Android L previews ported to Nexus 4 and original Nexus 7


If you have a Nexus 4 or the original Nexus 7, you can now get your hands on Google’s Android L preview, courtesy of an unofficial port from third-party developers. Installation is as simple as flashing the ROM with a custom recovery, but you should proceed with caution.

Every Android user is itching to get their hands on Android L, which brings a plethora of new features and some stunning visual changes to Google’s mobile operating system. It’s only natural, then, that many will jump at the chance to use the new firmware early — even if it means installing an unofficial port.

But the official Android L previews for the Nexus 5 and the new Nexus 7 are unstable — that’s expected for preview software — and these ports for their predecessors are even less reliable. They come with a whole bunch of bugs and other issues, and so they should not be installed on primary devices.

If you have a spare Nexus 4 or Nexus 7 that you don’t rely on every day, then go ahead and try out Android L — you’ll love it. But be aware that your apps will crash, the system will be unstable, and certain features just won’t work at all. While things are actually looking bright for the Nexus 4 port, the original Nexus 7’s is particularly broken.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC are all nonfunctional on the Nexus 7, rendering the device pretty much useless. You won’t be able to browse the web, access email, or install apps. Some system sounds are also missing, and Google’s Text to Speech function doesn’t work.

On the Nexus 4, most of the issues with Android L itself have been fixed. “We got everything fixed now,” developer Defconoi confirmed on the XDA Developers forum over the weekend, including some camera issues, NFC, Bluetooth, and even a root solution. The software still won’t play nicely with all third-party apps, though.

I’ve been using Android L on the Nexus 5 for a couple of days now, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well it’s working. Most of my apps run just fine, and I’ve run into very few problems. Battery life has been greatly improved. I don’t currently use my Nexus 5 as a daily driver, however — and if I did, I wouldn’t be running preview software on it.

If you have spare devices and you’d like to try out these unofficial Android L ports, check out the respective threads for the Nexus 4 and the original Nexus 7 on XDA.