Lollipop, lollipop, who’s ready for the lollipop? 5.0 that is! On October 15th, Google has made the move to the next generation of Android OS to better compete with iOS and Windows, and it’s brought some new features with it.
The new Android OS will feature a new runtime referred to as “ART”. With the new runtime, users will see improvements in performance and battery life by compressing apps running in the background and improving over-all performance by about 400% (per Google).
It will also support 64-bit processors, which alone, should result in an immediate peak in performance in new devices.
A new feature called Tap and Go utilizes NFC to easily transfer your information to a new device in the event that you switch or upgrade. You will simply tap the two devices together to make the transfer (settings, apps, etc).
The notifications screen has received a little upgrade giving you extensive control on what appears or doesn’t, including on your lock screen. With a new priority mode, you can specify which notifications and contacts can get through, in case you have sensitive information you prefer to not pop up while the phone may be near other eyes. The quick settings have also been updated with links to common applications such as flashlight and screen rotation.
Lollipop will feature a new “Material Design” interface which will support multiple devices and screen resolutions to create a consistent experience. Like Microsoft with their next generation Metro interface soon to be shared between PCs, phones and Xbox gaming systems, the new Material Design interface will adapt the information on the screen to the device it’s on. This way, one OS can span phones, tablets and even smart watches, allowing a much greater support for apps and cross-device communication.
Google also promises greater battery life with an improved battery-saver feature that can increase the life of your battery by up to 90 minutes.
The improvements in battery may be of use if other hands like to get a hold of your device due to the new Guest User Mode option that allows you to create multiple user accounts. This allows friends or family to be able to use your device without having any access to your private settings and information.
On the topic of security, it will now also support the new Android Smart Lock feature that will allow you to secure it by pairing it to a trusted device (ie, a smartwatch or car).
They have also improved the camera to support 4K playback, the ability to shoot in raw formats and all of the popular settings you tend to find in smartphone cameras now, in regards to sensor, flash and lens.
Finally, a new feature has been added that allows you to continue what you were doing if interrupted (iOS 8 has this feature as well, called Continuity). The feature works across devices and allows you to go back to the songs, images or apps that you were working on, listening to or viewing before.
The largest thing Google has focused on is reliability and performance. Making sure to drastically increase the response of the overall OS and user experience.