Google is rolling out Android 5.0 Lollipop, the biggest update in Android’s history, later this week. If you carry a Nexus device, a Moto X or G, you are in luck as you’ll be among the first to be able to upgrade to the swanky new version.
While the stock Android experience was never ugly since the arrival of the ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ update, the OS design still lacked a certain ‘wow factor’. The Lollipop promises to change all that by introducing to you what Google calls Material design. What does it mean for you? Material design adds a huge splash of colours, tactile layers and subtle animations that will make you fall in love with your phone even more.
This is one area Google nailed right at the start, and Apple has since been trying hard to catch up. Lollipop fundamentally enhances the way we interact with Android notifications. These notifications now also appear on the lock screen. Although previous versions of Android made it possible to access the notification panel from the lock screen (if you chose not to lock your device), it was still an extra, unnecessary step.
Google loves giving fancy names to it’s feature-specific projects within the OS. Android Jelly Bean saw ‘Project Butter’ (an effort to provide ‘butter smooth’ navigation). Lollipop has Project Volta: It is Google’s OS-centric solution to a problem every smartphone user faces — poor battery life. Lollipop in Battery Saver mode is still a smartphone, but it’s one that won’t push anything to your attention. If you want to see e-mail, you have to open the mail app. While there are clear trade- offs, most of us will live with this when our phone drops below 10% battery.
Android has allowed multiple user accounts on tablets for a while, but in Lollipop, there’s a new option called Guest Mode that works on both phones and tablets. With this option, your guests can log in, make a call or check their email and log out without affecting your settings or data.
Regardless of how successful Android has become, Google is still a search company at heart. It wants you to use Google search for every thing you do. This is clearly reflected in Lollipop’s design as Google Search is now a system-wide voice search provider. All your entertainment, social and information needs are fulfilled by a singular unified system, ‘Google Search’.