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What’s new in the Android 5.0 Lollipop – Top Features

Oh hello, Nexus 5. With the bright and fresh look on the screen. Android Lollipop is finally here, and you can manually flash it onto your Nexus 5 if you don’t want to wait for the OTA update, the roll out of which has started already. We take a look into the new OS version and check out what’s new. If you are one of those waiting and rather wanted to have it already on your Nexus 5, follow this guide.

And mind you, this exact experience will be seen on only those smartphones which will run the stock ROM, or one which is not very much tweaked. Nexus devices, Motorola’s Moto X, Moto G and such are the ones where you would enjoy the actual material design.

Material Design

Android Lollipop Feature Material Design

The first major change. iOS 7 was the major one for Apple, where not just several features were added, but there was an overhaul in the design. This time, it is Google making big changes to the design, and the Material Design is simply a visual treat for the users. The effects, bold colors and the shapes for everything in the interface, is made perfectly.

More animations are seen when you even open the app drawer, open any app or drag down the notification panel. While dragging down, you can notice the top tray expanding and collapsing when you take it back up.

New Notification Panel

Android Lollipop Feature Notification Panel

The notification section is what gives the user an insight of all the recent updates. Apple brought about several changes to it, and gave notifications right on the lock screen. Similar is now the case with Android Lollipop, where you can quickly check the notifications shown on the lock screen, drag them up to open the actual notification panel, which has a collapsed quick settings panel.

Dragging the panel down would expand the quick settings. The good thing is, you don’t always want to have the quick settings on the top using the screen real estate, thus they are always in collapsed state, unless you drag and expand them.

The user can now even individually mute notifications from any particular app, i.e. can choose to mute Facebook notifications and receive them from other apps, and even prioritize to get other updates on top.

On supported devices (we are already seeing this on Nexus 5), these notifications can be given a quick glance at, to preview them on the lock screen.

Calendar and Gmail Sync

The way Gmail and Calendar apps sync in the Android lollipop, there is not much you need to do if you had to schedule meetings or appointments based on the time mentioned in the email.

If you bought any tickets for a movie, or have flight tickets in your mail, the Gamil app scans through it and adds that to the Calendar app with the details. You don’t have to do it manually, and if you choose to do so, that too is quite improved with the new Assists feature.

App Switcher / Multitasking

Android Lollipop Feature App Switcher

App switching is too mainstream, right? Android Lollipop now has what they call “switching between operations” and not just between the apps. It is just the same multitasking shortcut you need to go to, but in there, it is not just the plain thumbnail of the running app, but a live mini version of the app showing up.

The running apps are shown in a vertical carousel (rolodex) format, and they look much better than the previous multitasking bar without any overlap, where you had to swipe up or down to check all the running apps.

Ability to add Profiles / Guest Mode

Android Lollipop Feature Guest Mode

Android tablets have had the option of adding multiple profiles for different users, but Android Lollipop brings this feature for every device. A temporary blank profile is created for someone who goes into Guest Mode, and this is how a user can hide all the unread notifications while giving the phone to someone, and get them back when logging back into their own profile.

Under multiple user profiles, each user can have their own home screen layouts, apps and settings. How cool is that?

Battery Saving Mode

Android Lollipop Feature Battery Saver

Again, this is one of such features that you see not as a part of the stock OS but as a feature in the different ROMs from brands. For example, there’s power saving and Ultra Power Saving Mode from Samsung in its latest flagships.

Android Lollipop has its own battery saving mode, which kicks in when the battery percentage is below 15%. You can choose to change that to any percentage when it should activate automatically. It reduces the performance and background data, to give some longer use on low battery.

Multiple Mail Accounts under Gmail

Now the single Gmail account can have emails from different mail boxes, helping in unification. This was a part of list of features in Gmail 5.0 app, but still worthy of a mention here. The user can now add an extra account by going to Gmail > Settings > Add Account and that is now not limited to Google account but you can add even Yahoo! and Outlook accounts.

Smart Lock for unlocking the screen

Android Lollipop Feature Smart Lock

If you have set a screen lock, you can now use any trusted devices to unlock the screen without having to always type-in the password or draw the pattern. Smart Lock feature allows Bluetooth enabled devices to unlock the screen of Android Lollipop running smartphone.

For that, you need to set up screen lock, and then you can set up the trusted devices for Smart Lock.

There are loads of other changes, excellent features. We did limit this to the most important ones, which are worth noticing when you are using the Android Lollipop for the first time. This interface is fresh, colorful and even a first time Android user should get going easily while using it.

Also, don’t miss this uber-cool “Flappy bird” like game as an easter egg on your Android Lollipop device. You will love it. It is as frustrating as it can be.

Android Lollipop Feature Doodle

Which features did you love in the new Android 5.0 Lollipop?

By Chetan Bhawani on Thursday 13th of Nov 2014


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