Google started rolling out Android 4.4 KitKat in October last year, a major update to the Jelly Bean series that it first introduced a year before. This year too Google has released a major Android update called 5.0 Lollipop, and as you would expect, it packs in several important and handy features. The update started rolling out for a few devices last week, and we have spent a considerable time with it over the weekend. The operating system brings several massive upgrades, including the much awaited new design language called Material Design, several security features, interactive notifications, and more. Here are some of the features we loved. Also Read - Google Play Store announces blanket ban on Sugar Daddy apps over sexual content
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The first thing you are bound to notice on Android 5.0 Lollipop is the massive graphical overhaul. The rather formal and monotonous Holo design, which the company implemented with Android ICS, is finally a thing of the past. The new Material Design philosophy looks more beautiful and exciting, brings bold colors, depth effects, and animations, while a responsiveness nature to mold itself into any screen size, and display ratio. The cards-based interface now resembles a lot to physical cards by giving a sense of weight and shadows. It’s definitely eye-catching. Also Read - Google, Facebook make vaccination mandatory for employees returning to office
There are several more neat little additions that enrich the overall user experience. For instance, the screen makes little circles when you touch it to give a sense that it responding. Navigating across different apps too looks amazing, and even the tabs you have opened in the Chrome browser show up while you’re checking different apps in the background.
Android’s notification system has always been top-notch. But with the latest update, it has been further improved. Right off the bat, the notifications now align better with card-esque interface that the company is aggressively pushing across most of its products. Notifications now appear on the lock screen as well, requiring little less hassle from your end while checking your phone.
But what’s more interesting is this new ability to interact with the notifications. Google is making it easier for users to decide what apps they want to see the notifications from. Don’t want to get Facebook notifications while you’re at work? Tap and press on the Facebook notification you have, click on the circular icon, and you will see an option to quickly stop getting notifications from that particular app.
Unlike previous versions of Android, the new notification system won’t take up your entire screen. Google has also ensured better alignment between the notification and actions systems. Just swipe and pull down the notifications, and you get the action system. In previous versions, you had to tap on a button from the notifications to go there.
Better battery management
With Android 5.0, Google is also introducing something called Project Volta, with which the company is giving users and developers more detailed information of what has been hogging the battery. For an end-user, what this means is that you get a better understanding of what apps have been draining the battery, as well as a pretty accurate time estimation of how long your device is likely to last until the next charge with your current usage. The operating system also tells you how much time it will take your phone to charge to 100 percent.
There is also a new feature called Battery Saver, wherein the operating system shuts down most of its apps and services and uses least of the processing powers so that your phone can last for a little longer. Google claims that it will offer you as much as 90 extra minutes. In our testing, we did find a noticeable improvement. This is something that would come in handy to most of the users.
Guest Mode is easily one of the handiest features on Lollipop. If you ever have to share your phone with others, but don’t want them looking into your apps and personal data, this feature has come to rescue. Enabling it is pretty easy as well. Simply drag down the Quick Settings by pulling down the Notification bar. Once you’re there, click on the ‘Add Guest’ mode, and the device will instantly take you to a home screen where only core Google apps work.
With Lollipop, the network capability of the device has received massive improvements as well. The operating system now understands when you’ve lost a working data connection, and quickly switches to other available networks. The device doesn’t ask you for your permission, and automatically switches the network. This is rather handy, as it allows you to have a seamless connection.
Other handy features
The operating system has lots of other handy little additions that users are likely to find useful. For instance, instead of “Ok, Google”, you can say “Abey Google”, or “Arey Google” to start the voice search. This was first discovered by the folks at PriceBaba.
While it was already there in several custom ROMs, and possible with the help of third-party apps, Google has for the first time, brought screen rotation, hotspot controls, casting and several other features in the Quick Settings. By swiping down the notification bar twice, you get quick access to Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth toggles as well. The other small, yet handy additions is when you click on Wi-Fi text in the Quick Settings, you are taken to the Wi-Fi settings page.
Screen pinning also seemed like a useful addition. For instance when I want to give my phone to a friend to show some Facebook post or a meme, I can lock that screen to make sure that the person is not able to look into any other apps.
Have you tried Android Lollipop yet? What are your favorite features? Share with us in the comments section below.