At this year’s Google I/O developer’s conference, the newest android version was unveiled. At this tine it is just called “L”, whatever the final dessert/sweet name is TBD. One of the biggest changes is the fact Google is distributing a developer preview of the new os, so it is possible you can get the L version on your tablet/phone shortly after the official release, instead of waiting months on end.
The most changes appear to be in the ui itself. Named “Material Design”, it is to be the biggest change to the user interface since ICS. The idea is to make it appear that the on screen pixels are capable of physical movement. This will use 3D effects, shadowing, and other animations to create a sense of depth and space on the screen. App developers will now be able to specify an elevation value for on screen objects, and the various effects will work to display the object accordingly. Touch feedback will be implemented in apps, similar to enabling “show touches” in developer options.
Notifications have been tweaked, with the sorting order done by relevance instead of time. Also, important notifications will pop up in running apps, which can be ignored or tapped on to open. There will also be several settings available when you pull down the notification menu, instead of flipping over to access them, as is now the case.
ART runtime will be replacing Dalvik, which has been in use for years on android, and was optional on Kitkat. This should make apps launch faster, and also will support 64 bit processors.
The ultimate goal of Google is to have android be everywhere, and the L platform is a big step in doing so. Having one operating system for phones, tablets, desktops, watches, cars, and just about anything else you can stick a CPU in, is the same idea Apple, Amazon, Samsung, and a number of other companies are trying to accomplish. Google takes a big leap ahead with this latest version of android towards realizing their ambitions.