It’s been almost a week since Google I/O and their announcement of the latest version of Android. To me there are pivotal moments in the history of Android, moments that reshape how we use our devices. For me this began with with Android 2.0 and didn’t occur again until Ice Cream Sandwich. It takes Google a few generations of their platform to make that monumental splash and it looks as though Android L is going to be one of those times.
Every change in Androids UI has been one that has both been functional and pleasing to the eye, and Android L continues this trend. Android L looks to be Googles attempt to make the stock experience the benchmark of how all Android devices should operate. It’s animations and responsive layouts are the kind of eye candy that we as Android users have been hoping for since ICS. Speaking of ICS, Android L takes the unified experience one step further. Where ICS bridged the gap between tablets and smartphones, Android L will bridge the gap between tablets, smartphones, Chrome OS, TV’s, smartwatches and even cars. Giving the user a much more unified experience.
Android L will also give developers added tools to make their applications more responsive to the different devices that are running them. For instance, an app that is running on a 5″ display will run in a way that’s best for that size, while the same app running on a 10.1″ display will be optimized to fit that display. This is Google’s answer to the lack of tablet specific apps. If developers are smart, they will quickly take advantage of this new functionality. The consumer benefits because they won’t be forced to purchase 2 separate apps for for their phone and tablet.
Notifications have also been enhanced. Now you can be view your notifications from the lock screen without having to pull down the shade. Android will also prioritize you notifications for you based on your use. One thing I like is how notifications can now enter the app you are running without interrupting the app. No longer will a incoming phone call automatically stop the video you are watching or game you are playing. Android L is also aware of it’s surroundings. In the video we saw how your phone while connected to your BT smartwatch will no longer activate the security functions for unlocking your device. There is an untapped potential here that would have been a really killer feature, and that would have been profile changes based on location. Maybe you have a sexy picture as your wallpaper that isn’t appropriate for work. No problem, just set your work profile to use the company logo instead.
This keynote has been the best so far and it all centers around Android L’s broad capabilities. I could go on and on about the keynote and for those who didn’t see it, the video is above. We will try to bring you real world experience reviews with these new features as they become available. The future is looking very bright at Google.