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Android “L” Preview Hands-on

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.


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


  • 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

    $9­­­­­­­­­7­­­­­­­­­/­­­­­­­­­h­­­­­­­­­r­­­­­­­­­ ­­­­­­­­­p­­­­­­­­­av­­­­­­­­­iv­­­­­­­­­d­­­­­­­­­v­­­­­­­­­ b­­­­­­­­­y G­­­­­­­­­oog­­­­­­­­­le­­­­­­­­­, I­­­­­­­­­ am ­­­­­­­­­making ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­good ­­­­­­­­­salary ­­­­­­­­­from ­­­­­­­­­home ­­­­­­­­­$5500­­­­­­­­­-­­­­­­­­­$7000/week ­­­­­­­­­, ­­­­­­­­­which ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­amazing, ­­­­­­­­­under ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­year ­­­­­­­­­ago ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­jobless in ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­horrible ­­­­­­­­­economy. ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­thank ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­God ­­­­­­­­­every ­­­­­­­­­day ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­blessed ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­these ­­­­­­­­­instructions ­­­­­­­­­and ­­­­­­­­­now ­­­­­­­­­it’s ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­my ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­duty ­­­­­­­­­to ­­­­­­­­­pay ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­forward ­­­­­­­­­and ­­­­­­­­­share ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­Everyone, ­­­­­­­­­Here ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­started,,,­­­­­­­­­


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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.

  • EmilieGeorgeulf

    as Thelma
    explained I cannot believe that a stay at home mom can make $7420 in four weeks
    on the internet . more info here R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

  • 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.


    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?

  • ozo012

    We’ll have to see if Scamsung still decides to skin the interface so disgustingly that it still looks like Gingerbread 2.3

    • Joe J

      lol do you use samsung to release your daily haterade?

      • Allen Byrd

        it’s understandable though because Samsung is bad

        • Brian

          On the contrary, some of us who are used to Touch Wiz find stock Android sparse and totally boring. Each to their own.

          • Joe J

            Exactly ! Stock android lacks alot of features that are actually useful. Stock was king before 4.2 but now I actually prefer the lg g3 over stock

    • Brian

      Stock Android looks totally boring compared to Samsung’s skinned version. I have an opinion too, just as you do!

      • Joe J

        Stock android lacks alot of innovative features that i cant live without. Like double tap to wake

    • I wish Google would do to the OS what they’re doing to Android Wear, Auto and TV and prevent OEM’s from customizing the look of Android. They could force OEM’s and carriers into this by making it a requirement to obtain Play Services.

      I’m pretty sure they’re leaning that way. I don’t think it will happen in the fall, but most likely with the next update. It’s really the only thing still standing in the way of killing off fragmentation.

  • Duncan Manning

    Do some homework on the easter egg. Webdriver Torso

  • Ali-Jacob Ishaque

    What most people seem to be forgetting is that this is an EARLY developers PREVIEW. So of course some things won’t be working and not everything is finalized. Just my 2 cents since a lot of these comments are about things not working and such.

    • Mitch Joa

      A developer preview should be pretty much working in my opinion. Just because it’s a preview doesn’t mean you can launch without features. We should expect more bugs than usual, but nothing bordering on unusability as far as core apps are concerned.

      • StankyChikin

        A developer preview should have enough working for developers to test their apps.. Anything else is a bonus.

      • DonEmu

        A developer preview just has to be stable enough for developers to test out their apps and make the core changes needed for the official release. A developer preview is never meant to be pretty much working, it isn’t even a beta, it’s a pre-beta (alpha) of the software.

        It isn’t even recommended to be used as a day to day phone.

  • Bob Omb

    Are the new location based security settings working?

    • Litso

      Haven’t seen anything related to it yet.

  • slider112

    New modem huh? .8?

  • Litso

    Anyone able to get Google Now working? Every time I try to open the Google app it gives me a network error (tried on LTE & WiFi)

  • ilovetechnology

    Recents is a step back in usability, although it looks cooler.

    • Joe J

      Some people don’t like it but the lg g3 recents is my favorite

      • ilovetechnology

        Yea, I like the zoomed out view where you can see 9 screens at once, that’s very useful.

        • Joe J

          It’s really nice. you can pinch and expand to see 9 screen 4 screens or 2 screens. Work flawlessly and in one glance you can see all your windows. Loving it unlike the L where you have to scroll and waste so much time. I have the nexus 5 also with the android l preview and i’m not as impressed as so many

  • reyalP

    What is it with the super sized icons and nav buttons? I didn’t realize that they were catering to the senior citizens with the new os. Nav buttons remind me of playstation remote.

    • Joe J

      Simple is the new smart for a society that is getting stupider

  • Joshua Rewerts

    When you take a call, do you need to hit the dialer button twice to get the thing to open? 4.4.3 on my M7 GPE with google voice is frustrating because I need to panic press it every time in order to hit 1 to take the call!

  • tylerc23

    I’m not feeling the new Multitask design. Way to much scrolling to go through everything. The HTC Sense design is a lot better because you can see everything very clearly. I don’t get why Google doesn’t do something like that. I do like that they are doing what HTC was doing with the Lock Screen notifications and made it eve better

    • jbdan

      Could be tweaked in the coming weeks

      • tylerc23

        Probably. Hopefully. The thing that worries me is that it is the same as the leak that showed the exact same thing a few months back. Luckily, HTC won’t change that

    • Joshua Rewerts

      Can you flick it to make it skim through the list fast? If that’s the case I’m not too worried. Also, when you swipe away a browser tab, does it close that tab, or just your ability to see it in the recent apps?

  • mikewilson1021

    I haven’t downloaded the .tgz file yet. Will I have to unlock and flash a new bootloader, or can I just flash the new .zip file without unlocking with adb?

  • br_hermon

    Can you long press on the pulldown notifications and the tiles in the Recents menu? Just wondering if we can expect the same or different functionality there.

  • Knlegend1

    Looks cool

  • Christopher Robert

    Holy white background…. :-/ Hopefully this will be themed ASAP that white background looks like SH*T

    • jbdan

      There will be A LOT of people that feel this way. I’m on the other boat though and welcome the white background changes. Easier to see and read in bright ambient light conditions

      • Joshua Rewerts

        I wonder if they’ll ever get around to their own theme capability without having to use someone’s ROM for it

        • jbdan

          I would welcome that!!

  • Nayners

    Flashing on my “razor” as we speak. No way I’d flash on my daily driver (n5). Way too early for that. Looks sweet though…

  • Michael

    So far it seems like there isn’t much of a reason to install this until the apps have been updated.

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      I’m with you on this one. What was your favorite tidbit of i/o? (surprised theres not a poll yet)

      • Michael

        My favorite part was the new design standards.

    • Blue Sun

      Previews are not intended to be dailies. I’d give it a few weeks/months.

      • Michael

        Agreed, I just meant there isn’t much to see. It’s basically 4.4 with a little new styling and some of the new features, most of which I won’t use.

        • Blue Sun

          I sorta feel the same way. I’m still on the fence with how multitasking is displayed. I’ve decided to hold out for 1 or 2 previews before installing it. I am curious to explore BT proximity security locking methods.

  • That1Guy
  • JBartcaps

    Search in settings is awesome, but something I will never use

  • Buddy Friedel

    I’m having withdrawals from no DL show, so, glad to finally see this from you guys!

  • Orion

    I’m loving the new look so far.

  • sski66

    As far as the new Lockscreen I wonder if that will affect my Dashclock Widgets because I’m happy with the way mine is set up.Does it mean we won’t need Dashclock anymore, does the new google make Dashclock lock screen widgets obsolete ?

  • Peter Blanco

    Version Number, go into settings and see what it says, if anything?

    • People have been saying it just says L. no number yet

  • MahmoodBH

    Response time still slow, look at the video when he opening play store

  • Curtis


  • Matthew Blank

    Some new things I found,

    Lockscreen you can now swipe left to phone, Swipe right to Camera

    Lockscreen now tells you time till charged.

    Battery Graph now shows your estimated time to charge (and graphs it for you)

    Cast screen appears when you are on the same WiFi as one but always seems to fail.

    When you mute your notifications it will notify you that x amount of notifications have been silenced tap here to see them.

    These are just a few.

    Edit 1: Fenix is working great, BaconReader crashes every time seems some apps need to be updated.

    • thanks for the list! Have the s4 so I’m excited to see what all everyone will find out

    • jbdan

      They’ve had white and blue holo, but material color scheme would be new

    • Matthew Blank

      Some screenshots also.

    • James

      Nice! thanks

    • chasoo

      The new multitasking layout and notification center :drool:

    • grumpyfuzz

      Can you add lockscreen widgets? I can’t find the setting for them, also, does dragging up on the multitask or back button bring up google now?

      • Matthew Blank

        No you can only get to Google Now via dragging up the Circle home in the middle or the Google Now launcher.

        Cannot seem to add lock-screen widgets either.

    • AdrijaHodkinsonnyc

      Uncle Evan recently got a nearly new white Toyota Land Cruiser by parttime
      working online at home… browse around this website


    • guy11

      thanks! can you please share screenshots of the different keyboard themes.

    • Mike

      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?

    • AdrijaHodkinsonnyc

      . I see what you mean… Robin `s comment is really cool, I just got a top of
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    • BeverlyHeathfieldmvb

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    • SherriCloseoue

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  • Emilio S.

    Google keyboard has three themes under advanced settings. Material, white and blue.

    • screenshots asap!!

    • JSo

      I read they were just for the gesture trail. But I havent installed it yet so I dont know.

    • landon

      I wish the keyboard was adaptive based on what holo theme you are using. Like a white keyboard for chrome, and black for clock etc.

  • Those icon colors in settings are vomit inducing ugly. Same as latest TuneIn Radio.

    • Android_09


  • Towelroot? haha
    I just want that keyboard apk to see if it somehow works on 4.4.2

  • I like the 4.4 on screen buttons so much more

    • mustbepbs

      I quite like the redesign.

    • Raf

      I’m not sure I like them more but these ones aren’t great.
      At least the original ones were more obvious. A single square doesn’t convey multiple apps well at all.

      • Exactly. The current setup with the back arrow, picture of a house, and multiple windows overlayed make a lot more sense than a triangle, circle, and square. It’s like Google said “We have to do something for it to look different, so lets make the notification icons smaller and spaced further apart and change the nav buttons”

        • grumpyfuzz

          the notification icons aren’t spaced further apart or smaller than the ones on kitkat.

        • UpUpDownDown

          It’s like they copied the Sony Playstation buttons to me

    • jbdan

      I’m with you as well. The new nav bar icons do not look cohesive to the rest of the UI (imo). But they might change them before it’s stable, I’d bet they do

    • tylerc23

      I think it’ll change slightly. Hopefully HTC keeps what they got going on with the M8

    • epps720

      Apple has already filed a lawsuit against Google for the circular home button

  • Raf

    I don’t think I like the antiseptic blue, hope they change it into something more vibrant. Cool opening animations though.

  • Jason

    Anyway the new keyboard will be ported?

  • Ian Woloschin

    Anyone else having trouble getting it to boot after flashing? My Nexus 5 is just sitting at the “Google” screen now after running the flash-all.sh script.

    • ITGuy11

      My N7 has been at the boot animation for almost 10 minutes…

      • Ian Woloschin

        Ah…it seems I was using an old version of fastboot…make sure you’ve got the latest and greatest? I’m sitting at the boot animation now, but that makes sense. That’s always taken longer than normal on a brand new image.

    • ITGuy11

      Never-mind, it finally finished booting!

    • The ART might take awhile to install first time

  • Wall Breaker


    Love the Lockscreen and Drop Down Notifications.

    • sc0rch3d

      black text on white screen for settings? ick, eye sore

      • jbdan

        It’s much more legible that way in sunlight. I like dark background with white text as well, but outside, the opposite allows for easier viewing in very bright ambient light

  • Guy Pierce

    Looks awesome.

  • jim

    give it a name , ” L ‘ just sounds stupid

  • Nick

    Not much to be said. It’s not completely smooth and not a lot has changed besides what we’ve already seen. Super exciting though

  • Guest

    I love the New Lockscreen.

  • jonzey231

    Seems like we still need the new Chromecast app from Google Play to mirror our screen 🙁

  • Wall Breaker

    Icons were different in the I/O preview.

    Wonder if if that means they haven’t finalized the Icon design.

  • Kyle

    Whats the icon in the top right when you pull down the notification bar? It looks like a contact icon

    • It will end up being your photo

      • Kyle

        Does it do anything though? take you into google account settings or something?

  • Alan Ford

    is this good for a daily driver?

    • Tough to tell yet. Seems Ok, little lag here and there. Developer early, but everything seems to work. Putting SIM cards in shortly.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    So far to go with deveopment. The Google apps aren’t updated. I mean. This is pretty early though obviously.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    I’m hearing chrome recents don’t work. Suppose chrome needs an update. Can’t wait for other apps to use the API.

  • CCN4

    Works pretty well for me. Seems to be smooth and so far the only two issues I’ve come across are saying “Navigate Home” doesn’t seem to correctly launch navigation to my house and when I restarted my phone after installing everything it seems there’s a conflict with something LightFlow is doing that caused the phone to crash a few times before it finally started successfully.

  • JWil

    Tim, any chance of extracting that wallpaper? 🙂

  • Daniel Ogilvie

    I was hoping we would get some of the new gapps they demoed yesterday. I guess those will roll out with the official release?

    Also, on the 2013 N7, I’m not seeing transparency on the homescreen like you have in the picture above.

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      they said the dialer is first and the rest will come in the coming months leading up to release.

  • Derek Duncan

    flashing and rebooting now

    • Duckie1217

      You have a zip?

      • Derek Duncan

        just use the image

        • Duckie1217

          Was gonna. I’ll just wait. Don’t want to lose TWRP.

      • Android_09

        naw bruh just sold my last one.

  • Larry Simpson


  • JWil

    no comments yet; everyone’s flashing apparently.

    • Nathan Borup

      I already have it. Pretty cool looking, but not all that much different other than the looks. Its still android 😛

      • Android_09

        “it’s still android” is a good thing though.

  • KleenDroid