Always one to keep you on your toes, internet giant Google has released its latest update to the world of Android, yet again named after a sweet treat- Lollipop. And, like with any Android update before it, Android Lollipop brings a number of new and exciting features. So if you’re currently running on Android KitKat or even Jelly Bean, here’s what you can expect to gain with Google’s latest version of the world’s most popular operating system.
A fresh new look
Although Android KitKat marked a massive break away from its previous version of Android, Lollipop has introduced some more subtle changes. Thankfully the large app icons are still in, making the most of the big screens that feature on many Android flagships including the 6-inch Google Nexus 6. Screens have also been given a fresh new look with a brighter, more vibrant colour palette, ditching KitKat’s otherwise dark design.
Which smartphone introduces Android Lollipop? The Motorola Nexus 6! Read our review here.
However, Google has done more than just change the colour scheme on Android Lollipop compared to KitKat. The main navigation buttons have undergone a massive transformation, from outdated return and home icons to clean-looking triangle, circle and square icons.
Some of the other app icons for Google services have also been transformed, making them appear more 3D.
Share across all your devices
When it comes to functions on Android Lollipop, there’s shed loads on offer, starting with the new sharing tool that Google has introduced.
Similar to the Continuity feature on Apple’s iOS 8, Lollipop allows users to start a task on one Android device and finish it off on another, which is great news for anyone who owns more than just an Android smartphone. This feature is particularly useful if you’re eager to get in on the smartwatch action as Lollipop will link seamlessly from your Android watch to your smartphone or even tablet.
Google has also made considerations for users who are always on the go. Using the new priorities function, you can now select exactly who- if anyone- can get through when you’re in the middle of an important job, making you more productive as a result.
You can change your settings to ‘do not disturb’, or even choose particular contacts who can break through the barrier in contacting you. With the Priorities feature- which is accessible via your volume buttons- you can even select particular contacts whose notifications should ring through loudly even when your phone is set to silent mode, ensuring that you never miss an important call again.
Multiple User Accounts
Google has vamped up security with Lollipop through the use of multiple user accounts. If you share your devices with the family or even work colleagues, simply set up a guest user account to make sure that no-one but you gets a hold of your personal stuff.
Not only that, but Lollipop enables you to restrict what apps and information can be accessed via a guest account, keeping pesky kids away from downloading any pricy apps or from using up all of your data! Although this feature was enabled on tablets with Android Jelly Bean, the expansion to all Android smartphones with Lollipop really brings this feature to life.
If someone wants to borrow your phone to test out a particular app, Google has also gone that step further to protect your device. Using a new pinning feature, you can ‘pin’ any app to your screen, so that no one can access any other programme on your smartphone or tablet. Now you’re protected from that friend who might accidentally scroll through your browsing history, or accidentally update your Facebook status…
Battery Saver Feature
One real gripe for most smartphone users has always been battery performance, and thankfully this is a matter that Google has taken into its own hands with Lollipop’s battery saver feature.
Your battery settings will not only reveal how much battery you have left, but also how long you’ve got until you will need to charge it again. And now you can enact the battery saver mode, your Android phone will extend its battery life for up to 90 minutes while you rush home to find a charger. And just in case you forgot that you were running out of juice, Android Lollipop turns your top bar orange as an alert to plug in!
Tap to wake and OK Google
Last but not least are these two cool new features that Google has brought to our smartphones: tap to wake and an advanced OK Google.
Similar to the ‘Knock On’ feature on LG devices, Lollipop’s tap to wake function allows you to quickly glance at your notifications with a quick tap on the screen. Also, for those of you who make use of Google’s personal assistant, you can now activate the function by saying “OK Google” even when the device is hibernating, making it quicker than ever to get the information you need.
If you already own an Android phone, then the update is being rolled out from November onwards, so you could be one of the first to install Lollipop sooner than you think.
Haven’t got an Android phone already? Check our our range of Androids from the biggest manufacturers on the market.