Android L is here, and it’s brought a raft of new changes, with Sundar Pichai, head of Android, proclaiming it to be one of the biggest upgrades to Android yet.
The overall appearance uses a new “Material Design” motif, effectively treating elements of apps as if they are layered materials. Cards and other visual elements can now have an elevation value assigned to them by developers, with Android L rendering shadows at the edges automatically with the correct perspective.
Material Design will also allow developers to easily add colored framework elements to their navigation and control panels to match their apps, with a new Palette support library pulling colors from onscreen images and altering other elements to make it stand out.
Designers will receive grids that work across screens to provide a uniform appearance between apps, as well as ensuring apps have a consistent appearance between smaller and larger displays.
Roboto, the system font used in Android, has also been optimized for use on multiple devices. Animations will now slide with the “physics of card stock,” with buttons and other interactive elements providing more feedback. Iconography has been tweaked to include extra animations. Developers will be able to assign seamless animations between screens, activities, and apps.
More stress has been laid on improving search, considering the fact that it is the most important this Google does. The user can jump right into a given app and start right where he left off. This API will be made available to developers, so third-party apps, not necessarily Google made, will also be featured.
The recent apps menu has been redesigned in a way that existing chrome tabs can be saved as a separate entity and accessed with clicks.
The notifications panel has been made more interactive and colorful. Double-tapping a notification from your lockscreen will immediately redirect you to the app that triggered it.
The OS will now know the proximity of the phone’s owner by way of a smartwatch that the owner can wear and by pass the screen lock. Without the watch the screen lock will have to be bypassed manually through a pin/pattern lock.
Android won’t be the only platform on the receiving end of this new look — pretty much everything that hails from Google will sport the new interface, including Chrome OS, Android Wear, and Android TV.
A new addition is Project Volta, which hopes to improve battery life, will ensure that stuff like Wi-Fi and cell radios, GPS, etc. will be more competently handled through new power-saving APIs. Apart from this, Google will include a developer tool called ‘Battery Historian,’ that will manage power leaks. Also, a special power saving mode will aim at improving battery life to the max.
The OS will be able to manage work and play for the users as the software will be able to data will be separate between the two modes.