The tech world is abuzz right now talking about Android Lollipop but what is all the hype about? Here’s what you need to know about Lollipop in less than 500 words.
Lollipop is the biggest update we’ve seen to Android since we were introduced to Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) aka. Android 4.0 back in October 2011. Google has emphasised the major update by giving us the first full incrementation of the version number since ICS. Since then we’ve seen 3 major (can I say minor major?) updates to Android ICS, Jellybean, and Kit Kat. Why is this noteworthy? Because, while each of those updates was considered big enough to warrant their own dessert themed nickname, none of them were ground-breaking enough to warrant a full incrementation. Each of the three previous versions have kept that Android 4.x designation. All that to say; even Google thinks this one is significant.
That’s nice, what does it mean for you? Well, Google is making some very bold claims for this new firmware though most of it will be happening behind the scenes. The first point to be excited about is improved battery life and a new power saving mode which allegedly will stretch your remaining charge by 90 minutes. Additionally the battery symbol will now indicate how much time is left in your charge, or if charging, how much time left to full charge, in minutes. This goes along with improved protocols to handle things like GPS, NFS, WiFi, and Bluetooth which should all become more power efficient.
Speaking of connectivity, Google is making another bold claim regarding network hand offs which Google claims will be better than ever. Imagine you’re at home watching a video on WiFi or making a video call. You go outside out of WiFi range for whatever reason; as many of us have experienced, this handoff from WiFi to cellular network is far from smooth. Often our call gets disconnected or the video stops playing for a significant stretch of time. According to Google that Skype video call will now go on without a hitch while the handoff takes place. This update will also see the current Dalvik runtime being replaced by a new runtime called ART.
In terms of things you will notice immediately; you will now be able to have multiple “cards” open. Let’s say, you wanna look at two separate e-mails in gmail; you will now be able to open two instances of gmail and navigate back and forth. Google is also introducing its new “Material Design” standard which features flatter and very fluid design elements. The name comes from a hypothetical magic sheet of paper that can change its shape or appearance infinitely. Chief among the new features will be the new “Rich Notifications” which will be displayed in the foreground over whatever application you’re currently in. Those of you who use Facebook messenger will find this very similar to Chatheads. That’s Lollipop in 500 words!