Experience with Android L Preview Release on the Nexus 5
I installed the LPV79 early developer preview
release of the next version of Android on my nexus 5 last night. It was great to be able to see what is coming, and pitch in a bit by voting on some known issues in the bug tracker ( http://goo.gl/bmvb2D
If you are not a developer, and thinking of checking it out, prepare to play around, and then move back to 4.4.4 Kitkat as your daily driver. This truly is only for developers to prepare their apps for when "L" gets a name. So be patient, and contribute what you can, but don't clutter up the work that google, developers, partners, and open source contributors need to do to get this ready for launch.Here is what I found1. There are a number of very popular applications that won't launch at all
(e.g. dropbox, for workaround use cloud feature of ES File Explorer), and others that are busted in some way (xda has a running list here http://goo.gl/j2Yf4f
, and you'll find a google defect report here http://goo.gl/CJBNFb
). Some people are even having trouble installing Google's own Docs and Sheets apps from the Play Store (I did not).2. Hotspot functionality is broken
). I tested this and confirmed. Client connects to nexus AP but is never given an IP address.3. The new lock screen with notifications is great, but has a way to go.
For instance, quicksettings for toggles are available without unlocking. That could prove troublesome from a security perspective. Also, until app developers update to the new framework, controls in media apps (such as plex) may not be available on the lock screen.4. The combination of status bar, pull down notifications, quicksettings, google search, small settings icon, and clickable profile picture is not easy to use.
You pull down once, and get notifications. Have to pull down again to get quicksettings, and then have to tap a third time to get to your other settings through the gear. When you do so, it is likely you will fat-finger the tappable profile picture. If you do that, you will get your own contact hovercard (of what use this is to yourself from the status bar I will never know). The one I would like to tap on for battery detail, is the battery icon. But no such luck.5. Some of the cool features you wanted from the I/O presentation are not yet available.
Such as bypassing unlock requirements from safe locations. So there is no compelling reason for a non-developer to rush this because of some killer feature.6. The Material Design does please, mostly.
It looks and works really well in the dialer and the calculator. Some of the changes to settings locations and groupings were more natural, and the toggles worked well. The scrolling bounce effects, window slide-in animations, and other kinetic touch responses are great. The keyboard was a little odd looking to me at first, with borderless keys and non-uniformed font positioning (especially in lower case). The dynamic floating preview when using gesture entry works well (as before), but the transparent background shadow on the overlay is a little close to the text. I am still not sure why voice entry is not enabled by default in builds. Allowing return to 'abc' entry on the right side after clicking the emoticon button is super handy. I think I remember having to stretch by thumb to the left side of the screen on kitkat.7. The recent app's drawer looks and works well.
The addition of specific settings areas, and chrome tabs is helpful. And I found myself using it more than previously.8. Don't know about project Volta, but the easy to read prediction of likely remaining hours of use from the battery settings is nice.
Speaking of which, the teal on white isn't necessarily my favorite, but everything is easier to read than before—part of the content first intent of Material Design. Again, my suggestion would be to put the battery icon back in the quicksettings. It is a useful screen. I can't say the same for the data usage grid. It doesn't look quite right.9. Everything seems smooth and fast.
The switch to ART from Dalvik is not dramatic, but it certainly didn't hurt anything. But then again, I have had no complaints since the success of project butter. I may be crazy, but even Kitkat 4.4.4 seemed to improve touch response just a tad from the previous point release.
Well that is it so far. Great work team android
. I think this will be a great release when it lands. Hopefully this feedback helps in some way. In the mean time, I'm heading back to where I belong. When "L" gets a name, I'll be there.