A day after Google’s rather boring keynote, and after a lot of fawning by the Verge, it seems to me the latest version of Android has not done anything much to place it head and shoulders above other mobile operating systems, particularly Windows Phone 8.1
The main headline feature of Android L was an improved look (above), which Android of course in particular needs. Taking inspiration from Windows Phone and Apple, its an oxymoron of a flat UI with depth and shadows, which confusingly is accompanied by a carousel-style task switcher (which could only be more skeuomorphic and ungainly if Google added a rolodex) which will now also show individual web pages (a bit like Windows Phone?)
Being Google however, the company continues to have difficulty balancing style and functionality, and the company thinks your lock screen looks good covered in actionable notifications (top right).
The company also boasts about what it calls “heads-up notifications” (top left) which looks to me to be nothing more that toast notifications. I am confused why Google considers this an innovation.
Other innovations is 64 bit processor support which in this day and age of cheap smartphones is a bit of a white elephant, and support for smart watches for authentication, which is more of the same.
Sure it’s good that Google is finally hardware accelerating more of their graphics, but their real time shadows is not going to help their battery life, and when their Battery Saver technology can only gain 90 min of extra time from 15% battery life it seems Google’s priorities remain misplaced.
Yes, Google is doing a lot of catching up with iOS and Windows Phone, mainly by copying their features, but revolutionary and innovative it certainly is not.