Android. To many people this is just a confusing word that associates throw at them in a carrier store when suggesting what new phone they should purchase, but to others it is a lifestyle. You see, us Android fans have a deep love for Android and the ways that it makes our lives easier and simpler, not to mention the fact that it always seems to include the bleeding edge of mobile software and hardware. We look at other operating systems like iOS and think that they are over-simplified and don’t offer enough customization. Sure Android sacrifices customization and deep control of the operating system for some bugs and crashes, but that’s part of the joy of being an Android fan, we love the operating system for its faults as well, it keeps things interesting and lets us look forward to things being fixed later on. But soon Android will enter its next generation of both software and hardware that will put is significantly farther ahead than any other mobile operating system out there. We are of course talking about Android 5.0 Lollipop, the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and the Nexus Player. These revolutionary devices, along with Android Lollipop, will usher us into a new era of Android, a better era of Android that makes it a damn good time to be an Android fan.
So why am I so excited for this new line of Nexus devices and Android 5.0? What is it that is going to be so revolutionary that I am willing to call it the next generation of Android? Simple, I can answer both of these question with two words, features and polish. You see, Google has always been a company that liked to throw ideas at the wall, aka the public, and see if they stuck. If they did then Google would emphasize on it and seize the opportunity, if not then the product or software feature would slowly but surely die off and be forgotten. For example, have you ever heard of Google Wave? Didn’t think so. Android has always been software that Google liked to add features to and then see if their users took a liking to them, all of these features and the fact that a lot of them don’t receive the polish and updating that they need caused bugs and crashes. Most Android fans didn’t mind the bugs and crashes that came along with all of Android’s features and uses because in exchange they got bleeding edge capabilities that companies like Apple would then take the necessary time to polish and get working %100 correctly. A time period that would usually be a couple of years.
No longer will this be the case. With Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google has reached a peak with Android, a golden time where everything comes together and makes sense and works very well with little bugs or issues involved. Sure Android 5.0 hasn’t even been released to the public yet but the latest developer preview is extremely promising and shows a huge improvement over the current version of Android, Android 4.4 KitKat. With Lollipop we will finally get a well polished version of Android that is finally free of a lot of bugs and issues, a much more beautiful and easy-going version of Android. A version of Android that us Android fans have dreamed of and imagined in our free time.
An example of a feature on Android that Google finally seems to have ironed-out and polished in Android 5.0 is Face Unlock. Anybody who has used Face Unlock in the past can vouch that it was a terrible and unfinished experience, the feature that was supposed to make unlocking your phone faster actually made the process longer. Not to mention the fact that anybody who looked like you or had a picture of you on-hand could trick your phone into unlocking. Well thankfully with Android 5.0 this experience finally feels finished and does what it is supposed to. First off, the feature has been re-named to Trusted Face and second, I am willing to bet that if and when you try this feature, you will love it. All you have to do now is register your face and then your phone handles the rest. When you turn your phone on, if it sees your face then boom, it unlocks. No more of your entire lockscreen turning into a front-facing camera view that then makes you awkwardly try to line your face up to the outlines on screen. Just simply be looking at the screen when you wake the screen and it’s done, it’s that easy and it’s significantly more accurate then before. If it doesn’t recognize your face then it promptly asks you to enter in your PIN or password.
As for new features, I have one that I am personally ecstatic for that is included in Android 5.0, Smart Lock. This feature allows users to set trusted Bluetooth and NFC devices that, if in range of your device, will allow you to skip your lockscreen. It’s a pretty simple feature, simply register your favorite Bluetooth or NFC device such as a Moto 360 with your device and from that point forward, if the device is in range you will be able to skip your lockscreen. And if the trusted device moves out of range, the lockscreen kicks back on. Other devices that currently do this, such as the Moto X, force you to deal with a persisting notification while the feature is active, Android Lollipop will not do this. All you will get is a subtle little padlock on your lockscreen that is a gentle reminder that the feature is currently active. So you see, it is a combination of new features and polished existing features that is going to make Android 5.0 a force to be reckoned with. These things coupled with the fact that Android 5.0 will feature 60fps animations is simply amazing, so not only will this operating system be filled with polished features but it will also be smooth. This is great news as Android being a bit choppy and laggy at times has always been one it’s glaring issues.
A great deal of polished and well working features running on an amazingly smooth operating system, sign me up for that. But what is a great operating system without great hardware to run on? That’s where the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player all come into play. Let’s start off by taking a look at the new Nexus smartphone, the Google Nexus 6. How can we not start that off without talking about it’s size, the thing is huge, coming in at 5.9 inches. Some people consider this to be a tablet at almost 6 inches, but I completely disagree, this is instead the next generation of smartphones. Sure Samsung with their Note series of devices and a few other OEM’s have made smartphones this size, but none of them have even come close to utilizing that extra screen real-estate to make the device anything more than an over-sized smartphone. Google is going to change that with the Nexus 6 and Lollipop. We, as the public, aren’t really sure yet what Google has planned for all of that extra screen space but I can guarantee you that they have a substantial amount of very useful features up their sleeve. Features that will be built directly into Android that will take advantage of devices with bigger displays. Features that make bigger smartphones a joy to use and get all the OEM’s making more of them.
As for the Google Nexus 9, it brings a different kind of revolution to Android, 64-bit processors. This will be the first time that a high-end 64-bit processor has been put into a mainstream Android device, and while it may not mean much now, it will a year or two down the road. You see, there aren’t really any benefits to having a 64-bit processor in any mobile device right now, it’s the future that matters. In a year or two some features on Android will require your device to contain a 64-bit processor to use it, these features are hard to imagine at this point in time but I can assure you of this, the features will be powerful. How powerful? Well, take a look at most new desktop computers, they have a 64-bit processor in them which allows them to do a lot, a lot that until now, mobile devices couldn’t do. I am even willing to go as far as to say that in the next 2 or 3 years our Android smartphones with their 64-bit processors will be capable of running a full version of Photoshop with relative ease. This would mean content creators would only need one device for getting their work done, their Android smartphone or tablet.
Last but certainly not least, we have the Nexus Player, a device that will greatly assist Google in getting Android into the living room. Google was very successful in doing so with the Chromecast which has become the most sold connected device in the US and will more than likely be just as successful with the Nexus Player. The Nexus Player will offer a ton of content, be running Android 5.0 and the thing just looks good. On top of all of this, the device is priced competitively at $99. I suspect that this device will sell very well and get Android into people’s hands in a completely new form, this is Android’s entry to the home. As you can see from all of what I have discussed above, Android is on the cusp of a new era, one that I am very excited and hopeful for, one that will skyrocket Android to the top. With this combination of software and hardware Android will become a powerhouse that will give companies like Apple and Microsoft an even bigger run for their money. This will force these companies to innovate in a struggle to stay relevant, a win-win situation for everybody. Now, lets sit back and see how long it takes Apple to copy Lollipop’s features.