Android L: What new features can you look forward to?

by XB on 29th June 2014

in Android, Featured Content

Android L Developer PreviewEarlier this week at Google I/O, many of the new features of the next major release of Android were unveiled. Google is keeping the name of this version, whether it be Android 4.5 or 5.0 close to its chest, simply dubbing it Android L. In every respect Android L looks to be a major update – we have highlighted some of the key features below.

Aside from Android for smartphones, Google spent much time focusing on the extension of Android to other devices such as the TV (Android TV), car (Android Auto) and wearables (Android Wear).

For the first time ever, Google launched a development version of an upcoming Android release. The Android L Developer Preview was released on Thursday and soon after we saw the system dump being leaked. Since then we’ve seen a number of assets ported including the keyboard, wallpaper and more. So even though we might have to wait until the end of the year before this new Android version is formally released, we are likely to experience a number of features before then.

Android L key features

New UI – Material Design

Google’s new material design has been created from the ground up to provide a consistent cross-device experience. The design language spans mobile, web and beyond – a true Google-wide standard. The new Material theme allows developers to infuse a new colour palette into their apps , offering new system widgets, screen transitions and animated touch feedback. The video below helps to visualise what the new material design is all about.

Enhanced Notifications

Google is introducing a number of changes to notifications in Android L. As well as the visual changes to notifications as part of the material design, notifications will now be available on the lock screen including the ability to hide sensitive information. Ironically, this is a feature that Sony Xperia devices used to have on the Android 4.0.4 ICS firmware, before it was dropped.

Notifications will now be cloud-synced so that if you clear a notification on your tablet, you will see it disappear to your phone too. Other new notification features include a new Heads-up format for receiving high priority notifications and the ability to bridge notifications to Android Wear devices.

New Default Runtime

ART (Android Runtime) will replace Dalvik as the default runtime in Android L. ART was an optional runtime introduced in Android 4.4 KitKat, however some OEMs like Sony did not allow users to enable ART in their stock ROMs. New features introduce with ART include Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compilation, improved garbage collection (GC) and improved debugging support.

Improved battery life – Project Volta

Google has introduced Project Volta to make Android more energy efficient and give users control over resource usage. Battery life can be optimised by allowing certain apps to function at a later time or under specified conditions (such as when the device is charging). This sounds similar to Sony’s STAMINA mode.

In addition, the battery saver mode can be used to lower the clock speed of the processor, limit the screen refresh rate and reduce background data. Another new battery related feature is that it will predict how long it will take to recharge your phone, whilst charging. It will tell you this via the lockscreen.

Recents screen allows concurrent activities for documents

The recent apps screen at the moment only shows if a particular app is open. Now Google will allow users to switch between individual activities and documents from the Recents screen. Examples include opening tabs in a web browser app, documents in a productivity app, concurrent matches in a game, or chats in a messaging app.

Bluetooth broadcasting

Android L takes Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) platform support one step further by allowing Android devices to act as a Bluetooth LE peripheral device. Examples of this include a pedometer or health monitor and communicate its data with another BLE device.

New camera API and RAW-style support

A new camera API means that on supported devices apps can capture uncompressed YUV capture at full 8 megapixel resolution at 30 FPS. It also allows the capture of raw sensor data and control parameters such as exposure time, ISO sensitivity, and frame duration, on a per-frame basis. The camera API also supports Digital Negative (DNG) image capture, bringing RAW-style support.

64-bit support

Android L adds support for 64-bit application binary interfaces. Apps written in Java can immediately run on 64-bit architectures with no modifications required.


Apps can work with the system to dynamically scan for available networks with specific capabilities and then automatically connect. This is useful when you want to manage handoffs or connect to a specialized network, such as a carrier-billing network.

Support for OpenGL ES 3.1

Good news for game developers, OpenGL ES 3.1 support will give devs capabilities such as the ability to compute shaders, stencil textures and texture gather for games.

Android Kill Switch

A new “Factory Reset Protection” option in Android L will prevent thieves from trying to reset a stolen phone.

Do Not Disturb mode

As the name suggests you can now silence notifications for a set period of time. The settings give you the options to allow favourite contacts to get through. You can also set a period of time (i.e. night time) when Do Not Disturb is automatically turned on.

Personal Unlocking

Google will allow you to set a specific ‘safe’ location, like your home where you can unlock your phone without a pin.

Via Android Developers Blog.

  • Kacho_ON

    You know Sony is gonna make all this beautiful shit look corny

  • Prateek Bhanushali


  • ALL
    But I don’t like its stock UI
    I hope Sony Xperia make this awesome Material Design more beautiful…

  • OhLolliLolli

    For the first time I like vanilla android look as much as xperia ui. I’d be surprised if this release isn’t named LOLLIPOP because when you rotate on/off switches 90 degrees you get a minimalist lollipop design. I also find this name ridiculous. But I like it :) Battery life also is a nice thing to look fwd to.

  • cs098

    you forgot one thing 60 fps animations. I wanna see what sony can do with that :D

  • robcen

    Even if google will improve battery life with project volta, sony will it like it was with 4.4.2 upgrade.

  • Windows
  • DrKrFfXx


  • Abdul Ghani

    Sony will add their horrible post processing and compression in the new api and you know the result lol

  • Tech Gospel

    I hope Sony can port Android wear into their SmartWatch 2… the Moto 360 is looking really good.

  • Mac

    What about this ART thing, does it mean that the old way of rooting will not work any more?
    Please, just starting 2 get the hang of it..

  • Dexter Moregan

    I prefer to look forward to Android L feature that redesign by Sony!

  • Alan

    Personal unlocking sound instresting.

  • Alan

    and fix it in 4.4.4 lol

  • Jonathan Bratanata

    i’m pretty sure sony decided not to update the Smartwatch2 to Android Wear and stick with their own custom OS, they might launch another smartwatch running Android Wear, who knows.

  • Mahinthan So


    But I’m still waiting for kitkat.. My sad xzr in saudi..
    I wish all the mobile have water proof so i can have other choices.. Specially nexus

  • techielover

    Indeed Sony developers are superbly talented and very much capable of making this already awesome thing more awesome

  • Prateek Bhanushali

    But we will have the DNG format to play with it on our own ;)

  • Nkansah Rexford

    My only fear is that it likely will take a year for Sony to get the android L to z2 looking at how best they are in bringing updates to their flagship late.

  • Stanley08

    meanwhile Samsung will be working towards 30 FPS. Touchwiz :p

  • Stanley08

    Yep Art is better

  • kjmok

    Doesnt matter, coz by the time Android L is made ready and available by Sony, Android M will be announced by Google!

  • Tech Gospel

    I was loaned a X ZR by Sony while my X Z1C is being repaired. I updated to KitKat… REALLY bad power drain. Disabling Google Play Services works, but it also kills the Play Store, Hangouts, Google Keep, and my Calendar sync. Don’t update yet.

  • Carljn


  • Toon27

    I hope Sony leave this as stock as possible. I like stock Android and there’s some things I like less in Sony’s software like Icons and Dialer. I use Nova Launcher but this doesn’t fix the dialer and some menu changes. I’ll see how it looks and then decide on the next Nexus or not.

    Of course Sony improved some things, especially the camera.

  • Abdul Ghani

    if sony gives us then we will have it or we are screwed

  • Prateek Bhanushali

    Hope Sony adds that, or we have to lean toward the custom once !!!

  • Niels d. G.

    Well they brought android 4.4.4 to the Z1 sooner than any other OEM

  • Niels d. G.

    Did you try updating Google Play Services?

  • Niels d. G.

    I’m pretty sure there won’t be much left of this Material Design after Sony applied their skin on it. The bright, colorful, playful and almost child-like design is very opposite of Sony’s business-style design.

  • jhdevos

    I really hope they brought back text reflow in the browser / web frame.

    If not, I’m really not interested. I’ll stick with 4.1.

  • dante786

    Is there any chances that sony will release android L on xperia z series …..i mean xperia zl

  • nik

    I want transparent statusbar!!:(

  • Gong

    So you like the material design but not the stock ui. What am I missing here?

  • zeoxzy

    From my experience, the screen on a mobile phone is by far the biggest drain on a battery. Surely no amount of optimisation of the OS is going to make significant differences?!

  • Orbis

    Animation like VitaOS and I want PS unique elements like PS buttonso(circle, x, square, triangle) and PS sound port to Xperia phones as well, they’re Sony style.

  • Tech Gospel

    No update available on the service phone I was lent. Power drain only happens when I’m online. So disabling Wi-Fi and data also helps. I’ll be getting my z1 compact back soon so I’m not really bothered. But the 230 update did slow down my Tablet Z as well. So I’m hoping they get that sorted soon

  • lol

    i want android L on my Xperia L…

  • ishu

    I want sony to make next nexus !!

  • Ricardo Ca

    I hope Sony update z ultra and z1 to L.

  • Vamps

    Don`t forget Z2 :->

  • Ricardo Ca

    Z2 certainly will. No doubt about that.

  • Azam

    Want to xperience some Android L type themes on your existing xperia kitkat?? go here,

  • Nkansah Rexford

    I hope they do that for the z2 like that. By the way, I’ve moved to CM so will enjoy latest always.

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