What’s new for Android?
Earlier this week, Google released its 5th mobile OS, Android Lollipop, which the biggest overhaul to Android since its conception, specially in the UI/UX sense.
The first minimal but drastic change for everyone that’s used Android from the start, are the soft keys at the bottom of the screen. Say good-bye to those icons and welcome these new set of simplified and “basic” set of shapes. For the back button, we now get a left-pointing arrow, a circle is now Home, and the multitasking menu is now a square.
Along with the new OS, Google has brought redesigned notifications. They are now available from the lock screen, which as obvious as this may seem to iOS users, wasn’t possible out of the box with previous versions of Android, you had to rely on an add-on to provide this functionality. Your notifications appear like cards on your lock screen and tapping them takes you right to the relevant app. You can also expand these cards to reveal more details, however this can be turned of from the settings by those of us who don’t like too much information being available with the phone locked.
These cards are also shown when you slide down your finger from the top of the screen, above your content. Calls appear in the same way, so you can keep doing whatever you’re doing without being interrupted by the phone call screen.
One big caveat about this notifications overhaul is that notifications widgets have disappeared all along, which for many of us has come to a huge disappointment, as we were used to accomplishing many tasks while our phone was still locked:(.
Google has included Project Volta in Lollipop, which gives many helpful battery-related indicators, such as which apps are draining more battery, and how long will it take for your phone to be fully charged when it’s connected to a power source. Another feature is Battery Saver mode, which allows your phone to save a bunch of juice by turning off non-essential features that could drain your battery, along with decreased performance overall, in order to extend your phone’s battery a bit longer.
In addition to these interface changes, Google has included a new sharing protocol that’s NFC based called Android Beam. NFC is the same technology that allows ApplePay and Google Wallet to pay for stuff using your phone. Now you can use this same technology to share pictures and many other items with your friends, now you’ll be able to select Android Bream from the sharing menu to start the process. Comically enough, you’ll still need to bump both devices to start the actual transmission of data.
Google introduced the concept “Material Design” in Google I/O 2014, which revamps the whole Android interface. iOS users can take a look at this new design with the Google Maps update that was released yesterday. Overall the design seems a step in the right direction, with a new font, filled with color and many subtle animations all along the interface.
Overall Android Lollipop seems like an update everyone should go for, as soon as it’s available for your phone, which should happen in the next few days or weeks.
Leave us your comments and tell us about the features you like or dislike the most!