The Lowdown on Google’s New L Developer Preview from Google IO
|Stuart Parkerson in Android Thursday, June 26, 2014|
Among the biggest news from Google I/O is the L Developer Preview, which lets developers check out the new features and capabilities of the next version of Android and provides the ability to develop and test on the new platform.
What Google says about the OS:
Material design for the multiscreen world: A new design language that takes a comprehensive approach to visual, motion, and interaction design across a number of platforms and form factors.
Enhanced notifications: New lock screen notifications lets developers surface content, updates, and actions to users at a glance, without unlocking. Visibility controls provides the ability to manage the types of information shown on the lockscreen. Heads-up notifications display content and actions in a small floating window that’s managed by the system, no matter which app is in the foreground.
Document-centric Recents: Organize an app by tasks and present these concurrently as individual “documents” in the Recents screen. Users can flip through Recents to find the specific task they want and then go into the app with a single tap.
Project Volta: New tools and APIs help an app run more efficiently and conserve power. Battery Historian is a new tool that lets developers visualize power events over time and understand how an app is using battery. A job scheduler API provides the opportunity to set the conditions under which background tasks and other jobs should run, such as when the device is idle or connected to an unmetered to a charger, to minimize battery impact.
BLE Peripheral Mode: Android powered devices can now function in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) peripheral mode. Apps can use this capability to broadcast their presence to nearby devices, allowing developers to build apps that let a device to function as a pedometer or health monitor and transmit data to another BLE device.
Multi-networking: Apps can work with the system to dynamically scan for available networks with specific capabilities and then automatically connect. This is useful when developers want to manage handoffs or connect to a specialized network, such as a carrier-billing network.
Advanced camera capabilities: A new camera API allows apps on supported devices to capture uncompressed YUV capture at full 8 megapixel resolution at 30 FPS. The API also captures raw sensor data and control parameters such as exposure time, ISO sensitivity, and frame duration, on a per-frame basis.
New features for game developers: Support for OpenGL ES 3.1, gives capabilities such as compute shaders, stencil textures, and texture gather for games. The Android Extension Pack (AEP) is a new set of extensions to OpenGL ES that bring desktop-class graphics to Android. Games will be able to take advantage of tessellation and geometry shaders, and use ASTC texture compression across multiple GPU technologies.
Android Runtime (ART): The L Developer Preview introduces the Android Runtime (ART) as the system default. ART offers ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation, more efficient garbage collection, and improved development and debugging features. In many cases it improves performance of the device with no action required by the developer.
64-bit support: The L Developer Preview adds support for 64-bit ABIs, for additional address space and improved performance with certain compute workloads. Apps written in the Java language can run immediately on 64-bit architectures with no modifications required. To support apps using native code, Google is also releasing an updated NDK that includes 64-bit support.
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