Google has finally announced the newest flavor of its mobile OS, Android L (Lollipop?), and I couldn't be more excited. While we won't see its official release until the fall, there are still some features we can get our hands on right now.
The Google Keyboard that was included in the preview build released today has been successfully ported and should work on most devices running Android 4.3 and above.
The latest version of Google Keyboard now includes the new design, right from the Play Store. While the update has begun rolling out, it may be a few days until you see it on your device.
Fret not, I've got you covered. Just download and install the app directly from here:
There are two methods to installing this. The first is a simple modded application file that will work on just about all devices. Simply enable "Unknown sources" and install the .apk, created by XDA member asdfzz, directly from this link.
After the app is installed, skip down to Step 3 to finish things up.
The second is for devices that ship with the Google Keyboard, like Nexuses and Google Play Edition HTC Ones. Pulled by XDA user bejunk, this method does require you to have a device with a custom recovery, though, so keep that in mind before getting started.
Download the Android_L_Google_Keyboard.zip directly on to your device, so we can install it via TWRP. After the download finishes, reboot into recovery mode by pressing and holding the Power and Volume Down buttons for 15 seconds, and selecting Recovery from the bootloader menu.
Tap Install from the TWRP main menu and select the .zip file you downloaded earlier. Swipe to Flash, and after it's done, Reboot.
Now that you are rebooted the keyboard will be ready to go, but it will not have the new Material Design look to it. To activate it, open your Settings app and tap Language & keyboard. From there, tap Google Keyboard and change the Color Scheme in Advanced Settings to Material.
You also have a white and blue color scheme, but those look identical to previous versions of Google Keyboard.
The new keyboard also comes with Phrase Gesture typing, which allows you to utilize the space bar when gesture typing to continue on to a new word. There is also an emoji shortcut added to the Enter key on the bottom right of the keyboard that is activated with a long-press.
If you find the keyboard force-closing, that means you are missing a .lib file, so to fix it, download this libjni_latinimegoogle.so file and place it in /system/lib. You will need a file explorer with root permission like ES File Explorer to do this, though.
After you copy it over to your .lib folder, you will also need to change the files permissions. To do that, tap and hold libjni_latinimegoogle.so and select Properties from the overflow menu. Make sure the permissions read rw-r-r, then reboot your device.
Also included in the preview build of Android L were new wallpapers and system sounds. The wallpapers can be downloaded and placed anywhere in your internal storage, but the sounds need to be put in their appropriate folders.
After extracting the Audio.zip file, you will need to place the files in each of their corresponding folders in /system/media/audio/. I used ES File Explorer again to move them over, but keep in mind this does require root permission.
Alternatively, you can just place the notifications and ringtones in the Notifications and Ringtones folder in your internal storage if you do not have root access.
By no means will this give you the complete Android L experince, but it should be enough to hold you off until its official release. Keep checking back to find more Android L goodness and leave us a comment if you find anything yourself!