LG surprised Android enthusiasts today by announcing that it intends to begin updating the its flagship G3 to Android 5.0 Lollipop starting next week. The update will be available in Poland first, before rolling out to other territories. And hot on the heels of the announcement, a couple of leaked builds have begun doing the rounds online, giving us an early look at what to expect from Lollipop when it arrives — imminently — on the G3.
A few notes before we begin:
- Our screenshots come from software version 19H, the latest of the two leaked builds to surface. It's based on Android 5.0 build LRX21M, same build number as the current Nexus 9 firmware.
- This is leaked pre-release firmware, so there's no guarantee what you see here will reflect the final G3 Lollipop update. In fact, it probably won't. Expect changes.
- This build is available as a KDZ file over on XDA, thanks to poster rainbowsixpro1
Upon starting up the G3 Lollipop firmware, you're presented with the new Android 5.0 setup assistant, which works the same as it does on stock Android devices. You can add Wifi networks and Google accounts, and use the Tap & Go feature to bring settings over from another Android phone if you want. After that, you're prompted to set up G3-specific stuff like KnockOn. (And we can probably expect more additions here once the U.S. carriers get their claws into Lollipop.)
The LG UI hasn't undergone any massive visual changes in this pre-release build. The KitKat-style on-screen buttons remain (though there's no telling whether that'll be true of the final shipping build.) And LG's launcher works just as it always has done, with widgets contained in a separate tap in the app drawer. The redesigned Recents menu and app drawer are present and correct, however, and with the exception of the "clear all" and "dual window" buttons, the latter appears identical to stock Android.
The notification shade is a merger of vanilla Lollipop with a few LG tweaks. The quick settings are contained above your notifications, and user-switching and Settings can be launched using the icons in the top right corner. The animation for pulling down the notification shade is a bit less elaborate than what we've seen on Nexus devices, and lock screen notifications are also somewhat more basic. Again, it's unclear whether this will change when LG's Lollipop update is pushed out over the air.
Lollipop's priority notification system is also present, though with a slightly different skin, allowing you to see only important notifications, or none at all. For the most part, though, the Settings app is more or less the same as it was in KitKat, with the exception of some new animated flourishes for button taps and over-scrolling. Similarly, LG's own apps including the Dialer, Messages and Calendar, are largely unchanged in this version. On the whole, there's more LG influence to be seen here than Material Design, however we don't know how things will change between this build and the final one.
LG may be ready to start pushing out Lollipop to some G3 handsets very soon, and it's probably premature to draw any firm conclusions from leaked firmware in the meantime. In any case, the Korean manufacturer may well be first to deliver all the features of Android 5.0 to its flagship phone, while sticking with the flattened, geometric visual style it's been developing over the past year.
Check out more screenshots in the gallery below, and share your thoughts down in the comments.