By Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android
At the Google I/O keynote yesterday we announced the L Developer Preview — a development version of an upcoming Android release. The Developer Preview lets you explore features and capabilities of the L release and get started developing and testing on the new platform. You can take a look at the developer features and APIs in the API Overview page.
Starting today, the L Developer Preview is available for download from the L Developer Preview site. We're also announcing that Android Studio is now in beta, and making great progress toward a full release.
Let’s take a deeper dive into what’s included in the preview and what it means for you as a developer as you prepare your apps for the next Android release.
What’s in the L Developer Preview
The L Developer Preview includes updated SDK tools, system images for testing on an emulator, and system images for testing on a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 device.
You can download these components through the Android SDK Manager:
- L Developer Preview SDK Tools
- L Developer Preview Emulator System Image - 32-bit (64-bit experimental emulator image coming soon)
- L Developer Preview Emulator System Image for Android TV (32-bit)
(Note: the full release of Android Wear is a part of Android KitKat, API Level 20. Read more about Android Wear development here.)
Today, we are also providing system image downloads for these Nexus devices to help with your testing as well:
- Nexus 5 (GSM/LTE) “hammerhead” Device System Image
- Nexus 7  - (Wifi) “razor” Device System Image
You can download both of these system images from the L Developer Preview site.
With the SDK Tools, and Nexus device images, you can get a head start on testing out your app on the latest Android platform months before the official launch. You can use the extra lead time to take advantage of all the new app features and APIs in your apps. The Nexus device images can help you with testing, but keep in mind that they are meant for development purposes only and should not be used on a production device.
Notes on APIs and publishing
The L Developer Preview is a development release and does not have a standard API level. The APIs are not final, and you can expect minor API changes over time.
To ensure a great user experience and broad compatibility, you can not publish versions of your app to Google Play that are compiled against L Developer Preview. Apps built for L Developer Preview will have to wait until the full official launch to publish on Google Play.
Android Studio Beta
To help you develop your apps for the upcoming Android version and for new Android device types, we’re also happy to announce Android Studio Beta. Android Studio Beta helps you develop apps by enabling you to:
- Incorporate the new material design and interaction elements of the L Developer Preview SDK
- Quickly create and build apps with a new app wizard and layout editor support for Android Wear and Android TV
Building on top of the build variants and flavors features we introduced last year, the Android Studio build system now supports creating multiple apks, such as for devices like Android Wear. You can try out all the new features with the L Developer Preview by downloading the Android Studio Beta today.
How to get started
To get started with the L Developer Preview and prepare your apps for the full release, just follow these steps:
- Try out Android Studio Beta
- Visit the L Developer Preview site
- Explore the new APIs
- Enable the material theme and try out material design on your apps
- Get the emulator system images through the SDK Manager or download the Nexus device system images.
- Test your app on the new Android Runtime (ART) with your device or emulator
- Give us feedback
As you use the new developer features and APIs in the L Developer Preview, we encourage you to give us your feedback using the L Developer Preview Issue Tracker. During the developer preview period, we aim to incorporate your feedback into our new APIs and adjust features as best as we can.
You can get all the latest downloads, documentation, and tools information from the L Developer Preview site on developer.android.com. You can also check our Android Developer Preview Google+ page for updates and information.
We hope you try the L Developer Preview as you start building the next generation of amazing Android user experiences.