Side-by-Side Comparisons Show the Massive Visual Overhaul in Android L

June 26, 2014 - Written By Nick Sutrich

Over the years Android has gone through some pretty significant changes.  Going from what looked essentially like a mobile Windows 98 back in the Android 1.x days to some slight refinements with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and then again with a major overhaul in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to what we know as the Android of today.  Now with Android L we’re seeing by far the biggest visual overhaul of the world’s most popular mobile OS and it’s seemingly all for the better too.  Besides the incredible performance upgrades everyone who gets Android L will find, the visual overhaul is nothing short of spectacular.  Material Design has taken the place of Holo as the new design language, and it’s something really special.

Gone are the Tron-looking colors and lines that Android 3.0 Honeycomb and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich brought about and in are clean, white and colorful palettes.  Pastel colors are the main scheme here, and even the notification bar up top changes color to reflect the main color in the app on screen.  This is reminisce of what Paranoid Android started doing years ago, and what Apple ended up doing with iOS 7.  Google is taking this to a new level though and including this type of color changing scheme within apps as well, so for instance in Google Music the background behind each album cover will change depending on the main color of that album, and in Google image search that same background box will change depending on the main color in the image.

This is all possible thanks to Google’s new 3D UI rendering engine that actually makes each section of the user interface its own 3D layer, and developers can even change how far above or below each layer can be.  Depth is added to the UI because of this, and animations are now smoother and more interactive than ever because of it as well.  Below we’ve got a gallery that Phone Arena put together that shows off individual apps and how they’ve changed in Android L compared with what they currently look like in Android 4.4 KitKat.  The difference is downright incredible, and it shows off the design genius of Matias Duarte even more than his previous efforts have, which is saying quite a lot!