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Google previews Android L at I/O 2014

Google previews Android L

The main feature of Android L is obviously Material Design, which can expand between different screen sizes while still retaining the same consistent design. The Developer Preview code will be available later today for developers to begin exploring and working with.

Android L also brings more powerful notifications, including a combination of the notification shade and the lock screen. This allows for faster and easier access to notifications. There’s also a heads-up feature for when you’re using a full screen app. Heads-up can give you instant access to actions regarding the notifications.

Unlocking your phone with Android L is also a little more contextually aware. For instance, if it can detect your Android Wear smartwatch, it knows that you are the person trying to unlock the phone and so it won’t ask you to input a PIN or pattern unlock. If it doesn’t detect your watch, it will ask you for PIN/pattern code unlock.

ART is now the default runtime

We actually saw this coming, but it's now confirmed. ART brings twice the performance over the current runtime, Dalvik. It has been available as a preview for KitKat, but is becoming the default (and from what I can tell, only) runtime in the L release. It's more memory efficient, more flexible, and faster. Even older devices will benefit from this.

Better Graphics

They didn't actually talk about this a lot, but it was pointed out that NVIDIA, Qualcomm, ARM, and a few other partners have teamed up with Google to improve everything graphics related.

Improved Battery Life

This one is huge. The L release is bringing major changes to how Android manages battery life called Project Volta. There aren't a whole lot of user-facing details at this time, as most of these changes seem to be very developer-centric. What we do know, however, is that Android will now have a native battery saver, though it appears to be pretty basic. There are a lot more under-the-hood changes also going on here, which we'll take a look at more in-depth as more information becomes available.

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