Android L Developer Preview ushers in new Material Design for Android

Google has announced that the next version of Android, currently codenamed the Android L Developer preview, that will drastically change the way Android looks and reacts to interaction. 

At the heart of the new design is something that Google is calling Material Design, that imitates paper allowing developers to create elevation within the apps to show layering. 

Taking over 8 months to develop, it also means - says Google - that developers will be able to deliver rich feedback to users. 

The new Android OS will offer new widgets alongside other features, as well as being designed to be used on everything from a big tablet screen to a smartwatch. 

Google says that the new version of Android will bring in over 5000 new APIs for developers to benefit from. 

The new design looks like a cross between iOS 8 and Windows Phone. 

The preview, which is far from complete, will be worked on over the next couple of months. At the moment it seems that Google has only developed the Dialer rather than all the Google apps. 

Like Apple with iOS 8, Android has also introduced enhanced notifications. Users will be able to double tap notifications from the lock screen to open the app. 

A new notification feature called Heads Up Notifications will interrupt whatever you are doing - again very similar to how iOS 7 currently works. 

Realising that typing a pin is annoying, Google is also going to add a new feature called Personal Unlocking that will work with people's smartwatches that will know whether you are wearing a watch, and if so, won't ask you for a password each time. 

Google has also enhanced the Google Search feature on the phone allowing developers to help users rediscover content if they've been searching in any app previously. 

There's a new battery saver function, following the lead of manufacturers like Sony and HTC. According to Google, a Nexus 5 will get a further 90 minutes of usage with the feature turned on. 

The new Android L preview will be available this week for developers to play with and available on the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 devices. It will launch to consumers later this year.