Android 5.0 Lollipop: What’s New?

by Dan Forster - , Last Updated on November 7, 2014, Android

With Android’s new operating system already being rolled out, we’re taking a look at what you can expect to see when your mobile downloads the new version. Android 5.0 Lollipop has been eagerly awaited, especially by developers, since there are a bunch of new tech tricks on the new system. And we’re going to be honest  with you here, and tell you that many of the new system features are high tech and will be of little interest to the normal user. So rather than baffling you with jargon, instead we’re looking at what the every day user can expect to see in Android 5.0. Ready to find out what you’re in for? Then keep reading…

A Brand New Look

By far the biggest and most noticeable difference you’re going to see when you upgrade is that your operating system is going to look pretty different. Not only is the interface subtly different, but what Android are calling their “material design” means that you’re getting things like on screen shadows, and different lay outs. For you that means something that looks a lot more space age, and, well, real. Android 5.0 looks less computer like and more sci fi. There’s a real 3D look to the user interface now, and whilst this is just an aesthetic change it’s still a big one. You’ll also be getting on screen buttons as well, with the addition of three simple symbols at the bottom of your screen (circle for home, triangle for back and square for recently opened apps). All in all the new look to Android 5.0 means you’re getting an easy to use interface that looks great, and there won’t be too many complaints about that.

Way Better Notifications

The second big change comes in the area of notifications. Something that iOS has always done better than Android (and that’s not something we say every day) is notify you about what’s going on with your phone. Android 5.0 changes that dramatically with the addition of two new features. One is what’s being called “heads-up notifications” which basically means that every time something happens (i.e. you get an SMS or email, for example) a notification appears on top of whatever you’re currently doing. So you don’t need to pull down the status bar or close out your game to take a look at why your mobile has just beeped. The second addition is lock screen notifications. These pop up on your phone over the traditional lock screen, just like on the iPhone, so you can get a quick idea of what’s going on without having to open up your phone at all. Both of these features end up making Android 5.0 a lot more convenient to use.

64 Bit What?

Alright, this one’s a bit techie, but Android 5.0 is designed to support a 64 bit CPU. No idea what that means? Don’t worry. In basic terms there are really two kinds of processors used in smart phone, 32 and 64 bit. The top end new Androids are beginning to come with 64 bit CPUs, and the new operating system version is designed to support these. In essence, this means more speed for you. A 64 bit CPU can run more instructions simultaneously as well as use more RAM. The bottom line is that if you invest in a new smart phone with a 64 bit CPU and upgrade to Android 5.0 you’re going to be seeing some super lightening fast speeds. And speed is good.

Bluetooth 4.1 Support

How many of us these days use bluetooth head sets? With in car calling being illegal, there are plenty of people that depend on bluetooth to communicate. Many phones these days are running bluetooth 4.0, and 4.1 is the new version. The big deal? Well, if you’ve got a 4G phone you might have noticed that there are a fair few compatibility issues between bluetooth and 4G. These clashes mean short time outs for connections as well as a bunch of power being drained. Bluetooth 4.1 support should clear up these problems, meaning you can use your head set and your 4G with no worries (and less power draining too).

Better Battery Control

And speaking of power, Android 5.0 is going to give you better battery control too. You’re getting more detailed power management and battery management options, as well as something called “battery historian.” This will let you take a look at where battery power has gone, so you can identify if one particular app is sucking away your juice.

Separating Things Out

If you’re amongst the millions of us that use our smart phones for business and pleasure, then you’ll be glad to know that Android 5.0 Lollipop is the first Android system that will allow you to keep two separate profiles on your phone. In the same way that you can have two different user profiles on your PC you’ll be able to  have both a work and a personal profile on your phone. That means no longer accidentally sending naughty SMSs to work colleagues, but also that you can control different email accounts, for example. It might also be a boon for your kids, since you can create a school profile that will block games or internet access. This kind of multiple personality ability could really change the way that you use your phone.

Better Searching

Finally, you’ll also notice a difference in the way your search results appear on your phone. Results now come up in cards (just as they do in Google Now), offering a better look at a link before you click it. Images come in a nice carousel format, making it easy to slide around to what you want to see, and if search results relate to an app that you already have you’ll be offered the option of opening the result in the app or in a browser. All in all, an easier, better looking way of finding what you need.

If you’re running a top end Android device you can expect to get the new 5.0 Android version in the next couple of months. Of course, the features that you’ll get will also depend on the user interface that your phone is running (Samsung Galaxy users have had that awesome battery power control for a while now, for example). But Android 5.0 has a lot to offer, and you should find that your smart phone is more convenient, faster, easier, and, well, smarter than ever before.