In Brief: Android 5.0 Lollipop

Remember the song by the Chordettes, “Lollipop” and its simple phrase: “Lollipop, lollipop oh lolli lolli lolli lollipop lollipop”? Try not humming that to yourself the rest of the day!

Android 5.0, or Lollipop, is Google’s updated Android OS that runs various smartphone and mobile devices made by the likes of Samsung, HTC, LG and Motorola, to name a few. ReadWrite calls Lollipop Android’s transformation from “glitchy experiment to mature commercial platform.” Here’s what you need to know:

Security

New Android devices, by default, now come encrypted. Excellent. Perhaps the bigger news, however, is the “kill switch,” or, as Google has named it, “Factory Reset Protection.” As Re/Code explains,

Essentially, it requires a password before a phone can be reset, ideally preventing thieves from making use of stolen phones.

Re/Code also explains some additional security features that will prove to be useful:

Also on the security front, Google is turning on encryption by default, and Lollipop is the first version with support for separate user profiles on phones, making it easier for parents to hand off their devices to their kids. (Android already supported multiple users for tablets.) Google is also building in support for businesses that want to separate work and personal data.

Having endured the struggles of keeping Google Apps business stuff separate from my every day Gmail stuff (not as easy as you’d expect), building in support for businesses to separate work and personal data strikes me as a no brainer.

Notifications and Customization

From NDTV Gadgets review:

Android 5.0 Lollipop’s lock screen displays richer notifications, and users can view and respond to messages directly from the lock screen. In fact, Google has further gone ahead with notifications and included rich floating descriptive notifications on top of your activity. Users will be able to view or dismiss any notifications without moving away from an activity.

Essentially, Google has provided better overall control for Notifications.

I read this and thought that defeats the purpose of security. What’s the point of locking my phone if messages can be viewed and responded to without first unlocking the phone! Oh. Right. I merely had to keep reading:

Users will be able to control notifications triggered by their apps, and choose to hide sensitive content, apart from prioritising or turning off an app’s notifications completely.

That answers that. There are numerous customizations you can make to notifications, too. For example, you can turn on Priority Mode from the device’s volume button, allowing only certain people or certain messages to get through. That will be handy for days spent in meetings, or during conferences.

Design and Other Highlights

Check Google’s Lollipop page for a complete list, and further explanation. Material Design is a big one, reflecting Google’s plan for a complete overhaul to give you “consistent, intuitive experiences across all devices.” Judging by screen shots alone, it looks pretty slick.

Lollipop introduces a battery saving feature that extends battery life by up to 90 minutes, and pulling a page from some popular Android apps like NQ Booster, you’ll be able to see time left until fully charged while plugged in, and time left before a recharge in the Battery settings.

Being a FitBit user, I was intrigued by the Connectivity improvements and improved network hand-offs. I don’t have great reception in my apartment, so my phone runs off wifi. The signal, without fail, dies when switching from wifi to network or vise versa, causing me to either pace my apartment or walk around the block until the call is finished. With Lollipop, it sounds like Google has resolved that issue.

We can argue over device size later. Right now, who’s excited for Lollipop?!

Feature image courtesy of Google.

About Gwynne Monahan

Gwynne Monahan
Best known by her Twitter handle, @econwriter5. Generally speaking, she is a writer posting random, perhaps interesting, things.

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