Google left Nexus 4 users in the dark when it first made the Android L developer preview available to the Nexus 5 and 7. At that point speculation fuelled by numerous rumours appeared to have to have sealed the Nexus 4’s fate, considering that the latter was more than 18 months old, and would thus be ineligible for a fresh Android ‘L’ upgrade.
It however turns out that multiple Googlers are running Android L test builds internally, or at least that’s what numerous Chrommium bug tracker indicate. Google employees were caught running a previously unknown Android build dubbed “LRW52G” which appears to have been compiled on August 21, 2014. It’s currently unknown if Google will eventually roll out Android L to the Nexus 4 but it’s fairly certain that the company is already working and evaluating the bits on the Nexus 4 hardware.
This doesn’t necessarily imply that the update will make it to OTA channels considering that the Nexus 4 internals are fairly old by modern standards—the availability of recent SoC sources may be pose an obstacle in this case, Qualcomm has completely dropped support for their older SoC lineup in their latest kernel branch (msm-3.10) which is scheduled to roll out with Android L. Their list of ‘legacy’ SoCs includes the Snapdragon S1-S600 series which are no longer being maintained; their defconfigs and arch drivers were explicitly and intentionally deprecated and entirely removed in both Google’s msm-3.10 and CAF Kernel 3.10 branch. It’s reasonable to assume that Google will most definitely ship Android L on the Nexus 4 with the ageing Kernel 3.4 base which will soon be discontinued in a matter of months.
That would be a sensible compromise if Google intends to update the Nexus 4 with Android L which would also most probably be the handset’s last major upgrade before’s its eventual EOL. After all, having slightly more than 2 years of software is a fair bargain for any Android device.