Google’s delicious Android 5.0 Lollipop (sorry, Lettuce Head) has officially been announced, and it has our mouths salivating for the release. There are a lot new features—as outlined by Google here—but we’ve whittled it down to the five best.
There are some obvious standouts, such as the infusion of Material Design, along with improvements to things like notifications, battery life, security and much more. A lot of devices should be running the new OS in the coming weeks, but until it officially hits, here’s what you can look forward to.
Google made a big, big deal of Material Design when Android L was first introduced earlier this year, and finally users will get to see how the company’s new philosophy applies in a mobile ecosystem. Now Android is much bolder, more colorful, and more responsive than ever before.
Google describes its new OS as offering a “fluid, purposeful motion,” with familiar visual elements that make Android easier than ever to use. Some aspects of the design still look familiar, but by and large Android Lollipop is the biggest ever design refresh, and we can’t wait to see how the final version looks in person.
Notifications have always been a sore spot for mobile, but Android typically handles them better than most competing operating systems.
In Lollipop, notifications should be more powerful than ever by giving users new ways to control when and how they receive messages. Watching a movie? Notifications will no longer interrupt you, giving you the option to choose to answer the call or just keep doing what you’re doing.
Additionally, there’s a new Priority mode, essentially like Apple’s Do Not Disturb, and the ability to more finely tune what notifications get filtered through. Not only that, but you can respond to notifications directly through your lockscreen, making it more convenient than ever.
Smartphone batteries are bigger than they’ve ever been—have you seen the rumored DROID Turbo battery? But that doesn’t mean Google isn’t working to improve the performance of Android.
Early Android L previews showed that battery life has improved quite a bit, and Google is promising even better results in the final Lollipop build. Along with Project Volta, Google offers plenty of battery saver features, which the search giant claims will extend a device use by up to 90 minutes.
Other new battery features include an estimated time left to fully charge, and an estimation of time left before you need to charge your device again.
This is probably among one of the more requested Android features, but Lollipop now gives users the ability to set up multiple users. You can set up guest users for phones and tablets, for example, which means you can lend your device to a friend without them seeing your stuff.
Going even further, there’s also a new screen pinning feature, which allows Lollipop users to pin their screen so users only have access to just that content. But probably the best sharing feature is how you can access your information from any phone. Now, users can access their messages, photos and more, and even call friends and family by simply signing into another Android phone running Lollipop.
Security has always been an area Android can improve, and this year it looks like it’ll no longer be an issue.
From the get-go, new Lollipop devices will come with encryption automatically turned on to protect data, and there’s also SELinux enforcing for all applications, which means Android will be better protected against malware.
Finally, Android is implementing a new Android Smart Lock feature to better secure your phone or tablet; the feature will pair your device with another trusted device (like an Android Wear smartwatch) and only unlock when the two are paired. That should, in theory, deter thieves quite a bit.
These are just a few of the features being highlighted by Google in Lollipop. The new OS is also introducing better quick settings, improved connectivity and even faster runtime and performance. Once we get our hands on Android Lollipop, we’ll definitely bring you more in-depth videos but, for now, here are our favorite features.