Thursday, January 15, 2015

12 of the best new features in Android Lollipop

Google recently started rolling out the latest version of its mobile operating system Android, 5.0 Lollipop and it brings lot of new features along with this new version. It not only gets visible changes but also major changes in terms of functioning. The latest android version is already running on the Nexus devices and soon other OEMs will also start rolling out the updates to their devices soon. 
12 of the best new features in Android Lollipop

We have been exploring Android lollipop for a while now and here are some of the best new features that Google added on the latest Android operating system.

Switch to ART
With the Android L, they have switched from Dalvik to ART (Android Runtime). The difference between the two is very simple. Earlier the apps used to compile themselves from the source when you launched them making them a bit slow to launch even on the most powerful devices. With ART, the apps are stored in their compiled form and a tap on the icon would launch them quickly. The difference is clearly visible when using the device. Though the apps take up lot more space now and we realised that the 16 GB Nexus 4 that was doing good for us is short on space now. This explains why the Nexus 6 starts at 32 GB now.

Material design
Well this is the most obvious change here. Android has been the same visibly since ICS came out and the android L has got an entirely different design. It brings a much cleaner and lighter design which looks really impressive. Instead of the depth, the flat appearances and layers work really well.

New lock screen
The lock screen on the new android has been considerably improved. Instead of being just a screen to key in your pin and display time, it can do a lot more now. The notifications are displayed on the lock screen itself and you can interact with them directly. You have the option to choose what notifications can be displayed without entering your pin. Double tapping on the notifications will take you directly to the app like it would do in the notification drawer.

Battery saver mode
Smartphones tend to be power hungry and even the devices with the largest batteries don’t last very long. Android Lollipop features a battery saver mode which allows you to keep your device running longer in desperate times. While the option is available all the time in the battery settings, it offers the option to do that when you are low on battery.

Priority notifications
We took a while to understand how to make full use of this option but once we did, it turned out to be very useful. Using the volume control will not only show the volume bar but also the option of allowing all notifications, priority notifications or no notifications at all. If you tap on none, you won’t get any notifications, not even the alarms and reminders. In priority mode, you will get notifications like alarms and the ones you choose as priority.

Smart lock
This is another interesting option that they have added on the latest android. You can add some trusted devices to your device. This would allow you to unlock the device directly without the need to enter a pin or pattern when the device is in range. This option can be found under the security settings as Smart Lock.

Search everywhere
Have you ever felt lost inside the settings menu? It was very simple with the earlier versions of android but with the newer versions, more options are added in settings and you might find it hard to figure out where you found a particular option the last time. So now they have added the search option in settings as well.

Guest mode
This is one of the best features to be added to the Android Lollipop. You have the option to add multiple user profiles on your device if the device is shared between multiple users. There is also a guest mode for temporary users. The option can be found on top right of the notification drawer.

Quick settings
Along with the notification drawer, they have made changes to the quick settings as well. You don’t have to tap on the corner or pull down with two fingers now (actually two fingers thing is still here). You can simply pull down the notification drawer twice to access that. The options are also more useful as compared to past android versions with options like flashlight and data switch/monitor.

Adaptive brightness
Android versions until now offered you the option of manually setting the brightness or letting the sensor handle it all by itself. There was no adaptive brightness option, something that was seen on Symbian devices long back. So with the AndroidLollipop phones, it finally gets the option. So now you can choose a base brightness for the sensor to start with and adjust in its range according to the surroundings.
lollipop phones

The first thing is that the multitasking view is now called overview and it looks really nice with app windows stacked over one another. It is easy to scroll through the apps and one app can create multiple cards making switching easier. Another interesting thing is that even after you restart the devices, apps are retained in the overview so that you can continue working on whatever apps you were working with even if you have to restart the device for some reason.

Heads up

This feature was seen on the Cyanogen mod based on android KitKat and was a really nice feature. If you are in the middle of, say a game, the notification would appear briefly on top of the screen and then go away. Even the incoming calls won’t take up the entire screen if you are using some other app. And you can simply swipe away the notification sideways and continue with your game.

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Courtesy : Kundan Srivastava

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