Android 5.1 Brings Performance Improvements to Nexus 6

March 12, 2015 - Written By Nick Sutrich

Google’s latest flagship, the Nexus 6, features beastly specs that top the charts of the most powerful phones released in 2014.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement on various levels though, as anyone who’s used Android before knows that powerful hardware isn’t always the key to the best user experience.  Android 5.0 Lollipop brought about some significant improvements to the user experience in Android, namely giving more fluid animations that last a little longer than we’ve been used to in previous versions of Android.  This is turn gave the system a few fractions of a second to think before opening the app, generally improving perceived performance of a device and making it more fluid.

This week’s release of Android 5.1 Lollipop brought about some interesting new changes, but mostly tweaks and fixes for Google’s recently revamped OS.  While Google’s official announcement of Android 5.1 only covered a few new additions to the OS there’s always fun things to uncover about any major update like this.  Famed kernel developer Francisco Franco took to Google+ today to talk about some things he’s found in Android 5.1 that relate specifically to performance enhancements Google has made specifically for the Nexus 6.  In Android 5.0 the Nexus 6 would only activate cores the system thought it needed, keeping some of the quad-core CPU offline for assumed battery savings.  Android 5.1 keeps all four cores active and waiting for instruction, giving the system better means to distribute tasks evenly.

This even distribution is making plenty of users notice a much quicker Lollipop this time around, even for the beastly Nexus 6.  In order to not make this a huge drain on the battery Google has also disabled a process made by Qualcomm to boost the CPU when threads would migrate from one core to another.  For example if one core was running at 2.0GHz but was busy, the scheduler would move tasks to a second core and would increase the speed of that core to the same or higher than the original core for at least 20ms.  Since this could happen multiple times in a second the CPU would be all over the place, causing possible battery drain.  Now that this routine has been disabled this sort of thing won’t happen anymore, creating battery savings in the process.  Let us know if you’re feeling the speed and battery savings with the 5.1 update, or if you haven’t yet updated your Nexus 6 check out the download links right here.