Top notifications, thank goodness

Google announces Android 5.0 “L” with new design, features




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Google has just announced an entirely new version of Android, Android 5.0, which the company has taken to calling Android “L” (looks like they couldn’t think of a dessert theme for the release). The new version of Android is a radical change from the previous 4.0 releases, with an entirely new user interface, some big new features – particularly when it comes to notifications and security – and an updated suite of built in applications.

Android 5.0 picks up Google’s “Material Design” design language for Android, Chrome, and the web” Material Design” language, also announced today, which brings along big, colorful, and minimalistic design to the platform, as well as some subtle but great looking new animations. All of Google’s built in applications have adapted the new design, including Google’s mobile web applications when accessed through the company’s Chrome browser.

The company has also significantly improved notifications with Android 5.0, borrowing some of the best things about notifications from Apple’s mobile platform, iOS. Recent now appear stacked on the lock screen to make updates easily apparent the second you unlock your phone.

New notifications also pop up on top of whatever application you’re running when your phone is unlocked on Android 5.0, exactly like how notifications have worked on iOS for some time now. Google says this is particularly handy for important notifications, so it’s unclear at this point if this new notification style is exclusively for these high level type of notifications or all notifications.

Performance on Android L has also been significantly improved, with Google switching to what Google’s calling the “ART” runtime . Essentially, this will make all applications a great degree faster – sometimes over twice as fast. Because of ART, Android L is more energy efficient, memory efficient, and fully 64-bit compatible – only the second major mobile platform to become so following Apple’s iOS 7 platform.

GPU performance has also seen some love, with Google saying Android L on high end smartphones “closes the gap” between Microsoft’s best in class DirectX 11 desktop and console graphics rendering engine, making mobile games more beautiful, immersive, and – well – nicer to look at.

If all of this sounds as awesome to you as it does to me, and you’ve got a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 (2013) device, there’s some even better news. Google will tomorrow begin providing the Android 5.0 “L” Developer Preview, allowing brave developers and testers to upgrade to a pre-release version of Android 5.0 before the final release.