One always knows that Google pairs the release of a new hardware with a software that is worth raving about. The release of the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, both exquisite pieces of hardware, is only news worthy since they are expected to come with Lollipop, which is Android’s fifth instalment of the candy-themed OS for smart phones. Lollipop is in the news for some of the features Google plans to introduce this year and here is a list of ones users can expect with the release.
Google’s announcement of the beta release for Lollipop in June 2014 at the I/O conference made headlines, but information surrounding the OS was vague, and for the most part, concocted. Hype generated pressure and Google has put in a lot of hard work to tackle the pressure of living up to massive expectations. One of the first features that is worth mentioning is the 64-bit computing ability in Lollipop. Google has finally taken to 64-bit architecture–a staple in modern computing architecture–supporting 64-bit CPU and Android RunTime Library. Simply put, this feature translates into a much faster device, which is a necessary improvement, since most app developers are now adopting the 64-bit platform and its components.
When Inbox, Gmail’s competitor was announced, scores of people lined up for an invite to try the app. Google smartly put out Inbox, a rival to the official Gmail app giving users an option to choose between the two, although both do not differ much in operation. Inbox is for power users and for those who would like a better interface to interact with their email. Gmail, on the other hand, now syncs email with let us say a Google calendar to simulate Inbox and keep one updated with their schedule. For a practical application of this feature, let us say one books a flight for the 20th of the month, Gmail will automatically sync the travel date to a calendar and remind the user, so they do not miss the flight.
If this new feature of auto-syncing is interesting, for those concerned with privacy, the issue is still a big concern. Until now, Android has been susceptible to hackers, but with Lollipop Android 5.0, an enhanced security system will keep nosy people at bay. A device encryption ability automatically locks data on a stolen or lost phone, while Samsung’s Knox security suite is integrated to make Lollipop the most robust OS to date. A Smart Lock Feature is introduced for Android fans whose use of the OS extends to tablets and smart wear. Your devices are now linked and share the same security feature, which means you can now unlock your phone with a smart watch or Bluetooth-based headphones.
The poor battery life on some Android handsets have always been a huge let down. Lollipop promises to handle battery life better by introducing a new battery saver feature when the battery drops to lower than 15%. For those who have to rely on popular battery saver apps like DU Battery Saver, this feature is a fixer-upper. The new feature now keeps the device “alive” for 90 minutes if the battery dropped to lower than 15% and gives users an estimate on how long it takes to charge the phone.
Simplicity attracts more users than complexity and it seems that Google has latched on to this marketing mantra. Trimming the interface down to its basics leaves the OS as operable as it can be even on older hardware. Realistic shadows and motions make the icons look better, while an improved and animated notifications panel, as well as a tasteful palette of colors balance the simple approach to the design of the user interface.
This year has been an interesting one for technology and smart phones. Apple introduced iOS 8, albeit riddled with issues that required two updates in a short period. Nonetheless, this did not deter fans from taking a liking to the new and improved Apple iPhone 6. Can Google repeat Apple’s success with the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 without software glitches in Lollipop? Only time can answer that question, but until then, look out for more features to be announced in the days following up to the official release.
By Rathan Paul Harshavardan