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Android L First Hands-on Impressions
I took the plunge and spent two hours trying to relearn how to flash the factory image (don't ask me how to do it, I've already forgotten) onto my Nexus 7 I don't really even use for much other than a giant MP3 player, and decided to post a few basic impressions and details of this first look we get at L for those interested. A few screenshots of what's new are included at the bottom of the post as well. I apologize if they end up taking a ton of room.
First and foremost: the new splash screen is amazing haha.
Google Now is not the default launcher yet. It still has the stock (I don't even know if it has a name) launcher styled from before KitKat. Using the GN Launcher the home screen looks pretty much exactly the same, except for the new geometrical buttons. Currents finally isn't stuck on the device anymore, and the Gallery app is gone, so there's exclusively Photos now. I didn't install too many apps, but the ones I did were all fine except Docs and Sheets oddly. But most importantly, Threes now works on ART! So it seems like apps that previously didn't work on ART should already.
The notification bar has been redesigned, and it's rather quite nice. Swipe down once for just time, and notifications. Swipe down, or press the bar, again to get some quick settings like brightness and the new Do Not Disturb. If you don't have any notifications it might look rather bland, but once you have some the style comes together. The only thing I really don't like is that as far as I know there isn't a way to dismiss all notifications at once.
The lockscreen has been redesigned as well. Swipe up to unlock. Notifications show up in the middle that you can easily see, and possibly act on, similar to how some apps will on the One M8. And you can still swipe down to use the quick settings. It shows a picture of the user in the notification tray. The only thing I'm not sure about is I have no clue what swiping down does. You can see in the screenshots I'm listening to music, and if I swipe down in the lockscreen the music notification enlarges and moves closer to the top. Maybe it enlarges all notifications, but I don't have any others to check. I also don't see anything about lockscreen widgets. Looks like they may have gotten rid of it, or haven't included it yet, but I only used it for DashClock, so it's not that big of a deal for me.
There aren't really any apps that use Material Design yet. It's only a matter of time before they get updated though. The only ones I've seen that do are Calculator (very colorful), Downloads (didn't change much), and the redesigned Settings menu. Pretty much the only ones that aren't in the Play Store. If you had reservations on it, the effects are more subtle than you think they look like when you actually use it. I especially like the new animation where the app drops down when you leave.
The redesigned recents menu isn't all that different as you might suspect. It's pretty much the same as before, but 3-dimensional, and looks more like cards. I can't really comment on having all your tabs from Chrome show up since I never have more than a couple open at once, but unless you use dozens of tabs it should be an improvement.
The keyboard was also redesigned. I can see that some people might have some issues with it, but to me it's an improvement to where I could actually see myself using it.
Audio just sounds better. Before I'd have to use the equalizer for one pair of my headphones, but I don't anymore.
The only bugs I've run across so far is the aforementioned on how Docs and Sheets won't install and one other that's a doozy. It seems like Location Reporting doesn't work. So Google Now can't be enabled. I only have my Nexus 7, so I don't know if it's specific to my device, or me until someone else chimes in, but of all the things it had to be that haha. Edit: It took awhile, but I got it working again.
All in all I'm really excited for the consumer release.
Be sure to give your own impressions below, and if you have any questions just ask!