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Google Unveils Android L

One of the biggest Android releases ever is due later this year, says Google.

Wait, we don’t even get a mouthwatering dessert?

Typically, Google debuts each new release of Android with a dessert-themed nickname, but in previewing the next version of the mobile operating at its annual I/O conference Wednesday, Google called it simply “L.”

Ice Cream Sandwich? Don’t mind if I do. A couple Jelly Beans? Why not. But, L?

The technology preview itself wasn’t super tasty, either, with only a couple mouthwatering bits.

Android L is due out this fall, Google said, with a developer preview going live on Thursday along with a system image that can run on the Nexus 5. With 5000 new programming interfaces, Google says L is one of the biggest Android releases ever.

Android L will feature, among other things, improved performance and battery life, interactive notifications and a new “Material Design” interface.

The “Material Design” interface is supposed to offer more depth while maintaining a consistent look across different apps and content. Also part of L: Project Volta, Google’s effort to measure and improve handset battery life.

Said Android engineering director Dave Burke, “You can’t improve if you can’t measure.” L will feature a battery saver mode that can be turned on manually, or automatically activate when a device’s battery level gets low.

On a Nexus 5, Burke said that users can get an extra 90 minutes of battery life in a typical day’s use.

As expected, Android L will use the app-running engine known as ART, rather than the Dalvik engine it has relied on in the past. It will also support a variety of chips including those from Intel and those using designs from ARM.

Google promised that the new engine won’t require any work by developers.

“This one is on us,” Burke said.

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