We knew it was coming. It had to be. Every one of the last half-dozen or so major builds of Android has gotten a sweetly-themed name — and yet, Google had referred to Android 5.0 as nothing but “L” ever since its debut back at Google I/O.
It’s now official: Android 5.0 will be called Android Lollipop.
Google just broke the name amidst details of the shiny (and massive) new Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 tablet.
So what’s new in Android L — er, Lollipop?
The biggest, most obvious change is the shift to “Material Design”, a design language drummed up by Android’s UX Director Matias Duarte. Like the shift from iOS 6 to iOS 7, it might be a bit confusing at first — but expect all of Google’s apps, and third-party stuff shortly thereafter, to conform to the new look. We went deep on the thinking behind Material Design here.
- A new notifications system that appears on the lockscreen, with smart filters to limit notifications at certain times
- 5,000+ new APIs for developers to tap
- Google’s new system run time, ART, is officially replacing DALVIK after a preview of the system in KitKat. The new run time compiles apps more efficiently, which should improve overall system performance
- A battery management system (once referred to as “Project Volta”) that Google says can extend your battery by up to 90 minutes.
- After proving useful on Android tablets, support for multiple separate users on one device is coming to phones
Android Lollipop will ship with the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, but Google says its coming to the Nexus 5, 7, 10, and the myriad “Google Play Edition” devices in “the coming weeks”. And for devices beyond that? As usual with Android, it’s up to your phone/tablet manufacturer to get the update ready.
Update: Google now confirms that the Nexus 4 will get Lollipop, too!
Update #2: Motorola has just published its list of soon-to-be-updated phones
[Photo by Steven Greenberg, used under Creative Commons]