Google's next version of Android 'L-release' has a new look, deeper ties to the web

Having watched the Google I/O Keynote today live, I’ve much to report in the world of Android. I’ve also included links to expanded articles on each of the areas I briefly cover.

So what’s the story? Well, rather than waiting until the summer, we’re being introduced to the next version of Android now. The “L-Release,” as its being called for now, will be available as a developer preview as early as tonight. The design has been refreshed using what Google calls “Material” – an interesting take on shadows, layers, motion and depth. It’s also optimized for multiple screen and device types. Making use of “Polymer” they’ll be able to transition between devices and screens as well. Everything from elements to action is more life-like. You’ve got contextualized scrolling, scaling, exit and entry animation – all at 60fps.

There’s also newly enhanced notifications that don’t stop you from what you’re doing and that can be swiped away. They’re also more integrated into the homescreen, a la Active Display. Speaking of lock screens, Android now has authentication and uses context like phones to determine if it’s owner is unlocking it.

The mobile web is much more deeply tied to the system as well and plays very nicely with ChromeOS as well. Again, every transition and action is smoother and integrated. 5,000 new APIs have been introduced and more searching and history is available to apps.

Android Run Time (ART) is the new default – goodbye Dalvik. It’s apparently twice as fast and does better garbage collection, memory management and more. It’s also 64-bit. The mobile GPU is catching up to the desktop and console – the demo showed a video game being played on the phone with impressive tessellation, graphics and more.

Android is now even more battery-friendly and has saver modes baked-in for manual or automatic use. BYOD is now baked in with more data separation for enterprise ads well as factory reset protection.

Android Wear is now in full effect, and devices like the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live can already be ordered from Google Play. The LG watch is packing as much power as a smartphone already!

Stay tuned for more or check out these links for details: