Google has given details on the next version of Android, for now officially known only as Android L, but rumours suggest another Nestle partnership could result in the OS being named Android Lion. Here's what you need to know about its release date, design and new features. Updated on 24/9/14.
Google launchedAndroid 4.4 KitKat last September so we've investigated when the new Android version will be released, whether it's 4.5 or 5.0. Google has detailed Android L at its I/O 2014 developer conference so there's lots to talk about including release date, version number, material design and new features. Read:How to get Android L now.
New Android L: Release date
Ok, first things first. It's unclear whether Google's new Android version will be 4.5 or 5.0 although the former has been the favourite. A recent Chrome update backs this up showingthe new build number as 4.4.99. TK Tech News also says it's version 5.0.
Google has confirmed the existence of the next version of Android but is only calling it the 'Android L release'. At I/O, the firm announced that Android L will arrive later this year in autumn. For developers, the L developer preview is available now.
We've been waiting for a possible launch date and we've got two via Android Authority which says, which cites two different sources familiar with Google’s plans. The site says that the event will take place on 15 or 16 October alongside new Nexus hardware - namely the Nexus 9 and Nexus 6.
The report also reveals that Android L won't be released and made available to download until 1 November. This could also be when the new Nexus devices go on sale but that's unclear.
It's widely thought that the name, following the alphabetical list of sweet treats, will be Lollipop. However, according to TK Tech News it will be Lemon Meringue Pie after all. Previous versions include KitKat, Ice Cream Sandwich and Honeycomb. It's codenamed 'Moonshine'. See also:Android L vs iOS 8
The latest rumour is that Google will partner with Nestle once again, this time to produce Android Lion. The rumour came about from a screenshot (below) showing Nexus 5 information leaked by @EMTLeaks.
Google has revealed a new design language for the Android L release which is called 'material'. Overall, it's a cleaner and very Google style which developers can make use of in apps. The Roboto font can also be used anywhere. You'll notice that the new navigation buttons are a triangle, circle and square.
Elements can now be given depth, so shadows and light sources affect user interface elements in real time. App interfaces will now feature touches of colour automatically generated based on the content and there are new animations and touch feedback.
You can see the new look in the above and main article images including new icons and new navigation buttons. Take a look at Google's video below to get an idea of what new Android L will look and feel like.
New Android L: New features
Android L will make notifications even better. For starters you can get them on the lock screen - and they will be automatically ordered in priority. You will be able to swipe them away like normal or double tap to open the relevant app.
Part of the Android L redesign is a new lockscreen which will show you notifications (see above image). You'll need to swipe up to unlock (if you don't have a lock pattern or other unlock method) but you can also swipe right to launch the dialler or left to launch the camera.
Forget a 2D list of open apps, the new recent apps section of Android L brings a Google Now card style layout. The open apps flow on a sort of carousel and can be swiped off to either side to close them as before.
It's not working on the developer preview but some apps, for example chrome, will be able to have multiple cards in recent apps. Android L will show a separate card for each open tab.
New notifcation bar
The Android L notification bar looks quite different to before. It works in the same way as before so a swipe from the top of the screen grants access. There's a new layout and colour scheme.
Instead of tapping a button to access quick settings you simply swipe downwards a second time. There is now screen brightness control as standard and a new 'cast screen' icon for mirroring with a Chromecast.
Security - personal unlocking
Google said that security is a key element for Android and its users. A new feature will enable users to unlock their smartphone when physically near enough a device like an Android Wear smartwatch. It's a bit like cars with keyless entry.
Battery life - new saver mode
Better battery life is something we always want and Google promises that Android L will bring it via a new battery saving mode. Project Volta will allow developers to identify how their apps are using battery so they make improvements.
Google said that the new battery saving mode will give a Nexus 5 an extra 90 minutes of power. The battery section of the settings menu now gives more detailed information, too.
As we expected, Android L will support 64-bit processors and it will also support the ART software library which Google says will be twice as fast as Davik.