XDA Developers forum member sykopompos has produced a ROM based on a combination of a leaked Nexus 6 and a number of pre-released Google apps for Android 5.0 Lollipop. This custom ROM, which has been seen running on a 2012 Google Nexus 4, attempts to bridge the gap between the official preview ROMs of Android Lollipop and the day when the official update arrives. The preview ROM excludes many updated Google applications, including Google Fit. Sykopompos’ ROM may be the closest thing to the real deal… or something of a tease! Nevertheless, it’s great to see how Android 5.0 Lollipop may hang together once it’s released.
Looking through the screen images, the design and layout of the device my first impression is that it looks splendid! Android Lollipop is definitely Android, but has a fresh coat of paint. The less technical Nexus users will still be able to navigate their device and the more geeky amongst us (yes, you at the back, I mean you) will delight in the improvements and changes. One of the features that I’m most looking forward to is Ambient Display, which works on the text Nexus 4 but requires the motion coprocessors and an AMOLED screen for best effect. I’m a heavy user of Gmail and the application gets a fresh lick of paint plus support for other email accounts. Google have switched the Compose feature to a floating red button, similar to Google+, plus the ability to swipe in from the left to view the navigation pane to switch accounts, labels or folders. The other applications have been refreshed. Our very own Phil covered the improvements to the Google Calendar but these are alive and well in the custom ROM. There are Material Design transitions and changes, new visual flourishes (such as Google Maps images now appearing in-line) and improved predictions when completing an event. Google Drive is given an overhaul together with the accompanying Docs, Sheets and Slides applications although there doesn’t appear to be any major changes in how well these work on Android. Likewise, Google Play Music, Google Books have been given some Material Design love but little else appears to have changed.
The new Google Fit application is included as part of this ROM. This application allows us to set goals for activity types and track this over periods of time, either using the device’s built-in sensors or an Android Wear device. There’s no official word if it’ll include access to an activity-monitoring fitness band, but we do know that Google Fit is designed to be a connected application: it can share data with other applications and devices.
I’ll just leave this gallery here at the end, but let us know what you think of the redesign? Personally, it’s making the Nexus 6 more and more appealing as we get closer to the launch. Even if it’s December in the United Kingdom.