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Android “L” Preview Hands-on

Android L - 3

The Android “L” preview is now live for all to try, as long as you own a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 WiFi (2013). After flashing the system images to the Nexus 5, then spending 10 minutes with it, we have gone ahead and posted up a hands-on video to show all of you what to expect upon a broader release of the software. 

From what we know so far, this is a very early preview build, just as Google stated at yesterday’s keynote. With that said, while the Settings menu, lockscreen, notification tray, navigation bar, keyboard, and dialer app have been completely re-skinned, you won’t find too much else going on.

So far, the system does feel very smooth, but until we throw on our daily-used apps and start putting it through the paces, it’s hard to give a complete assessment of Android “L.”

Check out our hands-on video below. If you have any questions about Android “L,” drop them below in the comments section. Better yet, do you own a Nexus 5? Have you flashed it yet? Tell us your thoughts so far.

Gallery

Android L - 1 Android L - 5 Android L - 8 Android L - 7 Android L - 2

Video

  • Patrick Crumpler

    Looking forward to how great the new Material Design looks on my G3. Currently some apps the buttons and layers seem to float over the screen. Texture is amazing.

  • james anderson

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  • Jason Brown

    wow browsing around the phone seemed to be really smooth and fast. im not sure if its the new os or if its due to the hardware on the n5. i cant wait to upgrade from my sluggish gnex.

  • Specter597

    White Dialer w/ Blue letters = hard to read in the direct sunlight and impossible for visually challenged individuals.

    Is there a system wide Holo Dark / Holo Light setting?

    I like the direction they are heading with minimal UI styling but the lack of button outlines makes it feel very “iOS 7″
    I kind of liked how ICS and KK kept Android feeling like Android.

  • Welcome to Life

    There is already probably hundreds of times the amount of text generated versus code written on one smartphone platform release, and the masses are in the street in excitement. We will here it all. How it will change the world, the complaints by those who installed it prematurely and can’t get apps to run, those who hate Android, those who feel compelled to compare it to iOS, when will it come out, which devices will have it first, and articles that exclaim, “Android L – What you need to know!”… and the list goes on and on and on…and one. Here’s an idea. Put down the phone and go outside and interfact with some people and get some fresh air. Chances are, if you’re like me and reading this nonsense, you probably need it.

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  • Carl Dunning

    Just flashed my Nexus 7 and so far I’m loving it however Facebook App has a pretty huge bug making it unusable and a few TV apps I use say Device Not Supported despite working fine on KitKat.

    Anybody know if Google will be releasing OTA updates as they make changes to Android L?

  • green_dolores

    uptil I
    saw the paycheck of $8340 , I be certain that my neighbours mother woz
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  • Michael

    Have you noticed a bug where the notification (while screen is unlocked) don’t scroll in the top bar or give you heads-up feature?

  • Mike

    Have you noticed a bug where the notifications (while screen is unlocked) don’t scroll in the top bar or give you heads-up feature?

  • BoFiS

    The loss of lock screen widgets is VERY UNFORTUNATE as presently I have more information showing up on my lock screen, in a color-themed, pretty way than you can get just by duplicating notifications there. Like what about weather and calendar events? I have an awesome month-view Business Calendar lock screen widget one screen to the left, and use it constantly. I really hope there are more options for customizing the lock screen to even maybe allow for widgets instead of just the ugly list of notifications you get from the pulldown anyway.

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Steve B

      Cool story bro.

      I actually think they’ll add lock screen widgets back in before final release. As I’m sure you know, there seems to be a ton missing in the preview and it’s pretty rough around the edges.

  • Michael Harrison

    Facebook doesn’t play nice. The comments windows have no background.

  • DJ SPY

    That is one UGLY skin. It’s like LG’s skin and Touchwiz had the ugliest child ever. Nasty.

  • FortitudineVincimus

    I’ll take a 64 bit Android with L please. Might hold out to upgrade until years end as I am off contract in like a week.

  • kishan

    L for Lackluster.

  • RC

    Looks like Galley is officially gone. Only Photos on my N7.

    • True Radiant Free

      Yes! I just hope they make Photos open up to Albums on default instead of all, which is really pointless

  • droidrazredge

    A couple of things I’m noticing right off the back is Google is really trying to make stock android look aestheticcally pleasing as some of the launcehrs like Nova, Themer, Launheer Pro, Go Launcher Ex etc look. It also looks like they incorporated some Dashclock extensions into the stock lock screen which brings a new look to the notification area. The new dialer looks pretty sweet with the teal and lime green colors throughout. I think the re-skinned UI of the settings from the black and white to to new color scheme of teal and white make it easier to read. The change I like the most is the change from a 2-D mutltask to a 3-D looking multitask similar to how the new chrome tabs look that they showed at Google I/O makes it easier to scroll through and preview what you have. I’m really like the way Google is going with Android L and some of the new changes to the volume, device / battery information, and settings are really cool. It’s going to feel weird using stock android because it looks and behaves just as good as third party launchers

    • Allen Byrd

      I’ll probably still be using Nova with the Banded icon pack (or Xposed GEL) but it is starting to become more of a complete package. I’m really enjoying watching the evolution and expansion of Android.
      The only qualm I have with any of this is the recent apps drawer which might get somewhat cluttered at times, but it looks really nice. Maybe the new navigation buttons, but I can always replace those.
      RIP Holo, worthy successor incoming.

      • HarvesterX

        Those new translucent icons are tight. the1Lucent is the name of the icon pack. Best dollar or two I’ve spent in a long time.

  • OKTosin

    Dont like the new multitasking screen. More aesthetic than functional.

    • OhYeah!

      Yeah now you can really only see the active app on top which we already know what app we are in. The old style provided a lot more info at first glance.

    • LSH99

      I think this is my main disappointment as well. I get that it is more consistent with the rest of the card motif, but now I just think they’re overdoing it. The old/current multitasking screen is crisp and clear. The “L” version is cluttered and messy.

  • trixnkix637

    Out of curiousity.. Can you use this developer build as a daily driver if you wanted to? Or does it not connect to a network yet because it’s a preview build, hence the need for Wi-Fi? The answer will help determine my desire to switch to T-Mo for a N5. Thanks ahead of time!

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Steve B

      Everything I tested at the base level of the OS worked. Wifi, bluetooth, calling, texting, you name it, it worked.

      The problems come from third party apps that (understandably) haven’t been updated for L yet.

      Can it be used as a daily driver? Absolutely, but just know that some apps don’t play nice with L yet. Also, some people have had issues with texting, but this can be fixed with the correct APN settings.

      I personally ran it for about 2 full days and went back to 4.4.4. For me, (on T-Mobile) battery was absolutely terrible and far too many of my daily apps didn’t work properly. Just be aware, your mileage may vary at this point.

  • Nicholas Polydor

    Interesting that the Linux kernel version is still 3.4.0.

    @Timotato:disqus , @kellex:disqus and your colleagues: when you do your analyses, please can you see if any of the Android Auto interface has been implemented already, and if so, whether it can be initiated on the phone’s screen – whether by a charging action (preferably Qi wireless) or NFC tag. I’d like to place a Nexus 5 into a Qi car dock to open the Android Auto interface but can stick a programmed NFC tag on the dock if necessary.

  • DWXDX

    I wish Google would just make the recent apps and the notification shade replaceable like they did the launcher. If there’s a reason they can’t then eh.

    And this is a developer preview, not for the average consumer. If you dont know how to flash it, you likely shouldn’t be using it.

  • Johnny Steele

    I absolutely love this so far. I need to get this on my Tablet somehow.

  • Joe J

    Wif bluetooth toggles are annoyingly small. recents menu is going backwards .

  • h_f_m

    I might have missed it, but are they planning on OTA updating the preview?

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Steve B

      Nobody knows.