Android L vs. Android KitKat: 8 Changes Which You Should Have on Your Smartphone or Tablet

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By Ryan Inoyori | June 27, 2014 3:13 PM EST

Android KitKat add new features such as immersive mode, new battery saving mode for Location Services and Ok Google. However, manufacturers are will be busy again with Android L coming out soon, and here are the reasons why jumping from KitKat to L is the best update to date.

Reuters
A Google Android figurine sits on the welcome desk as employee Tracy McNeilly smiles at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012.

New Runtime for Apps

For several Android generations, Dalvik runtime has been used to apps by executing the code whenever needed. ART runtime became present on Android KitKat as an option for app developers to smoothen out performance.

Google decided to implement ART runtime on Android L and it delivers great boost on performance for all Android users.

  1. Runs applications ahead of direct execution from users for smoother performance.
  2. Any applications optimised apps on ART will receive significant increase on speed and performance.
  3. Apps will consume less battery with ART than Dalvik runtime.

Native Battery Saving Tool

At last Android will finally offer users a native application to manage power better and it features CPU and network radio controls. Normally, users will need to rely on Android's native management of apps but bloatware can consume power without notice that leads owners to download third-party apps.

Third-party power saving apps such as Juice Defender and Greenify implement profiles and whitelist to prevent selected apps from draining power in the background. With this new native app on Android L, users can now manage the battery level, app syncing and CPU performance without downloading an extra battery manager.

User Interface Revamped

Home screen buttons have been changed to game console-like icons which are spread throughout the system. Additionally, the icons on the Settings menu are more stylish and neater compared to Android KitKat and other previous versions.

For font lovers, Android L offers a less bolded font compared with KitKat which matches the colour schemes. The notification icons are more lightweight and simpler that may be pleasant to some users.

All-New Keyboard Layout

Android L features a revamped UI of the virtual keyboard with white colour scheme. Moreover, users won't see the boxes enclosing the letters anymore which made the new keyboard layout cleaner than before. It is yet to be revealed if Google will add several colour themes for the keyboard on Android L.

Better Calendar UI

The Calendar app also gets a refreshing look, similar to the current Gmail version containing different colours highlighting appointments and schedules. The colours may be a representation of the priority level on each schedule, such as setting them to red or grey.

Gmail Redesigned

The Gmail UI shifts from emails with coloured icons to a thread-like messaging interface. Based on the leaked screenshot, it may also feature the swipe from left to right gesture as it shows the 3-bar icon at the top which is found on Google Play Store having the same command. If so, you'll be able to see other inbox menus by swiping instead of tapping.

New Gallery App

The Gallery app says goodbye to black theme and welcomes a white colour background with an organised option per month. Moreover, the notification icons seem to go semi-transparent whenever the Gallery app is open based on the preview. It is a totally refreshing UI and matches the scheme with Contacts and Gmail apps.

Google Maps

Another app which received some changes is Google Maps. The satellite icon is now placed at the search bar while the description about the location appears larger than the previous version. Some areas like icons, font and colour are also smoothened out in this new Android version.

Android L is set to be released in a few months after Google finalises the firmware, and every change previewed during the Google I/O event are still subject to some tweaks if needed. To view the images, visit BGR for screenshot previews of Android L.

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(Photo: Reuters / Mark Blinch)
A Google Android figurine sits on the welcome desk as employee Tracy McNeilly smiles at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012.
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