With the announcement of Android L and the developer preview that followed the session at Google I/O on Wednesday, there were undoubtedly many very happy users as well as developers. Android is and has always had a huge portion of its users show interest in tinkering, which is one of the great things about the dev previews of unreleased software updates. Since the Android L preview is essentially a beta release or earlier not intended for use by the everyday Android user, or to put it a different way, not intended to be a daily driver, users have to understand that there will be things that will not work. This is just the way these sort of things go. Later this fall when Google pushes out Android L officially, things will be on a more stable footing than they are now.
The reason it is important to inform users of this is because there have been those who downloaded and installed the developer preview of Android L, and have been experiencing issues with certain applications not working or other features displaying a broken functionality. It’s important to expect this going in due to the nature of the build. While it is available to anyone who owns a Nexus 5 or a Nexus 7, it is intended for developers so that they have the ability to work with the software version and get their apps to a compatible state before it rolls out to everyone. As pointed out by Android Police, this is needed partly, because Android L will be setting the default runtime to ART, instead of having the choice to choose either ART or Dalvik which is the current default runtime on all Android devices. After the release of Android Kit Kat 4.4 ART became part of our world and ultimately it’s a change for the better, but things will be broken if they aren’t compatible and unfortunately that includes many of the most popular apps at this point, which could result in things like immediate app crashing upon the attempt to open them.
A silver lining is that these kinds of issues may not take long to overcome as developers will work with the preview and get their apps updated to support ART, and in the end when this happens we can all rejoice. In the meantime, if you are somebody that likes to tinker with stuff like this, now that you know (or probably already knew)that there will be plenty of bugs and that features intended for the final release will be missing, you can do your due diligence by helping the devs and the Android team get rid of bugs as quickly as possible. This can be done by heading to the bug tracker here, and either submitting a bug that isn’t on the list or by clicking the star next to the ones that are already there if you have experienced it yourself. We all love Android for what it is and it’s great to have these kinds of builds that we get early access to, so long as we’re all aware that things in this state are not finalized. Now that we have that covered, is everyone who is currently using the Android L developer preview enjoying it?