Android 5.0 teased at Google I/O
Latest Android version to feature design upgrades and notification improvements
Google teased the latest version of its Android mobile operating system at yesterday's I/O conference, showcasing a new design and a number of new features.
Android 5.0 - dubbed Android L for the moment - promises the ability to add the illusion of depth with what Google called material design, which is supposed to mimic real-world design.
It will also feature a grid-based lay-out that should make it easier for developers to port apps to devices of varying screen sizes. Google said that there will be a unified set of style guidelines for every screen size.
Other design features include new animation capabilities, such as real-time ripple effects and shadows. Google gave an example of ripples that radiate from buttons on the dialler when they are pressed.
In terms of functionality, Android L streamlines the notification process, Google said. Instant notifications are shown on the lock screen so that users can access them without unlocking the phone - all that's required is a simple swipe down to expand the notification. Google also said that important notifications could rise to the top of the lock-screen notification list.
Google has also added a functionality that allows notifications to be acted upon from within open apps, meaning that the user will not have stop what they are doing in the event of a notification.
The lock screen itself has also had a going-over, with Google allowing authentication via signals such as Bluetooth, location and even voice prints. For example, if the device is in the vicinity of a Bluetooth watch, a user will be able to simply slide to unlock, rather than having to key in a passcode, which will only be required if the watch can't be detected.
At its I/O conference, Google also unveiled new design elements for mobile Chrome, a number of capabilities for Android Wear - the operating system optimised for wearable technologies - and Android Auto, a way to used Android services in the car. Google also announced Android TV, a user interface for smart TVs, and a new API for Gmail.