Four months after Google I/O (and plenty of debates on what it would be called), Google has finally revealed the latest version of Android: Lollipop. Besides the all-important name, what else did Google reveal about Android 5.0? Not much, really: we’ve already been shown all of Lollipop’s major features.
We’ve seen the lovely Material Design, the battery saver, the new ART runtime. However, the features list had been quietly updated’ here’s what you should know…
- Battery saver now extends your battery life by 90 minutes, instead of a mere 15 minutes back when it was announced at I/O. We’ve tried this out on a Nexus 5 running the Lollipop Developer Preview. It slows your phone down to a crawl, but when your battery is low and you need that juice it’s quite acceptable.
- You can view an estimated time left till your device is fully charged when it’s plugged in. Once you unplug it, you can view an estimate of how many hours your battery will last. This is another feature we found in the developer preview – and the keyword here is ‘estimate’: the numbers can vary by quite a bit.
- Support for 68+ languages including SINHALA AND TAMIL! Yes, that’s right!
- New devices will come with encryption automatically turned on to help protect data on lost or stolen devices.
- Multiple users for phones, including a guest account. Now you can share your phone but they’ll have a harder time trying to get your embarrassing photos and leaking them onto the internet.
- USB Audio support. Which means you can plug USB microphones, speakers, and a lot of other USB audio devices like amplifiers and mixers into your Android device.
- OpenGL ES 3.1 and an Android extension pack ‘reportedly’ puts Android graphics on ‘par with desktop and console class performance’. We saw a demo of this at Google I/O and our jaws dropped as our minds were blown up. However, we’ve seen hide nor hair of this feature since then. Here’s hoping Lollipop will up the graphics bar just a bit.
- A range of new professional photography features – such as support for RAW formats and control capture settings for the sensor, lens, and flash per individual frame.
- Last but not least: you can now set up your new Android phone or tablet by simply tapping it to your old one. You can thank NFC for that.
Also according to The Verge, Lollipop also features a kill switch. This means that if your phone ever gets stolen you have the power to brick it. It won’t stop the thief selling it for parts in Pettah.
Now onto the more important questions: which phones will taste the Lollipop? The first devices to run Lollipop will be the Nexus 6, 9 and Player. Don’t worry if you own a Nexus 4, 5, 7 or 10, because as per Google’s promise, they’ll eventually be getting the update as well.
As for third party manufacturers, we’ve only had official confirmation from Motorola, who say that 2013 and 2014 Moto G and X (along with a few other devices) will receive Lollipop. Huawei’s CTO Mike Macdonald told us that there’s a 98% chance that Android 5.0 would arrive on Huawei’s flagship devices back when the Ascend P7 arrived in Sri Lanka. Similarly, we expect other manufacturers to roll out the Lollipop update to their 2013/2014 flagships.
So when exactly will anyone get to taste some Lollipop? Sadly, that’s the one thing Google has yet to reveal. Updates will ‘start rolling out to Nexus devices in the coming weeks’. So for now – sit back, have a break, and have some KitKat.