Google releases Android L preview source for Nexus devices

Google releases Android L preview source for Nexus devices

Summary: Android L source code has hit the Android Open Source Project.

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Google has published some of the source code for the Android L developer preview, giving devs a bigger taste of what's in store for its successor to KitKat.

Google has published Android L code on Android Open Source Project for the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (all versions between 2012 and 2013), and the Nexus 10.

The move expands on last week's release of Android L firmware for developers to begin flashing the new OS to Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 wi-fi 2013 edition devices.

Developers have been poking around in the new system ever since, exploring some of the significant changes Google announced at its recent I/O conference, such as Material Design, Android's new user interface scheme that redesigns how it displays notifications, settings, the lock screen, and navigation bar. It's also introducing the cards concept from Google Now to Android apps for displaying key information.

It's still only a week or so since Google announced Android L, and while the company is going to lengths to showcase the new OS to developers, Google hasn't released everything just yet. As Android Police notes, the code doesn't include binary packages or kernel source, which means that stock AOSP builds — such as those used by custom ROM developers — won't be possible yet.

However, the list of hardware the source code has been released for is being taken as solid evidence that at least these recent Nexus devices will receive Android L when it's released, expected to be this autumn.

While it's too early to say which non-Nexus devices will get Android L, a leaked HTC road map suggests it is on the cards for the company's flagship HTC One M8 and M7.

One of the most anticipated features that Android L is said to bring comes in the form Google's power-saving plan for Android devices, called Project Volta, also flagged at I/O.

Battery life is a concern for everyone with a smartphone, and Google's answer to the problem is Battery Saver mode and a new Battery Historian UI. Similar to Samsung's S5 ultra power saving mode, Battery Saver winds down background and screen processes to conserve charge. A test run of what's available in the preview firmware by Ars Technica suggests Volta could deliver around 30 percent more battery life.

The other big change is the move from the Dalvik to the 64-bit ART runtime, which Google promises will double performance, and with improved efficiency, should lighten the load on the battery.

Read more on Android L

Topics: Mobility, Android, Mobile OS, Smartphones

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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2 comments
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  • Interesting

    Looks like a good upgrade all in all. I'd be looking for updates / improvement in OK Google... if I still did Android Phones. I've upgraded to WinPhone
    Crashin Chris
    • Good stuff

      From what i've seen of Android L, it will be a nice upgrade. Speaking of, @Crashin Chris, I think you meant "downgrade to WinPhone". ;-)
      Megaflop666