Android 5.0 Lollipop and Its Features

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As the hectic scurry for the Google Play Store, Nexus, and Android websites commenced this morning, we are here to bring you the feature set of the latest sweet treat from Google: Android 5.0, Lollipop.

Yes, we finally have a name, and no it’s not a pie.  That can wait a couple versions.  But the features we saw in the Android L developer preview that came to us after Google I/O has been made official, and we’ve got a rundown of them here.  Without any further preface, here’s what’s new in Android 5.0 Lollipop.

The Material Design standard, which we have seen invade Google+, the Play Store, Play Newsstand, Photos, and more non-Google apps has become the new standard for Google.  And this beautiful new depth-based aesthetic is going to come to all platforms, from Wear to TV.  The colors will be everywhere, and the displays on the latest batch of Nexus devices (as well as last year’s Nexuses and Google Play Edition devices) will do them more than justice.

Cross-sync.  That’s not the name Google gives it, but it’s what it does.  If you are listening to a song on your Android phone running Lollipop, you can set your phone down to charge, pick up your tablet, and continue from where you left off moments ago.  All of this is accomplished with the fact that Google bases your experience out of their cloud, so it’s everywhere you and Lollipop are.

If you have Android Wear, Lollipop will let you know when you have a new email, and if you have a tablet running the sweet new version of Android, then you’ll be able to see both your inbox in a column as well as a message that you’re viewing at the moment, so you can see new mail as it arrives, no exiting out or going back necessary.

The developer preview had the new lockscreen functionality implemented, and we see it come to life in Lollipop.  If you want to block or mute notifications for that three-hour lecture or movie that you’re about to see, go ahead and set the silence for three hours.  If you want to reply right away, if your dog is having puppies or someone needs a ride home from school, then you can reply directly from the lockscreen, quick and simple.

Project Volta, as Google calls the latest improvement, is a battery revolution.  It will utilize battery life better and more efficiently, so that you can get an extra hour and a half of battery life so your day doesn’t end when your phone dies at four in the afternoon.

Finally available on more than tablets is multi-user options.  You can create a guest account, or if you and  family member share a device, you can create an account for each of you, keeping all your things separate and secure.  Only you can log into your account and phone, and you can even have the device unlock or unlock your profile when a trusted device (like your Wear watch, or your car) is connected to it wirelessly.

The notification panel has been the same for a while, getting the addition of an ‘other side’ in Android 4.2, Jelly Bean, with the Quick Settings panel.  But since then, we only got a visual change in iconography and the addition of a location setting in 4.4, Kit Kat.  Now, we have an entirely new interface and look, with access to simple and useful settings like rotation lock, ringer level/silencing, and a brightness slider.  With a pull from the top, you get your latest notifications, and with a second pull, you see your settings to toggle to your heart’s content.

And the biggest change in Lollipop is the retiring of Dalvik as the runtime for Android, and the introduction and exclusive use of ART, Android Run-Time.  It boasts better battery life, smoother and better performance, and smaller in the background, so multitasking can grow in the foreground.

Android Lollipop also features compatibility with 64-bit processors so you can have a desktop-class processor in your pocket.  Java apps now run 64-bit applications, no finagling needed.  With all the improvements to Android in the latest version, what is your favorite, and which are you looking forward to getting or getting to use? Let us know down below.