Android L is finally here – and it’s not Key Lime Pie or Licorice. Google has named it “Lollipop”, keeping up with it’s dessert-name trend. The new Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system has landed first on the latest Nexus devices – Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player.
Android L’s most obvious new feature is the inclusion of Material Design, a new design interface that is notable for its flatter icons and its physics-based animations that will give both Android apps and the platform itself a smoother and more consistent user experience.
Although Material Design is the most noticeable change with Android 5.0, it’s far from the only one.
Google has also implemented a new lock screen that comes with notifications that won’t force you to open up an app to take action on them. So for instance, you’ll be able to delete email messages from your device’s lock screen or from your notifications center now without having to actually open up Gmail to trash them.
Android 5.0 is also the first version of Android that’s been optimized for 64-bit architecture, which will presumably open the floodgates for hardware manufacturers to start cranking out 64-bit Android smartphones and tablets. This is important because chips with more bits can handle more memory, which means that a 32-bit chip is designed to handle memory addresses of up to 32 bits while a 64-bit chip is designed to handle memory addresses of up to 64 bits.
Android chief Sundar Pichai had earlier said this is the largest and most ambitious release on Android to date. Here are best features announced in the latest Android OS:
1. Pick up where you left off
Similar to Continuity in iOS 8, Lollipop lets you pick up where you left off, so the songs, photos, apps, and even recent searches from one of your Android devices can be immediately accessed across devices.
2. Multiple device compatibility
Lollipop will support devices with different screen sizes including wearables such as smartwatches, TVs and cars. According to Google, it is designed to be flexible, so that it can work on all your devices and customised for your needs.
3. Material Design
In order to maintain a consistent design experience across all Android devices, Lollipop uses the Material Design interface across devices it runs on.With Material Design, elements can dynamically shrink and expand, there’s more white space between elements, and gives a 3D appearance overall. While we are yet to try it out ourselves, Google claims that the new design is more intuitive and transitions between tasks are more fluid.
4. Updated camera
Lollipop makes it easier to support features like burst mode and fine settings tuning. You’ll be able to capture full resolution frames around 30fps, and shoot in raw formats like YUV and Bayer RAW. There’s also support for UHD 4K video playback, tunneled video for high quality video playback on Android TV and improved streaming. Lollipop adds professional features to control settings for the sensor, lens and flash per individual frame.
5. Battery settings
There’s a new battery-saver feature that extends the life of your device by up to 90 minutes—helpful if you’re far from a power outlet. It’s also easier to manage your power usage. The OS adds a feature which gives the estimated time left before you need to charge and, when it’s charging, it tells you approximately how much time it will need to charge before it’s ready to go.
6. Improved security
Share your device securely with guest user mode, create multiple user accounts to enable friends to log in on your device. In either case, no one will be able to access your private files. There’s Android Smart Lock to secure your phone or tablet by pairing it with a trusted device like your wearable or even your car. Google has enforced the SELinux security module for all apps to give better protection against vulnerabilities and malware.
7. Updated notifications screen
You can now view and respond to messages directly from your lock screen, or hide notifications for sensitive content. Turning on Priority mode through your device’s volume button will allow only certain people and notifications get through.You can also choose to avoid calls from interrupting the game you are playing or the movie you are watching.
8. New Quick Settings
The updated Quick Settings on the notification screen has new handy controls such as flashlight, hotspot, screen rotation and cast screen controls. While these settings were not on older stock-Android devices, they may already be present on other customised Android devices. Similarly, you can manually adjust the brightness for certain conditions, while adaptive brightness will kick in based on ambient lighting.
9. Smoother experience
Google uses a new runtime on Android (called ART), which claims to improve app performance, battery life and responsiveness. Google claims that the new OS improves Android’s performance by four times. It compacts background apps and services so you can do more at once. There’s also support for 64-bit chips now.
10. Tap and Go
Tap and Go for NFC devices lets you set up your new Android phone or tablet instantly by simply tapping it to your old one. Whenever you get a new Android phone or tablet, you can sync your apps from Google Play automatically from any of your old Android devices.
11. Kill Switch and Improved Security
Android 5.0 Lollipop will come with an opt-in kill switch dubbed ‘Factory Reset Protection’, which will allow users to wipe out the device’s data on will. If a user activates this feature, they will be required to enter their Google login to factory reset the device and it will only work when the phone passcode is enabled. Google also says that new devices come with encryption automatically turned on to help protect data on lost or stolen devices. Google had announced the feature last month, after Apple revealed its own version. Not much is known about this feature as yet, but we will soon find out the details.
12. A New Messenger App
There is a new Messenger app that will be shipping with the Nexus 6 as part of Android 5.0 Lollipop It is said to be a more simplified of Hangouts, and is not a replacement for it, says a Google spokesperson, “Messenger and Hangouts offer users choice, each have their own benefits. Hangouts work great for cross platform (web, iOS, Android) and cross medium communications (video, voice,messaging, SMS). Messenger will be specially designed to be a quick and easy way to send and receive SMS and MMS messages on Android; more to come (Nexus 6 will come with both apps).”
And finally, Android 5.0 features a bunch of improvements in battery efficiency thanks to Google’s Project Volta, which has been working on ways to extend your Android device’s battery life by as much as 90 extra minutes when it’s low on power.
Google has been kind to confirm that Android 5.0 Lollipop is coming to the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 along with Google Play edition devices, in the coming weeks.
Motorola gets dibs on first lineup, as Motorola’s most new launches will get Lollipop almost as soon as Nexus devices.these include both generations of the Moto X and Moto G (including the US LTE model), Moto E, and US based Droid Maxx, Droid Mini and Droid Ultra.
Expect to hear from other companies in a while, although HTC’s new launches including the HTC Desire 820, new Desire Eye will ship with Android L out of the box later this month, hence the delay in launch.
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