Google Launches Android 5.0, Lollipop, what’s new?
Google treated us to another hide and seek when it came to naming the latest Android version. In June at the Google I/O 2014 they said it would be Android L and sure as hell, the “L” stood for something we were all left guessing. Some people thought it would be Android Lol, Lettuce, Lemon Pie, etc. However, turns out that as usual, Google have managed to keep us in the dark to the end. Yesterday, Google launched Android Lollipop. Ahaah! So Lollipop is Android 5.0 and it’s official.
Google’s upgrade of the Android software comes a year after the launch of Android 4.4, KitKat and this time round it’s a huge change, lots of new things in Android 5.0, Lollipop. Let’s check them out:
Android Lollipop features a totally renewed direction in terms of design and aesthetics. Google is calling this the “Material Design Philosophy” and in the new Android OS it is evident. There is use of bright, rich colors and addition of depth to create shadows, giving the OS a very minimal and reserved look. The intention is to make something that is simple and interesting to use. In June, Google tech analysts suggested that Google Plus mobile app was a very good example to use if you want to see this philosophy in action. Google Play Store has since been updated to show case the material design ideal and that’s another one of the apps you can check out to understand what Google is bringing to all other applications on Android.
You will notice more white space and awesomely made transparent flares here and there. Animated effects with lots of color also grace the Android version when you interact with the screen.
Borrowing a leaf from iOS, Google introduced notifications that show up as cards in the middle of the lock screen. To respond to the notifications, you just type away from the lock screen without having to unlock the phone for you to get into the specific application where the notifications originate. However, to control your privacy, Google allows you to edit your notifications settings enabling you to control what kind of notifications appear at the lock screen.
It’s also possible for you to be having several notifications from various applications. Google says it’s not going to let you have a thousand notification cards on your lock screen, yep! The Mountain view search engine giant says that Android 5.0 is smart enough to know which notifications are more important and which ones aren’t. The less important notifications will therefore be hidden away somewhere for when you have time to unlock the screen and reply to them.
Google also introduced a new priority mode for when you’re too busy using your phone watching a video or playing a game. This mode enables you to be shown only the most important notifications. You can turn this feature on or off by using the volume down or up button. Also, on the notifications that pop up at the top of the screen, Lollipop gives you the flexibility of answering these without even needing to open the notifications drop-down menu. If you don’t want to answer the text now you could just swipe it up to store it in your notification menu for when you’re ready to answer. Smart huh?!
Lollipop introduces “Recents”, a menu that shows apps which are running in the background. The menu has been designed to stack the apps the way tabs are usually stacked on top of each other in Google Chrome for Android. This is a shift from what we have had before where apps running in the background are shown as a list on the right hand side of the screen. In the new Android version, you are able to scroll the recent apps list like you do with Android’s Chrome tabs.
Creation of Multiple user profiles
Google added to smartphones what has been available on Android tablets since Android Jelly Bean. You can now create multiple user profiles and allow or disallow apps and settings for these profiles. Say for example, you created a user profile on your phone for your kids, then maybe more for family or friends, you can now be able to set what apps and settings are available for your kid when they are using your phone. They won’t play games or access adult apps if you don’t want them to.
Forgot your phone somewhere? Google has made it possible for you to log into another Lollipop device to access your contacts, photos and messages. There is also a guest mode, like it is on computers so no one can access particular parts of your phone or tablet while still managing to access the general stuff.
Swipe down to access quick settings
Google has altered the swipe down feature that usually has quick settings for brightness, mobile network, Wi-Fi, etc. By swiping down with two fingers downwards from the top of the screen, you get more controls for a hotspots, screen casting and access to a flashlight. Google has also worked on the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Location services and brightness controls to improve them enabling you for instance, to change the brightness setting without necessarily turning off automatic brightness.
Battery Saver Mode
Android 5.0 Lollipop packs a new battery saver mode to make your phone focus on saving more battery when your battery is low. The new mode turns of background data and clocks down the phone’s CPU to achieve this.
Lollipop adds the new Battery Saver mode, which clocks down the CPU and turns off background data when your phone needs a little extra juice. You can turn it on manually or program it to turn on automatically when your battery drops too low, and Google says it can add up to 90 minutes of extra life.
You can now also see how much time your phone has left before it’s fully charged when you pull it in, and in the battery settings menu, you can see approximately how much time your phone’s battery has left before you need to charge it. The battery saver mode is a feature you can turn on or off as needed both manually or by programming your phone to get into action when your battery is running low. According to Google, this mode can add up-to 90 minutes of extra battery life.
You can also see how much time is left before your battery gets full when you plug in the charger. In the battery settings, you also get to see how much time before your phone needs to charged again.
You can now unlock your device when your paired Bluetooth device is near. It could be a smartwatch or headphones, etc. When your paired Bluetooth device gets further and much further away, you will only unlock your phone using the usual PIN, Password or unlock pattern.
There are more changes on Lollipop, having explained the major ones, below are a few minor changes you should know about:
- You can now migrate accounts from your old phone to your new one using NFC, all it takes is to tap both phones to each other.
- Multimedia performance is has been beefed up.
- Control settings for the camera lens, sensor and flash have been added.
- You can print preview on Android 5.0 Lollipop, including the ability to select a specific page or page range when printing.
- Improved network switching, you can keep video chatting over Skype without getting disconnected when you switch from Wi-Fi to mobile data.
- Unlike before when your phone could search for all available networks, now, your phone will connect to Wi-Fi when it searches and finds a verified Internet connection.
- ART Android Runtime will improve the performance of your mobile apps.
- Android 5.0 will now support 64 bit devices like the Nexus 9 and other apps native to the 64-bit architecture.
- 68 languages are now supported on Android Lollipop.