Android L is finally here – and it’s not Key Lime Pie, Licorice or Lemon Meringue Pie. Google has named it “Lollipop”, keeping up with the trend of naming its OSes after treats. The new Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system has landed first on the latest Nexus devices –Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player.
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.
As with all OS updates, there are minor improvements on the camera, video and audio experience, along with better multitasking, performance and battery life. Overall, Lollipop will provide a smoother user experience, more usable apps and services and help you manage bloatware. Google has also announced it will re-enable microSD card writing support and segmentation of firmware for older devices.