There is no Nexus 4 Android L Preview system images available, but that isn’t stopping resourceful Nexus 4 owners from working on a Nexus 4 Android L port that will bring the new Android L release features to the Nexus 4 ahead of a public release later this year.
Google announced Android L at Google I/O 2014 in late June, offering up access to the Android L Beta for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 2013 devices. These are the most recent Nexus devices, and Google hopes this Android L developer preview will allow developers to update apps to work on Android L and to match the new look of Android L.
Installing the Android L Preview on new Nexus devices is quite easy, but the work on an Android L Nexus 4 port may prove more troublesome thanks to a new filesystem and other updates. Here’s where progress on an Android L preview for the Nexus 4 stands.
Nexus 4 Android L Official Details
In response to complaints about the lack of a Nexus 4 Android L system image or factory image, a Google project member working on the Android L developer preview told users to use the developer tools instead, explaining;
“The L Developer Preview system images are only for the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 7 2013 (wifi). If you do not own one of those devices, we have also enabled the Android emulator to support the L Developer Preview to help developers test their applications.”
Google did not confirm which devices will get an update this new version of Android later this year, but it is very likely that we will see an official Nexus 4 Android L release later this year. Google does not support old devices forever. The Galaxy Nexus is a good example of a device that Google dropped from updates rather quickly. Although the Nexus 4 is nearly as old, chances feel good that Google will include it in the official Android L release.
If you are looking for good news on the Nexus 4 Android L release, a reddit thread highlights several places during the Android L announcement that point to a Nexus 4 Android L update this fall. At this point it is all speculation, but there is also some hope in the fact that the Nexus 4 will support Chromecast mirroring later this year.
Nexus 4 Android L Port Details
The moment after Google announced the Android L developer preview and left off any mention of a Nexus 4 Android L factory image owners started to speculate that a Nexus 4 port would deliver the new features to this older device.
Work is already underway on a Nexus 4 Android L port that could offer a chance to try the Android L Beta on the Nexus 4 without waiting for Google to get around to posting Nexus 4 Android L system images.
A Nexus 4 Android L port is important for developers, not simply because some of these users want to try the new features. It is essential for many small developers that continue to use the Nexus 4 as a development device and need to update apps for the Android L Release this fall.
Ryan Scott is a Cyanogenmod Developer who announced his plans for a Nexus 4 Android L port on Google+ on June 26th. Scott writes,
“Doing a quick port of the Android L Nexus 5 preview to the Nexus 4 (mako) It’s probably going to end up a lot “hacky” but at least this time it’s not from an sdk image. I’m doing this for myself since I don’t have a Nexus 5 but once it’s done if any mako users want it I will provide a zip to flash in custom recoveries (TWRP and CWM)”
In addition to the Google+ thread, there is a long and meandering xda developer thread where some discussion of Android L Nexus 4 port continues.
At this time there is still no Nexus 4 Android L port available for users to flash to the device with a custom recovery. The process could take some time, even though Google did release updated binaries for the Nexus 4.