The last Google I/O revealed to us a new version of Android. From the look of it, it actually looks quite major and there are plenty of changes on the User Interface. Then it was called the Android L, a follow up to Android KitKat. It looks though that the name Android L will not stick around for long as sources close SamMobile confirmed that the official release name will be Android Lollipop. The only unconfirmed part is whether or no this will still have 4 or 5 on its name. As long as the Android is not released yet none of us plain consumers can get anywhere close to seeing the software in action. Thanks to Sam Mobile though it is possible for us to see what Android L is all about, on a Samsung Galaxy S5.
As a major update in the Android life-cycle the Android L is made by Google to look and feel different compared to the rest of the older generation Android. Why is this? They designed the Android on a whole new level of language calling it the Material Design. As a result Android L is supposed to look better, cleaner, simpler, more lively and natural for users. The Android L we see here on the Samsung Galaxy S5 is actually an Alpha version of the Operating System coated with Samsung’s very own TouchWiz. As this is still very early in development stage there is not much that we can see but plenty enough to give us an idea of what Android L looks like and feels like. The sad part with TouchWiz though is that they are still using the design language based on the older Androids so you will not see everything that we expect to see on an Android L here just yet.
Let us start with what is wrong with the Android L with TouchWiz Alpha version here. We can see plenty of stuttering when switching from app to app, opening apps, and most prominently when opening the gallery. Mind you though that this is still an Alpha version and not ready for consumer use yet and therefore lags are an expected aspect as optimisations are yet to be done. On that note, that is the only thing that is wrong with it so far.
Now we move on to the good stuff, things we like. The previous Androids especially on Samsung devices have a feel of comic around them. On Samsung’s TouchWiz especially they are adorned with plenty of blue coloured graphics, lining, and backgrounds. In the new Android L though Samsung looks like they are sticking to Google’s protocol here by using white colour on things like the dialer, messages, clock app, and plenty of others. Of course being an early Alpha build there is still some inconsistencies in the software. The apps listed earlier also gets treated by Samsung to look and feel like it is a part of the Material Design by Google and that adds extra aesthetics to the Operating System. There are yet to be in-app animations that we usually see from Samsung though in this early build.
The new lock screen on the Android L supposedly will not be boring and plain as before. It can now display notifications from any app that you have in your smartphone. Of course you can also customise the kinds of app that can access that feature at the same time disable them. This feature pleasantly gets to Samsung’s version of Android L too. The only unwelcoming difference here is that the stock Android can do up to four notifications while Samsung’s can only do two, presumably due to Samsung’s proprietary lock screen that comes with its own animations and features. But through this feature you will have to say goodbye to Android lock screen widgets.
We also really like that Google introduced heads-up notification into Android L. Instead of occupying your whole screen when there are incoming calls, the notification will not disturb your current activity, which helps when you are using something like your maps application and you really need it or when you are playing games for that matter. Samsung also introduced a clipboard tool for us to browse through all screenshots and copied text for later access or usage. A very welcome feature indeed.