A lot of work has gone into improving the Android operating system over the years. The version 4.0+ (Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, and KitKat) added features with each iteration. Now Google is preparing for the latest version of Android called Lollipop. It features a new Material Design language which completely reboots Android’s visual style. The operating system is also switching from Dalvik to ART runtimes, which will increase performance and battery life.
The last three years of 4.0+ were in preparation for Android 5.0 and the expanded ecosystem that Google is preparing, which will span from smartwatches to cars. In addition to phones and tablets running Android 5.0, you will see the operating system powering Android Auto, Android TV, and Android Wear. Google’s goal is to have Android power everything in your life.
Android 5.0 Lollipop is a big change from Android 4.4 KitKat. It changes the interface, using what Google calls “Material Design”, which is based on the idea of tangible layers. This design scheme is seen throughout the entire OS, but along with these visual changes, Android 5.0 benefits from some excellent updates, adding more usability to sections like notifications, better battery life, and multiple user accounts (great for parents).
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Google is using the launch of Lollipop to unify the operating system across all devices that run Android, including tablets and smartwatches. Lollipop isn’t a huge relaunch of Android, but a final step in the work that the company has completed so far.
It’s been a while since Google released a major update to Android. While Lollipop may look similar to Android 4.4 KitKat, it’s under the hood where things get interesting. Here’s everything new with Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Here’s a round up of the major Android manufacturers and devices with all the information available about when Android 5.0 will be available.
With other goodies to come such as improved battery life, a new runtime for enhanced performance, redesigned keyboard, the Google Fit health app, and auto-encyrption of your device’s data, Android Lollipop is worth getting excited about.
Android L goes beyond just mobile. Android Wear, Android Auto, and Android TV show how Google is expanding onto different platforms. Android apps are also coming to Google’s Chrome OS.
Google is killing two birds with one stone with Android TV. Google is positioning Android to unify all of its platforms, allowing developers to spend less time working on one platform at a time, creating one app for all Android devices.
Android Auto could be a great automotive platform but we haven’t seen much of it yet. Support from major car manufacturers is a good sign, but the question now is how can apps integrate into Android Auto and will they be useful?
Google is combating Apple’s Healthkit with its own health and fitness tracking platform. Google Fit allows apps and devices to create a fitness profile for users, giving app developers a central hub where they can push their information to.
The Android Wear platform announced at Google I/O 2014 is Google’s first step towards expanding the available platforms that Android can exist on. Google is expanding the Android platforms to seamlessly connect your life to your Google account. Alongside Android Auto and Android TV, Android Wear is an extension of Android from your phone to your wrist.
Android Wear is still trying to find its purpose in the lives of those who own it. It’s most basic use is as a separate screen for notifications, but Android Wear actually has a lot of potential for other functions.