Android L Update: 8 Hidden Features Coming to Galaxy S5, Xperia Z2, HTC One M8, Moto X

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By Ryan Inoyori | July 11, 2014 4:59 PM EST

HTC M8, Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2 and Moto X are just some devices which will take advantage of the new features on Android L firmware. Around eight features are designed to improve the camera, processing speed, battery life and overall user experience.

Here is the compiled list of essential features revealed by ARS Technica, Geeknizer and Android Police.

1.      New Runtime
Android Runtime is a new runtime in addition to Dalvik which features smoother app loading and performance, and more reasonable battery consumption. Users can allow apps to run under ART by simply going to the Developer Options. However, apps must support the runtime in order to get its effect.

Possible Effects: HTC Sense, TouchWiz and Xperia Home may become more stable than before.

2.      Project Volta
It is a collective improvements under the project of the same name from Google which will be available to Android L. Project Volta is designed to monitor battery life by determining which apps or services are draining power and a tracking data for the current remaining time to charge and how much longer the battery will last as it discharges.

Possible Effect: Enhanced version of the former battery monitoring tracker.

3.      Native Battery Saver
Previous Android versions do not feature a native battery or power saving application that force users to download third-party apps. In Android L, a native app will become available under the Battery menu that can control CPU performance, animation implementations and brightness level of the display.

Possible Effect: It can help out the integration of brand-based power saving tools such as STAMINA mode and Ultra Power Saving.

4.      OpenGL ES 3.1 Version
New support for video graphics will be added on Android L that supports computer shaders. Once applied, it enables the graphics processor to function on non-graphical things such as physics calculations and allows it to complete graphics-related tasks more effective.

Possible Effects: Better animation and gaming experience on high-class smartphones and tablets.

5.      Android Extension Pack
Android Extension Pack is another standard for OpenGL ES to enable more capabilities such as fragment shader support for shader storage like buffers, images and atomics. Game developers will be able to optimise their apps using the features of this package even though it won't match the power of Microsoft DirectX 12 or Apple's new Metal API.

Possible Effects: Smoother 3D graphics and improvements on the graphics rendering.

6.      Bluetooth 4.1
Bluetooth 4.1 is now supported on Android L which adds several improvements including resolution on interference with LTE radios having similar frequencies and more stable connection between devices. This update does not ultimately require a new hardware component but a new certification from FCC to upgrade the necessary software drivers.

Possible Effects: Reduces all the bugs found on most common Bluetooth connection.

7.      Better Audio Experience
Android L will have a better audio support including low latency input and output, 24 bits per sample, 96 KHz sampling rate, floating point for sampling, better resampling, improvements on audio and video sync, USB audio support and API improvements for developers.

Possible Effects: Better listening experience, radio support and will work on karaoke apps.

8.      Camera API and DNG Support
New camera API will become available which supports camera RAW-style image and Digital Negative in Android L. It will bring the freedom of photography by allowing smartphones to retain original image details like DSLR cameras.

Possible Effects: Get the RAW image file instead of allowing the image processor to refine the details. DNG images are files which retained the original capture.

Android L is currently under Developer Preview stage allowing developers to optimise their applications before the official release.

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