In a surprise move by Google, the company revealed its plans for the next version of Android. It’s currently called L Developer Preview, and it includes more than 5,000 new APIs. “We wanted to take a radical new approach to design,” Google’s Android head Sundar Pichai said.
One aspect of Android L, material design, focuses on depth and “digital material” to expand and reform intelligently, the company said.”As part of the L Preview, we’ll now allow developers to specify an elevation value,” Google said, noting that the framework will add virtual light sources and real-time shadows.
Apps can be developed to work easily across all screens, “from your watch, to your laptop, to your television,” Google said. The new APIs include rich, animated touch feedback. Also, all animations on screen will change in a way that “makes sense,” and developers can create animations between apps and activities. In Gmail, for example, there’s a new typography, new animations, and a seamless experience across different screen sizes. With Polymer and the L Preview, developers can also create apps for the Web.
Google also has a new set of style guidelines for best practices and consistent looking apps, The rules will have a home at google.com/design.
Some other tweaks include a brand new phone dialer, which has a ripple touch effect when you touch each tab. The dialer button has a different elevation that makes it look like it’s floating above the user interface. The ripple touch effect animations also appear as you tap each number to dial.
Notifications are changed, too. Notifications are enhanced with new, rich features, and there are new “heads-up notifications,” that let you peek at a notification as you’re doing something, like gaming, and then swipe it away really quick. It also has smart features for authentication. So, if you have an Android Wear smartwatch and it’s nearby, it won’t lock the device.
There’s a new keyboard UI, a do-not-disturb mode, and more. Images of the early developer preview will be available for developers who own a Nexus 5 and/or Nexus 7 tomorrow.
Google only showed a sneak peek at Android L, and you can see some of the features down below.