New Android Devices and Android 5.0 Lollipop

Written by: on October 15, 2014

Today, Google officially announced its next batch of Nexus-branded devices and the software to go with them. Three new devices were announced:

These devices will all be available to consumers early next month. The Nexus 9 will be the first Nexus device to sport a 64-bit processor architecture, indeed one of the first Android devices with such a distinction. Nexus 6 continues the industry trend towards larger screens, with a 5.96” display. This also means qHD is quickly becoming the new standard in device resolution, accelerating the requirements for increased asset sizes from designers. Nexus Player is the first official device on the market sporting the new Android TV interface; Google’s attempt to build upon the already successful Chromecast interface. Nexus devices make up a very small percentage of Android in the marketplace, and Google’s true purpose with this line of hardware is to begin the next wave of development by showing OEMs what their reference point ought to be for the next round of Android software as they push updates to their customers. Nevertheless, our team will have our hands on all of them to begin developing to their capabilities immediately.

More details: http://www.google.com/nexus/

Software

Following its initial announcement at Google I/O, Android “L” comes out of preview to officially become Android 5.0 “Lollipop”. This is Android’s biggest release to date, both in terms of user features and developer APIs. Notifications are front and center in Android 5.0, finally making their way onto the proper lock screen. Developers have also been outfitted with the tools to protect sensitive information that may appear in a notification (like the amount of that deposit you just received) form appearing until the device has been unlocked.; keeping the user’s private things private!

With Android 5.0 also comes rapid expansion of the platform to other form factors. Android Wear has been in its infancy so far in 2014, Android 5.0 brings the deep integration necessary for this platform to succeed with the average user. Notifications are again at the forefront of this endeavor, surfacing important and timely content with minimal interaction. As developers we now have the challenge of providing value here without being distracting. Android TV allows developers to enhance their existing applications with a “lean back” experience optimized for the big screen. Android TV is not meant to replace Google Cast (i.e. Chromecast), but rather supplement it in applications where the enhanced experience makes sense. Android Auto, which was the third leg of the original announcement, still remains unreleased with no new information provided.

Google’s vision of design simplicity, dubbed Material, is already starting to appear in the marketplace. Android 5.0 and the associated SDKs that will be provided will allow developers to bring this new design language to applications, even on device’s that don’t yet have the operating system update. Bringing design consistency into a mobile space that is otherwise often maligned as fragmented. Material emphasizes delighting users with subtle animation to provide context and feedback to their interactions with the device. Google has already released most of its applications in this new theme, setting the tone for new apps to begin matching it immediately. All current and future applications on the Android platform should have their designs examined in the context of these new guidelines.

More details: https://www.android.com/versions/lollipop-5-0/

Material design: http://www.google.com/design/spec/material-design/introduction.html

Dave Smith

Dave Smith

Dave Smith is a Senior Engineer at Double Encore, Inc., a leading mobile development company. Dave is an expert in developing mobile applications that integrate with custom hardware and devices. His recent focus lies mainly in integrating the Android platform with embedded SoC hardware. He is a published author and speaks regularly at conferences on topics related to Android development. You can follow Dave on Twitter and Google+.
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