The next major release of Android, version 5.0, will be called “Lollipop” (previously codenamed “Android L”), and is designed to work across a range of devices from smart wearable accessories, to smartphones, tablets and set-top boxes.
HTC has confirmed on Twitter that four of its smartphones will be receiving an update to Android 5.0 Lollipop: the HTC One (M7); the HTC One (M8), the HTC One Mini, and the HTC One Mini 2.
Sony has announced that the entire Xperia Z lineup will be updated to Lollipop.
Motorola has also revealed that the Moto X, Moto G, Moto E and Droid models will be receiving the update to the latest Android OS.
Devices running Android 5 are designed to sync with each other, so recently accessed songs, photos, web searches and more will be available on your next device as you move to it from another.
Android 5 also uses a consistent visual interface across different device types, Google’s so-called “Material Design”.
Notifications in Android 5 have been updated so you can control when you receive notifications, and who from. Power-saving features have been included as standard, as well as support for multiple user accounts on the same device, and a guest mode so friends can make use of your phone whilst ensuring your own stuff remains private: and you can access your stuff on a friend’s phone simply by logging into your Google account.
Android 5 also includes a feature called “Factory Reset Protection” that requires users to enter a code before the device can be wiped. Google already provides the ability for users to remotely lock and wipe their devices remotely in the event they are lost or stolen.
Google has also announced the Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player.
The Nexus 6 is a phablet-style device, with a huge 5.96-inch display (the Galaxy Note 4 is “only” 5.7 inches), 2.7GHz quad-core processor, 13MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, 32or 64GB storage and a 3200mAh battery. It will start at $649.
The Nexus 9 is a tablet device, with a 4:3 aspect ratio (the same as the iPad) as opposed to 16:9 as previous models have used.
The Nexus 9 has an 8.9-inch 2048×1536 LCD (245 PPI), an Nvidia Tegra K1 SoC at 2.3GHz, 16 or 32GB of internal storage, an 8MP rear camera, a 1.6MP front camera, and a pair of front-facing speakers. It’s made out of aluminum and weighs 418g – 51g less than a Wi-Fi iPad Air (469g). It will come in white, black, and gold.
The Nexus 9 was built by HTC.
The Nexus Player is a set-top box with Android TV built-in, as well as a voice-activated remote control feature that lets you control your TV by shouting at it.
The key features for Android 5.0 Lollipop are as follows:
- View and respond to messages directly from your lock screen. Includes the ability to hide sensitive content for these notifications
- For fewer disruptions, turn on Priority mode via your device’s volume button so only certain people and notifications get through. Or schedule recurring downtime like 10pm to 8am when only Priority notifications can get through
- A battery saver feature which extends device use by up to 90 mins
- Estimated time left to fully charge is displayed when your device is plugged in or can be found in battery settings
- New devices come with encryption automatically turned on to help protect data on lost or stolen devices
- SELinux enforcing for all applications means even better protection against vulnerabilities and malware
- Use Android Smart Lock to secure your phone or tablet by pairing it with a trusted device like your wearable or even your car
- Multiple users for phones. If you forget your phone, you still can call any of your friends (or access any of your messages, photos etc.) by simply logging into another Android phone running Lollipop.
- Guest user for phones and tablets means you can lend your device and not your stuff
- Screen pinning: pin your screen so another user can access just that content without messing with your other stuff
- Limited interruption in connectivity. For example, continue your video chat or VoIP calls without interruption as you leave the house and switch from your home Wi-Fi back to cellular
- Power-efficient scanning for nearby Bluetooth low energy (“BLE”) devices like wearables or beacons
Runtime and Performance
- A faster, smoother and more powerful computing experience
- ART, an entirely new Android runtime, improves application performance and responsiveness by up to 4x.
- Smoother UI for complex, visually rich applications
- Compacting backgrounded apps and services so you can do more at once
- Bolder graphics and improved audio, video, and camera capabilities
- USB Audio support means you can plug USB microphones, speakers, and a myriad of other USB audio devices like amplifiers and mixers into your Android device
- A range of new professional photography features for Android Lollipop that let you capture full resolution frames around 30 fps and control capture settings for the sensor, lens, and flash per individual frame
- State of the art video technology to allow for UHD 4K 10-bit video playback
- User interface adapted for the living room
- Console-style Android gaming on your TV with a gamepad
- Cast your favorite entertainment apps to your big screen with Google Cast support for Android TV devices
And a whole lot more
- Tap & pay: easily manage multiple payment apps by quickly switching between them
- Print preview and page range support
- Android Beam: lets you share a file with someone nearby by gently tapping the two devices together
- Where supported by the hardware, your device will wake up as soon as you pick it up or tap the screen twice