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Android 5.0 Lollipop

It’s that time again when smartphone manufacturers start frantically trying to release OS updates to their latest handsets after Google announce the latest version of its hugely popular Android Operating System. After Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), Jelly Bean (4.1 – 4.3) and KitKat (4.4) comes Lollipop (Android 5.0) with many new features and a brand new look.

The list of features includes:

Multiple user accounts - you can share your device with a family member without giving them access to your data, it includes a Guest mode if you want to let a work colleague or other acquaintance borrow your handset.

Improved Notification System and Face Unlock - Notifications appear on the lock-screen and can be tapped to view, or double tapped to action. If the phone recognises your face you’ll go straight to the app, if not it prompts for a PIN/password etc. If a notification (call/SMS/email  etc.) appears whilst you are using the phone it discreetly appears at the top of the screen.

Material Design – the appearance has changed dramatically; simple bold colouring and a more uniform layout make apps easier to use, content responds to your touch as you interact with it and there are animations everywhere.

Performance – Android 5.0 brings a new runtime as standard. ART replaces the aging Dalvik runtime to improve performance up to 3x. Apps take up marginally more space and take longer to install, but the trade-off is speedier performance and better battery life.
Other – Priority Notifications allow only specific people or apps to get through to you at times that you chose. Battery Saver puts your phone into low-power mode to eek out those extra hours when you really need them. Quick Settings have been improved to include a flashlight toggle, easier WiFi/Bluetooth switching, adaptive brightness and a Wireless Hotspot toggle. Smart Unlock also negates the need for a PIN or password to unlock your device if you are in the vicinity of a smartband or NFC tag.

Android 5.0 Lollipop is yet another vast improvement over its predecessor, maybe even more so than the jump up to Ice Cream Sandwich. I’ve been running the Developer Preview (LPX13D) for a couple of weeks and the user interface changes make interacting with the device so much easier. Apps load faster and look better, especially as the design guidelines gradually become adhered to by developers.


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