Perhaps you are a developer eager to get the next blockbuster app or game completely ready for Android L. Or maybe you’re a power user testing the waters of the next Android release. Whether or not you fall into either of these categories, if you’ve been waiting for an announcement for an Android L Developer Preview version 2.0, don’t hold your breath. A Google developer has practically confirmed what you probably didn’t want to hear: no updated images are planned for the pipeline.
To understand the context, we have to take a few steps back, actually a few days. Last week, Google published one of its Dev.Bytes videos on YouTube that focused on the Android L Preview. The four and a half minute long video, hosted by Googler Rich Hyndman, who was somewhat ironically wearing a KitKat shirt, delved into some of the things developers might want to take note of when trying out the preview image on a Nexus 5 or a Nexus 7. Later, a developer named Michael Panzer re-shared the video on Google+ and asked Hyndman whether there will be updates to the preview before final release. The gist of Hyndman’s answer is that there will be extras coming but no updated preview image.
The reason, according to the Google developer, is that the Android L preview is primarily to help developers test and prepare their apps against the upcoming release. At the very least, developers will be able to test if things run well, or hopefully even better, on the new ART runtime, if theming needs to be adjusted for the new Material Design, and other such considerations. The implications seems to be that the Preview isn’t meant for bug hunting, testing, and squashing. It sounds as if Google is expecting developers to just wait for the final Android L release to address those concerns.
For the casual observer or brave tester, this might be a disappointment at best. But it might be a bit disheartening, if not inconvenient, for app developers, especially those whose efforts have been foiled by Android L bugs. Some of those might have already been fixed on Google’s side, but developers won’t be able to enjoy those fixes and test their apps again without an updated image to try it on. That said, this is the first time Google ever provided a developer preview of an Android release and it is admittedly doing things a bit differently. One can only hope that they will reconsider and put out even just one more preview image before Android L, whatever its name will be by then, rolls out this fall.