Will Verduzco · Jun 22, 2014 at 03:00 pm

AOSP Commits Reveal Change to API Level Naming Convention

Google I/O 2014 is just a few short days away, and many of us waiting on the edges of our seats in hopes of a new Android release. There’s naturally much speculation to be had as to what this upcoming version will bring when it eventually reaches consumers. However, we’ve also been able to glean relevant information about the future of Android by looking at recent AOSP merges.

Recently, we talked about how the next major Android release is poised to remove Dalvik runtime compiler altogether and set ART as default. That, however, is not the only piece of information that can be had about the future of Android. New merges to the AOSP master branch by Googler Andrew Hsieh indicate that the next major version of Android will revise API level naming convention.

Up until now, Android API level naming convention has dictated that all versions receive numerical API levels. This started with Android 1.0, which was API level 1, and has continued onward to KitKat, which is API level 19.

Now according to two recent merges to the AOSP master branch, it seems like 64-bit API levels will be renamed to non-numeric characters, with the 64-bit iteration of the Android-L release receiving the letter “L” for its API level. The merges themselves mention that this new naming convention is tentative, though this will potentially make things easier for developers creating native apps with the NDK.

Change 99021 – Merged
64-bit in android-L
Tentatively rename 64-bit API level to non-numeric: ‘L’
Change-Id: I676099e467d5426da6cd1d96d63fc201f78ce533

Change 99016 – Merged
64-bit in android-L
See https://android-review.googlesource.com/#/c/99021/
Change-Id: I10daf2da97aa9d3c99661b5d79080b96a0ae9f22

What do you make of all of this? If nothing else, it further goes to show the heavy emphasis Google is placing on 64-bit computing in Android-L (perhaps Lollipop?). Share your thoughts and conspiracy theories in the comments below.

[Many thanks to XDA Recognized Developer helicopter88 for the heads up!]


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Will Verduzco

willverduzco is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. Will Verduzco is the Portal Administrator for the XDA-Developers Portal. He has been addicted to mobile technology since the HTC Wizard. But starting with the Nexus One, his gadget love affair shifted to Google's little green robot. He is also a Johns Hopkins University graduate in neuroscience and is now currently studying to become a physician. View willverduzco's posts and articles here.
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