Android L

Google surprised us yesterday with not just a new version of Android, dubbed Android L, but also the announcement of early preview builds to let developers get to grips with the new OS. Today, on the second day of Google I/O, we've finally gotten our hands on the Android L preview for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 and taken it for a spin. And while everything's not quite in place yet — as we'd expect given that we're dealing with pre-release software — it's a promising start for the next version of the OS.

Take a look in our hands-on video after the break.

More: Top ten Android L features, Android L in pictures


Reader comments

Android L developer preview hands-on


I'll get used to them. The change is jarring and personally probably not the direction I would've gone. I'll get over it. The rest looks sweet so far.

I like them too, not for the Sony reference, but simply because I think they ought to be more user friendly in the long run. Simplified graphics for commonly used features should mean your mind doesn't have to think much about what you're supposed to tap on once you get used to it.

How is this more user friendly or simplified? Currently the icons actually look like what they do; the back button is an arrow pointing backwards, the home button is shaped like a house and the recent used button looks like windows stacked on each other. Can't get any simpler than that. A circle, square, and sideways triangle give ZERO hints to what they do and if you aren't already familiar with Android, will take some time of pressing them to see what they do, then memorizing which shape does what.

Eventually I'll get used to the buttons but the stock keyboard is BAD

Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5

Look cleaner. Always disliked the back button look. Always liked cheap to me.
I guess licensees can do whatever, even use a hard home button.

not a huge fan no but I'm sure in time we'll warm up to them... by biggest issue with them is familiarity for non techie customers.. we're all going to be helping our parents get back to their home screens for weeks when this releases.


"It's the circle, Grandma. Yes, I know it used to be a house shaped icon, but apparently a circle is simpler and more user friendly."

Why can't Google make an Official App or Software that backups your apps, : / that's what i truly want.

Posted via Nexus Family

Agreed. I've had good luck with Helium, but I want one that doesn't require root or USB connection, and I really want one officially from Google.

Posted via Android Central App

Or they could just make the "back up to Google" option in setting actually work! Lol

Posted via Android Central App

It does work, just doesn't back up the apps themselves. It backs up stuff like your WiFi settings and such. I agree, though, that they do need some way to back up app data. Maybe to Drive or something.

Manual control of brightness when the screen is set to auto-brightness. Wonder where I've seen that before? Ultra-power saving mode? Knox?... One can say much about TouchWiz, but, it is often pushing development of pure Android forward.

Though, i really hope Samsung will keep Android 5 on their devices as stock looking as possible. It does look really good now.

In fact, many of the features in Android have often showed up in various oem skins before. Not just Samsung though

Posted via Android Central App

Errrmmm no sorry, touchwiz is fat and childish! I've had power saving modes on my HTC's for 18 months. Also the manual brightness control is on every android device genius

Manual adjust while in automatic brightness is not on every android, though I wish it were. Samsung, Apple, etc have it, but not stock android, until now. It adjusts the range of adjustment for the automatic setting.

Apparently you've never run any customs ROMs, because then you'd know that's where all of the OEMs (and mulitple OSs) steal many of "their" brilliant ideas from (not to mention personnel/talent). Knox is not, and Google very publicly acknowledged and thanked them for it.

I love the way this update looks I think it will be promising I could careless about the shapes people are complaining about it's not a big deal glad they finally decided to change the UI looks cool can't wait to try it out hoping for a custom Rom for this on galaxy s5

Posted via Android Central App

A lot of that may be switching to using the ART runtime. There have been similar comments about just switching to ART under KitKat when it was a developer option, but now it's the only option. I definitely see it on my Nexus 7 with the preview loaded, though.

I just wonder how will Samsung, LG and HTC implement their skins on Android, Samsung in particular with their Touchwiz becouse android L(imburger) itself looks pretty amazing! :)

Posted via Android Central App

Surely to some extent-, however I am really stoked for this. Jelly bean didn't motivate me after ICS, like this is. May even look at the nexus/silver......

What do you mean by Android L(imburger), I had read that it was going to be called lollipop not Limburger?

Posted via Android Central App

Well, I just think it might be called limburger becouse at keynote, demonstrating voice search on LG G watch, they searched for limburger, so why not? Limburger is kind of cheese btw. :)

Posted via Android Central App

That's just my opinion, it might be called limburger, might not, who knows? We'll just have to wait and see. :)

Posted via Android Central App

It most absofuckinglutely will NOT be called Limburger, don't even suggest it in jest. All previous Android operating systems have been named for desserts, candies, and other sugary treats. Limburger is a cheese that even Wikipedia agrees smells like body odor. Lollipop or Lemon Meringue Pie. Not cheese that makes you want to barf.

Wow, someone is a little grumpy today. We were having a nice, friendly conversation. Just take a deep breath and calm down. Of course it won't be called Limburger, but let Perooo1 hope and have fun. Did you have some bad experience with the cheese when you were a kid or something?

Long live the Rolodex!

Winner of the OnePlus Storm of Invites contest thingy...

°Sony XPERIA Z2 white
°LG Optimus G Pro white
°LG Optimus L70 black

Just change the theme. You can make it look exactly like the KitKat Google Keyboard under the options. It's growing on me, though.

Triangle for 'back' - kind of makes sense, though the current arrow seems more obvious. Square for recent apps? Doesn't a square button mean Stop? And I'm really interested in reading how their design team decided round = home.

That part, can't say I'm looking forward to seeing in hand. So to speak. Like others have said, I'll get over it. Just seems like change for its own sake rather than improvement.

Totally agree with you! I prefere old ones, but I'll get used to it :)

Posted via Android Central App

Maybe to resemble the little circle button on the palm pre? But yea how is a little house less obvious than a circle?

Posted via Android Central App

Being new to andriod I like the features like the notifications looks really good I want it now

Posted via Android Central App

At this point after hearing android L so often I'm going to be disappointed with whatever cheesy desert name it ends up getting. Android L has a classy sort of ring to me

No clue what they wanted to do with it. Change for the sake of change, I guess.

Posted via Android Central App

just flashed L. It's pretty cool looking. I may use it for a day or so just to see how it acts. I think it will be awesome when it officially launches with all the new features working!

How's the keyboard? I'm a little worried about how it feels. I hope they drop an image for my LTE Nexus 7.

Posted via Android Central App

I think the keyboard works fine. It's not as good as Swiftkey, my favorite keyboard, but i didn't find it hard to use. The predictions and corrections were actually pretty good. Most everything works on the preview works well. The notifications need a little work. For example, when you tap a notification from the notification shade, it doesn't always open the app. Same thing happens from lockscreen.

Sweet. Looks so different. Looks slick actually. Thanks for the info man.

Posted via Android Central App

Curve ball it's Android liver. Jkjk

Anyway. It looks good. I really like it. I agree it has a sense of TouchWiz and some ios stuff but it's not overpowering and it looks just right.

Now I just need a phone that will get this update.

Posted via Android Central App

What's pretty awkward is how TouchWiz this feels. When you drag down the scrollbar as far as it goes, the response is so exaggerated. When you type a number on the calculator, everything appears to beep and bloop. Of course it's missing Samsung's signature sounds, but it just feels that way.

I don't abhor TouchWiz because I've mostly gotten rid of it with Nova Launcher, but this feels like it. I definitely like it but I'd like to see some more features before I get excited.

Posted via Android Central App

There are quite a few features from touchwiz in there as well.

The popup notifications can be done with phone calls (not sure if anything else but one is enough)

I really love the direction this is heading in. I cannot wait to see how the OEMs enhance and extend what they are going to be given.

That being said, if they screw it up too much, I will seriously consider a GPe device. This looks good for a preview version

Definetly. My opinion on KitKat was that it was a little to bare for me to have, as far as features go. But this looks, leaps and bounds better than KitKat, like touchwiz features with a stock speed. Right there with ya.

Posted via My Ever-Bloated S4

so that's how Alex sounds...

On a more related note, not loving all the animations, as well as all the white. Makes my eyes hurt looking at it! But I'm sure it's nothing I can't get used to. Looking forward to it!

Posted via Android Central App

Looks kinda WebOSy. Finally they've reached that state of usability, WebOS had in 2011. Probably time to ditch my Pre3 now. :-)

The hard white backgrounds tend to chew up battery capacity more quickly then darker ones. I hope, that the benefit of those harsh contrasts is better readability in outdoor scenarios with bad (as in bright) light conditions.

Been using it now for a few hours and its definitely a refreshing update to the look and fell IMO. Nothing wrong with KitKat, but I do like the new low power setting in the Dev options and the more detailed batt info. Overall thumbs up. Having issues with radios though...

Posted via Android Central App

Although it kinda resembles the old moto atrix 4g on gingerbread (v2.2 I believe it was) at first glance at the home page. Lol
Posted via Android Central App

Oh my gosh. The atrix was probably the worst experience with a phone I have ever had. Ever.

Posted via My Ever-Bloated S4

The new/enhanced features look good. I'm just really disliking all the white backgrounds for system and Google apps. Guess I'll be locating a dark theme when this is released.

Looks like it works just like the "tab view" in Chrome for Android. Drag down, and you will expose the older apps in the list.

I would like to Flash my device with the "L developer preview". But would i still get an OTA update when it officially releases?

Anyone else kinda hoping they just call it Android L ... and so on from here on out. I too was hoping for another fancy dessert like name this year but after hearing "Android L" for a couple hours during the presentation.. Its kinda grown on me.

There will be a dessert name. This is only called Android L because it's a preview and it presumably doesn't have its official name yet.

im seriously debating on purchasing the new Nexus phone (whenever that will be available). Anyone know any info on that?

I've been using this as my daily driver with small to none errors, except one. I've been able to send picture messages, but when I receive them, the picture sent to me doesn't show. I click the message to download the picture but doesn't download. I am using Hangouts as my messaging app. My carrier Sprint isn't experiencing any known issues with MMS so I'm not quite sure what's going on. Any others using Android L experiencing this issue?

Esmail Beshikchi is optimistic towards Kurdish future and he calls 21centurey the golden age for Kurdish nation. He announces that "although Kurdish nation is a big population, but why till now they don’t have their own government and identity? That is an important issue, that should be taken into consideration and its reasons should be elaborated, in order to make Kurdish future brighter to have their own identity and independency. Also the miseries they faced in the past shouldn’t be repeated.

Nice, more cards ... how WebOS is that? ... Oh, and better notifications! Nice, how WebOS is that? ... That could lead to a "joke question" like:
Q: "How do you spell Duarte?"
A: " W-E-B-O-S"
;) hehehe