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Is This the First “L” Android Version Appearance and a New Chrome App UI?

The crew over at reddit found an interesting set of screenshots in an Android related issue over at the Chromium bug tracker. Are you seeing the goodies in the image above? There are a couple of things that should immediately stand out. If not, there are more below.

Note:  Before I could even get this posted, Google removed the issue thread for this bug.

First, is that an “L” in the notification bar showing that the phone is plugged in with USB debugging enabled? If it is, then this would be the first time we are seeing a device running the “L” version of Android, which has not yet been announced by Google. If you’ll remember, Kit Kat devices showed a “K” or a key lime pie for USB debugging up until Android 4.4 was officially announced, which then caused the switch over to the Kit Kat bar icon. 

So is that an “L” icon? It’s so simple, that you really can’t tell. It could be an icon from another app that we just haven’t seen before. I’ll let you decide.

If that isn’t an “L,” which could be the case, then at least we have a potential new version of Chrome to talk about. As you can see, in the screenshot at the top of this post, along with the comparison shot below of the current Chrome Beta (right) to this potential new build (left), there are a number of differences. First, Chrome seems to be floating on the home screen, rather than being forced to be full-screen. You can see the background or wallpaper in the notification bar and on the sides of the Chrome browser. Is that happening because of this sign-in pop-up? All I know is that the current version of Chrome takes me to a sign-in page in Chrome when I click “Sign in,” it doesn’t pop-up a box like this while making Chrome appear to float.

All of that aside, there are some new UI elements going on here as well. The lock icon has changed in the URL bar, as has the action overflow or “menu” button next to the tab toggle. In the new action overflow button, we are seeing rounded dots, like we have in Google Play. The top navigation bar seems to be less dark to me as well, maybe lightened slightly.

new chrome l android

Finally, here is one last look at this build of Chrome on a tablet that appears to be running Kit Kat. You will notice it isn’t floating and the debugging icon has changed to the one found on Kit Kat. So what was that whole floating thing about? You got me.

Update:  In the screenshot showing Chrome on the “L” version of Android, Chrome is taking advantage of Android’s translucent navigation feature, which can’t be said on the tablet that is still running Kit Kat. Also, there is a new icon in the notification bar that looks a lot like the bell from Google+.


Interesting stuff indeed. Any thoughts? Anything we are missing?

Via:  reddit | Chromium
  • Razma

    TIL the debugging icon in kitkat looks like a package of kitkat bars

  • Jhan-Michael Lyons

    If no new version of android is announced and just minor visual tweaks… all I want is consistent colours throughout the UI. Blue or white (Pick ONE Google…) or allow for the customization of the interface accent colours. Just throw it under the display section of settings and I’ll be a happy camper. Also support for per app colours… OR allowing all apps to run under the nav and status bar. a la google now style with translucency. That would be epic.

  • stabone

    The 14 tabs they have open in Chrome stands out a bit.

  • eidylon

    One thing that has irked me to no end for ages now is the fact that even though the base Android UI supports both Holo and Holo Dark themes, and it is common for so many apps to implement light/dark versions, that Google refuses to do a Holo Dark version of any of their apps. There are times where light themes are WAY to bright, even on low settings, as well as the fact that Dark themes would save a lot of battery life for those of us on AMOLED screens. That’s the biggest improvement I would love to see Google make … by FAR! Provide Dark options for all the “native” Google apps.

  • Jes Marwaha

    No google button in the Navbar…

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  • cransr

    Its R.A,B, he stole the horcrux and we found him.

  • Daistaar

    Chrome widget?

  • n11

    Can we please have the battery icon contain the % number? I find a number far more useful then a vague 2/3 or 1/3 symbol.
    If I’m going to be excited for anything at IO, I want to see a the new L Android Version. Everything else is second for me.

  • Alex Siuda

    mr jiggles!

  • All of the changes I’ve been seeing lately (JB to KK as well) are pretty subtle but it’s just really becoming a beautiful OS. Even the change to round dots for the menu icon pictured is just a nice touch. So excited for IO!

  • I can’t control myself

  • Tobi De la Cuz

    Am I the only one that finally realized that the USB Debugging icon was a KitKat bar after reading this article?

    • Simon Belmont

      Probably not. I always thought it was the raft from The Legend of Zelda.

      See: http://www.lanceandeskimo.com/chefelf/zelda/raft.gif .

      • Tobi De la Cuz

        LMAO… don’t know why I never thought of that one.

        • Simon Belmont

          I’m Simon Belmont. I know these things.

          There are perks to being a hero in retro video games. Haha.

    • Razma

      totally didnt realize either

  • YEMan0443

    I just emailed Rab

  • Yogesh Laxman Raut

    Even if google launches android L, the wait of getting ota on your phone is more painful than the pain of waiting of the launch.

  • miri

    My best guess as to why the app is “floating” is that the status bar may be hidden by default. If you look at the leak with the redesigned nav bar (google button), the status bar was hidden there as well as swiping from the top shrunk the window into the app switching view and brought the status bar back similarly to how it looks here.
    Currently in Android if any part of the system UI is hidden and a dialog pops up, it brings the system UI back with a solid black background. Maybe shrinking the window will be how it works in the L release?

  • Yogesh Laxman Raut

    The bell icon looks like google now notification icon of chrome on mac.

  • Airframer

    Android Tetris?

  • me

    Android 5.0 Features I’d like to see:
    Get rid of the “photos” app – its double redundant. It does the same thing as the Google + App, and the Gallery App shows photos.

    Improve the call handling in the Dialer for calls on hold or 3-way calls. It’s clumsy and bad and always has been.

    Google Chrome and Google Android and Google Maps all kick ass!
    Google Plus and Google Now Suck Hairy Horse Dick.

    • miri

      1. Photos IS the photo manager for the G+ app as well as the main gallery.
      2. The AOSP gallery doesn’t come with “Google Experience” devices anymore so Photos isn’t redundant.

      • Jason Kahn

        I have the AOSP gallery app on my Nexus 5 ordered from the play store, so I’m confused?

        • miri

          The Nexus 5 was the last device to ship with it.

    • Stacey

      You will get your wish on Wed.
      L is a pretty extensive update FYI. Larger than the change to ICS even.

      • True Radiant Free

        Care to share any more? 🙂

  • JMonkeYJ

    “The top navigation bar seems to be less dark to me as well, maybe lightened slightly”
    I think that’s just because this is a window floating over the home screen. You’re seeing the top status bar with the device’s wallpaper behind it, which is a bluish color.

  • JoeTi

    Who do ya think they will partner with for this one? Ferrara Candy Company’s Lemonheads? Curious about this one….

    • True Radiant Free

      Hahaha aw yeah or Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts

  • jb

    blue accents are gone from the sign in screen…maybe they got rid of the rest of the blue in os??

    also the buttons at the bottom are more like the google now style (below)…hoping these will all be system wide changes. not much but makes a difference

    • NexusPhan

      I was going to post the exact same thing! Excellent catch

  • Godzilla

    Kellen, you are reading way too much into this. He simply has a tetris app running……..

  • Hayden7200

    What’s the deal with the software buttons on the first image? Why are they on the right side and with a black background as opposed to a clear background in the comparison picture?

    • Godzilla

      He rotated his phone……………

      • Jsilvermist

        Not what he meant lmao

        • Godzilla

          It happens during some reading apps on my nexus 7 when you rotate the tablet. It goes from black to clear and vise versa. Big woop

          • Hayden7200

            Interesting, I haven’t seen that before. But shouldn’t the buttons move to the bottom if the device is rotated?

          • Godzilla

            It should, it only happens when using certain apps on mine.

          • miri

            Only on tablets. On phones, the buttons are either on the bottom in portrait or on the right in landscape (either way).

    • Jsilvermist

      I didn’t notice that at first o_o

  • Godzilla

    Rab Himself?

  • Richard Giordano

    (Breaths heavily) as Google I/O 2014 approaches. android 4.5 or 5.0 or nah?

    • tylerc23


    • Lool


  • ROR1997

    Rab? So I guess the next version of a Android will be Kosher?

  • MH

    Get that hype fired up!

  • Rob

    “which then caused the switch over to the Kit Kat bar icon”

    Wait, that’s a Kit Kat? I always thought there was something wrong with my install and it was a corrupted icon.

    • Anoop Mathew

      I did not know that was a kit kat bar

  • David Foggia

    I think google should consider doing a public beta for the new android version the same way apple does it. You sign up for a $25 Dev account and you can load up the beta version either by side loading or gookle runs it automatically. I can’t wait for android 4.5 on my nexus

    • Andrew M.

      I’m pretty sure that would be illegal. You can’t charge for an open-source OS. GPL and all that.

      • David Foggia

        OK then minus the charge. Allow an invitation thing ror something PR make everyone be able to do it. I just really want to try the new versions!

      • Rob

        Go read the GPL. You know, the GPL that EXPLICITLY says you can charge?

      • StankyChikin

        People really should read the GPLv2 (Kernel) and the Apache License (Android).

        • Adrynalyne

          So many spout open source licensing in their arguments, but don’t realize they do not prevent companies from charging.

      • Adrynalyne

        Yes they can, as long as they provide the source code for the GPL components (which really isn’t much past the kernel).

  • Here comes Project Hera…

    • True Radiant Free

      Awwwwwwww yeah get hype

  • Michael swaim

    I say this will be Android 5.0

  • Andrew M.

    Is it me, or is the clock font different? The 5 looks….”bigger.” Like not quite as narrow. Maybe I’m nuts, but that looks like a different font to me…Also, FINALLY Immersive buttons in Chrome! It’s about damn time!

  • David Arroyo

    The silence icon up in the notification tray is also different.

    • Andrew M.

      I just noticed that. That sure as hell isn’t KitKat, looks like 4.5/5.0 to me.

    • cadtek91

      It’s the “Do Not Disturb” icon from Chrome. That’s the kind of integration we should be seeing.

      • Justin W

        It’s also similar to the notifications icon from G+. What’s his name? Belly?

        • Aooga

          lol Belly. It’s Mr. Jingles. Not sure which is funnier.

          • Chris Hannan

            I’m dying.

          • Justin W

            Lol, how could I forget! But yes, I really think they need to tie in their cross-platform products and design styles. Everything so different between Android’s Google Apps and the web version of those apps makes me think they aren’t aligned properly internally.

      • kashtrey

        THIS. According to the AP article, it’s supposed to activate a limited disruption mode that only allows certain apps to send the floating type notifications that were found by Cyanogen recently.

        • THIS is why the analysis on Droid-Life pales in comparison to most other Android blogs out there. AP really is the cream of the crop. All DL really does in their analysis is speculate with hardly any proof and expect their readers to do most of the work. It’s nice to see other editors connect the dots a bit more. I like DL’s WordPress layout better though :/

      • Googler

        Flipboards Icon looks extremely similar to an L as well

    • wollac11

      Nice spot! Looks like “Mr. Jingles” to me! (The Google+ notification bell that’s gradually being used across all Google products). I reckon this is a preview of Android 5.0.

  • Matthew DiGiacomo

    That chrome pop-up looks to be apart of Project Hera.

  • hormay

    Jumping straight to android 5.28, wow…

    • StrictlyGeeky

      lmao I guess so.

    • Haha, good one.

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