the right direction.
An Answer to the Battery Woes
Battery has always been an issue with smartphones. Google seems to have come up with a great way of dealing with this issue. Its battery-oriented Project Volta initiative offers developers tools to get a better idea of the impact their apps make on the battery under different conditions and make changes accordingly. This would help them optimize the performance of their apps without draining too much juice.
Google is indeed making a wide range of additions, improvements and enhancements in its mobile OS. It looks pretty impressive right now, though we’ll still have to wait a few months to actually get our hands on it and see if it truly has what it takes to outshine its rival platforms.