How To Get New Features From The Next Version Of Android On Your Phone Now
A preview version of the next version of Android, called Android L, is already available for Google's Nexus devices.
But, if you're one of the many Android users with a phone outside of Google's Nexus family, one developer has posted a slew of links to download Android L's apps and features.
XDA Developer Forum user ivan123 posted a full system dump with links to download apps from Android L individually or as a pack. This includes updated versions of various apps that come preloaded with stock Android, including the new Calculator, Google Calendar, and Google Earth apps among others.
The new Document UI Google showed off on stage, which makes it easier to multitask within Android, is also included in this system dump.
You don't need to hack your phone through a process called rooting to download these apps, but ivan123's post warns that you will need to if you want to check out the new Material Design that comes with Android L.
This is Google's new design language for Android that adds more nuances and accents throughout the user interface, such as using bolder colors and shadows in stock apps like Mail and the phone dialer.
Rooting refers to a process that allows you to gain access to root permissions on your phone. In other words, it's sort of like running programs as an administrator in Windows.
Rooting allows you run apps that require additional access to settings that weren't available before, but it can be a risky process. If something goes wrong, you could potentially brick your phone, meaning it refuses to boot and becomes essentially useless. It also voids your phone's warranty.
To install individual apps in Android L, you need to make sure your phone is configured to download third-party apps that aren't from the Google Play Store. Simply head over to Settings, and under Security check the Unknown Sources box.
If you're just looking to try out the new keyboard in Android L, you won't have to go through this process. A developer has taken the new keyboard from Google's Developer Preview of Android L and modified it to run as a standalone app. It's already available in the Google Play Store for free.
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