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Google Talks Android L Preview Features, Can’t Promise Updates Though

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On Friday, the Android team’s Rich Hyndman took to the Google Developer YouTube channel to run through some of the new features introduced in the Android L developer preview. Most of this stuff we covered in a series of Android L feature posts, but for developers, the clip was a good refresher for the new goodies that can be taken advantage of. Rich talks everything from notifications to the new camera API to Material Design to the devices that the L preview is available on

Developer Michael Panzer saw this video over the weekend, shared it to his G+ timeline, and asked Hyndman if we could expect to see updates to the L preview at some point before the release is made stable to the public. Rich actually responded, noting that “They’ll be some extras coming, like the 64bit emulator. But I don’t believe new device images are coming.” He later continued on, saying that the Android L “preview release is primarily for developers to be able to test their apps and get them ready for the L launch. It is the first time we’ve had a preview release and it will mean less chance of issues with apps in the Play Store at launch and more apps ready to take advantage of the new features.”

While we love this move by Google to release a preview of the next version of Android months ahead of time, you can imagine that this news is unfortunate for developers who are experiencing bugs with the preview that are affecting the way they develop apps. Apple releases multiple versions of its iOS beta builds before it reaches stable, so you would think that Google could do something similar. Then again, Google often does things their own way.

I personally would love to see new preview builds, but that’s because I just love Android. From a developers perspective, especially if they want their apps working flawlessly come the Android L launch, it would make a lot of sense for Google to consider it.

Via:  +Michael Panzer | Smartdroid
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  • Simon Belmont

    I can sort of understand that approach. Having multiple releases could make regression testing for developers more difficult because they would have to spend more time determining if it was their own code causing problems or changes to the L release codebase.

    That said, the inner Android firmware nerd in me would have loved to have multiple releases to play around with (see progress, new features added, etc). Oh, well, can’t wait for the final release, because I’m sure there’s a TON of cool new stuff that we don’t know about yet.

  • Emmanuel

    I watched the entire video from Google Developers about Project Volta….I have to say I was quite a bit disappointed…. just a little bit… as a consumer I assumed these battery saving improvements are fully automatic system wide…. unfortunately from what I understand, Project Volta is more about providing tools and APIs for devs to manage their battery consumption…. battery savings will still mostly depend on the developer… I just hope that devs will fully take advantage of project volta.

  • Blue Sun

    I really liked L. I had very few app compatibility issues so it was fine for a daily driver. I wasn’t able to download MMS text images (not sure if this was L Preview related), but I decided to roll back to 4.4.4 yesterday. I miss a lot of the new features already. Fall can’t come soon enough.

    • mikewilson1021

      I had to roll back to 4.4.4 as well because of the MMS texts not coming in as well as some apps crashing every time I opened them, specifically Netflix. It looks AMAZING, just not quite ready to be my daily driver.

      • whyislebrongoingbacktoclevelan

        It’s not meant to be a “daily driver” for anyone at this point…it’s a preview…

        • mikewilson1021

          Which is why I said “not quite ready”, derp.

  • blix247

    Might not need a new image, they could always go OTA updates if they wanted.

  • jamdev12

    Yeah… About that camera api. Seems it’s broken the camera app to the point that it’s unusable. Oh and did I say the battery life on this preview is dismal at best? Don’t get me wrong, I like what Google is doing and I like the navigation of background apps, battery saving feature, which doesn’t save much battery anyways. But then again it is alpha so what more can I expect.

    • Jarred Sutherland

      Battery life for me was dismal running 4.4.x due to the frequency at which Google loves to toy with play services. My battery can be best described as “random” at any given time.

      • Simon Belmont

        I had major problems with Android 4.4.3 and battery life inconsistency, on my N5. Android 4.4.4. seems to have smoothed that out for the most part.

        I’m back to getting the battery life that I was prior to Android 4.4.3 (and it’s actually a bit better, really). But, I agree, that I bet Google Play Services played a big role in that, too.

  • markgbe

    i dont think much needs updating. Possibly one bugfix update between now and the actual release in fall would suffice.

  • Bryan Mills

    I’ll wait for a full release.

    • Same. I don’t want previews, themes, roms or anything but a fully stable Google release.

    • Fatty Bunter

      Agreements are in order.

  • JSo

    “But I don’t BELIEVE new device images are coming.”

    So you’re telling me there’s a chance.

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    • Google knows it would be stupendous to not release an update to the preview build for developers. That would be shooting themselves in the foot and screwing up the launch of, what most people would consider, a significant upgrade of the Android OS. I think Rich Hyndman didn’t want to give anything away, so, he played it safe and said what he “believes”.

      What I like to believe is that Google is smart enough to recognize how many developers would be pissed off by them if an update to the preview version isn’t released so developers can iron out any major bugs prior to official launch.

      • Doebs

        I don’t think you know what stupdenous means

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        • Ah, damn it! I do and I wanted to write stupid but completely forgot to correct it. But you get a vote up for calling me out… :-/

  • NorCalGuy

    In othere words “Coming Soon…”

  • Phil

    Yes I read that as “Google Talk Android L Preview” got my hopes up for nothing lol

  • Jem

    For a second there I thought this was about Google Talk. I was quite confused.