When you upgrade your smartphone to a new OS version, it is always advisable to gather thorough knowledge about the latter first. With Android 5.0 Lollipop set to become available soon, let’s take a tour of the interesting additional features it has on offer for users.
When Google officially announced the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop (referred to as ‘Android L’ for months) in October, it was generally assumed that the new platform would debut on the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 devices. However, if recent rumors and speculations are anything to go by, LG G3 and Moto X are going to get the upgrade option first – even before the Nexus phones start shipping. If you are an Android fan and wish to upgrade to Lollipop as soon as it is available, here are a few tips that will help you make the best use of the new mobile platform:
- Keeping the home screen uncluttered – Android Lollipop offers a handy alternative to simply adding more and more mobile apps to the home screen of your device. Navigate to Play Store → Settings, and uncheck the box that indicates automatic addition of apps to your home screen. You can download as many applications as you want, but there’s no point in making the home screen a jamboree.
- Is your device rooted? – If yes, proceed with caution. Researches conducted by mobile software analysts and app developers confirm that average Android phone owners jump at the first chance to root their devices. In case you had done the same too, head to any Cyanogenmod forum (even XDA would be helpful) to make sure that upgrading to Android 5.0 Lollipop would not cause any device/data damages. Most people are not tech geeks, and it’s better to be on the safer side before doing a system upgrade.
- Check out the notifications options – Much has been written about the ‘Material Design’ and revamped notification system in the new Android platform – but this is something that many are not yet aware of. On an upgraded device, you can actually control the type, number and nature of notifications that you would like to receive. You will find three alternative options – All, Priority and None (the names indicate the notifications you get). Each of the options can be set for specific time-spans, and you can toggle between the different options. Now get ‘interrupted’ only when you wish to!
- Keep an eye on the phone battery – The biggest terror of any smartphone-user is the fast-draining battery (no exceptions between iOS and Android devices here) of their handsets. Thankfully, when you upgrade to Android Lollipop – you will at least be able to get an early pointer as to when you need to reach out for the charger. Under ‘Quick Settings’, you will find the remaining battery juice (expressed as percentage) displayed, at any time. A simple 2-finger swipe is all that’s required to check how much battery juice your Android device has left.
- Yahoo! Mail and Gmail can be accessed simultaneously – No longer do you have to log out of Gmail, every time you need to access your Yahoo account (or vice versa). The two can be set up together on a Lollipop-upgraded device. To enable this, you will have to tap on the ‘Add Account’ feature (under ‘Settings’). The new Android platform supports a wide range of POP3/IMAP services – and you can even access Exchange on your handset.
- Don’t be in a tearing hurry to upgrade – Once the upgrade option comes on your device (stay alert if you are a LG, Moto X, or Nexus user!), it’s not going to disappear or anything. If you are outdoors when the ‘good news’ comes, do not try to install the upgrade on the go. Android 5.0 Lollipop is, after all, a new platform – and chances of technical complicacies cropping up during the installation process cannot be entirely ruled out. Android app development experts unanimously advise that it would be smarter to start the upgrade when you are at home, and are not doing any other task simultaneously. Give Lollipop your full attention!
- You can add multiple users – While, of course, retaining your ‘admin/master user’ privileges. After you have installed Android Lollipop, tap the blue circular icon near the top of the screen, to add additional users on your device. Each user can pick personalized themes and desktop display options. You have the right to delete any user account at any time too (it’s your phone, after all). With its new mobile platform, Google is looking to get entire families involved in smartphone usage.
- Unlocking via Bluetooth is a cool option – Tired of having to enter your PIN every time you wish to connect your Android device to another handset via Bluetooth? With Lollipop, this is one worry you can bid adieu to. Select the ‘Add As Trusted Device’ tab under ‘Smart Lock’ (in ‘Settings’), and add your unique security code – and your device can be auto-unlocked via Bluetooth. Be wary of adding too many devices under ‘trusted devices’ though.
- A better battery performance (fingers crossed!) – If the hype in mobile app development communities is anything to go by, Android 5.0 Lollipop is all set to enhance battery performance by more than 30% (compared to the Android Kitkat platform). Project Volta adds a smarter edge to all the task-management and memory-handling services of your phone, helping you optimize battery usage levels. What’s more – there is a built-in battery-saver mode as well. You can activate it whenever the battery level becomes low.
- Google Now becomes more personalized – Right from setting reminders and tweaking the settings, to managing the content you wish to be displayed – on an Android 5.0 Lollipop-powered handset, you can customize Google Now in just the way you want. In the default search bar, you will find a settings icon. Tap on it, and arrange the settings of your mobile digital voice assistant. Siri on iOS 8 has become smarter – but in Google Now on Android Lollipop, it has a real worthy competitor.
- Spare the Power button – Once you have done the upgrade, you will not have to reach for the ‘Power’ button to wake up your phone every time. Instead, you can simply double-tap on the screen, and the device would become active. From any Android app developer/tester, find out whether your handset has the necessary hardware for this feature. If not, you will have to get those hardware installations done first.
- Finally, 64-bit support arrives on Android – ART (Android Runtime) has replaced Dalvik in Android Lollipop, and together with the 64-bit OS architecture – it has made the Google mobile platform more robust than ever before. Mobile app developers have, in particular, highlighted that all pure Java applications as well as native apps will be supported on Android 5.0. The Strategic Bit Gap between Android and iOS will cease to exist after you have upgraded your phone.
- Enjoy HQ surround sound – 5.1 Surround Sound is yet another noteworthy feature in the latest version of Android. If you are all for watching movies and listening to music on the go, tap the ‘Enable Surround Sound’ tab under ‘Settings’. The audio quality is excellent – and enabling surround sound does not cause any extra battery drainage either.
- Manage wi-fi settings with greater ease – Android Lollipop facilitates smarter options to work your way around hefty wi-fi and data charges. You can get early notifications for all types of large data downloads (as well as restrict unnecessary background data), by metering the default wi-fi settings of your phone. If syncing to a mobile network/cellular connection is possible – you need not activate wi-fi at all. Under Google Settings app → Drive-enabled app, there is an option to turn on only the wi-fi (without any additional connections) too.
The option of marking any application as a ‘Priority App’ on the Android Lollipop platform has also come in for praise from mobile app development professionals worldwide. Whenever you get bulk notifications, you can simply pinch to view them (even on lockscreen). There might be some initial bugs in the new platform (just like the problems iOS 8 ran into) – but Google would surely issue fixes and solutions soon enough (if required). The adoption rate of Android 5.0 Lollipop is likely to be way higher than that of Kitkat. Follow the above tips – and you will be set to enjoy all the advantages of the new platform.