The annual Google I/O conference just gave us our first look at the next major version of Android. Currently known only as Android L, it promises a new look and features, which got tongues wagging among Brighthand readers in our forum.
One of the most appealing features was one of the least explained: Google's innovative approach to saving power with Android L, using things like smart display control and application permissions to save up to an hour and a half of battery life per charge. User Mi An was interested in getting to the details of how it might work:
Very excited about project volta. An extra 90 minutes? And the notion of lowering screen refresh rate for savings intrigues me. Does it work by reducing CPU/GPU load in redrawing information? Most power used by the screen is backlighting, but of course processing and displaying graphics and information requires the chipset to work harder.... It'll be interesting to see how it works on different devices. My guess is it generates a lot more savings for extremely high resolution devices, 1080p and up, and maybe not so much for lower res phones. I wonder if/how differently it will behave on AMOLED and LCD screens. If it's really just about chipset power, maybe not at all, but there could be more to it.
Others were more interested in the interface changes. Forum reader Hook decided to take the initial developer version of L for a test drive on his Nexus 5, giving first impressions as well as posting a number of screenshots.
It was fun but I will get rid of it and go back to just Android 4.4.4... I think there are people here, especially Chrome users, that will like it because, frankly the UI is very Chrome and Google Now like. I'm not a big fan... It is very fast and, even at this early stage, smooth. Some of that may be that it is optimized for ART (there isn't even an option to select cache in Developer options). Everything I tried worked, but I didn't try installing my key apps as I knew I wasn't keeping this. I figure whether 4.4.4 apps would work fully on L was a crap shoot (although folks seem to be having good success), and, at this stage, I wasn't interested in that level of trouble shooting. With all the devs having this developer's preview, I'm sure things will be pretty slick when it is ready.
Although Hook didn't much like it, the new "flat" design seems to have some supporters. Mitlov commented on Hook's mini-preview:
Thanks for the screenshots and the thoughts, Hook. I love the aesthetic, but even more than that, I love the aesthetic consistency. Chrome looks like Google Now looks like settings, etc.
I've never understood why the quick-toggle settings take multiple actions to get to (on my wife's Moto X, it's pull down the notification shade and then tap a button on the shade to go to the quick-toggles). Doesn't having two separate actions like Android L (or the Moto X) to get to the quick-toggles somewhat defeat the purpose of quick-toggle settings? Say what you will about TouchWiz, but they got that right. Being able to organize and set the quick-toggles that just sit there at the top of my notification shade (not on a second screen accessed via the notification shade; they're on the notification shade itself) is incredibly handy.
These are just a few of the many discussions going on in the Brighthand forums. Got a tech problem you need help with? An opinion on the latest news? Or just want an answer to? Sign up for our forums and join the conversation today.
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